First there were blogs, then there was social media, and now there is . . . a content-palooza where getting your recipes seen can feel like a Walmart on Black Friday. There is incredible potential for using social media to get true followers—fellow cooks who get your vibe, who love your food, and who want to tell you (and their friends) why—as well as meaningful collaborations with other content creators. So much of Tastemaker Conference was built on social media relationships, but we’re also aware of the time and effort that goes into maintaining a profile (or three). Whether you have 100 or 100,000 followers, it’s worth checking in to see if your blog needs to go on a social media diet—for the health of your business andyour mind.

Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are so engrained in our culture that it might seem blasphemous—or at least a poor business decision—to not engage on a platform where you’ve likely gained some cred, whether it’s public or more of a self-esteem massage. But if you find yourself making choices that prioritize your digital life over your real life, you might want to check in on where you are investing your time. Here’s a simple checklist:

  • Do I spend more time making social media posts than blog/recipe posts?
  • Do I spend more time scrolling than strolling (or reading, or eating, or playing with your kids/pets)?
  • Do I feel guilty and/or anxious if I don’t post for a day (or a few hours)?
  • Do I get inspiration on my own, or do I rely on other posts for ideas?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, a diet might be in your future. Note that a social media diet can take a variety of forms, and doesn’t mean that you abstain entirely from socials. Rather, the point is more about clearing out space in your brain and in your day, examining the causes and effects of our digital habits, and coming back to the roots of why you started a food blog to begin with: to cook food and help people enjoy it.

Attendees at Tastemaker 2019 know the value of digesting IRL!

Perhaps you are a post-master, with a digital team and a content calendar that extends six months out. This kind of flow is great, but spend some time analyzing your metrics, the likes, and comments. Who is responding, when, and to what? Could you make your content more desirable by decreasing the frequency? Could you refine your posts, or eliminate duplicates? Experiment with dropping out for one or two days a week to see what happens, both for you and your followers.

On the other hand, perhaps you’re newer to blogging and are excited/overwhelmed by the idea of populating your feed. You want to nail your “look,” ensure there’s a cohesive aesthetic, and master SEO all in one shot. Give yourself a break, and put more of your attention on what you are actually cooking and who you want to cook for! If you’re staying up late to photograph something with a fancy lighting set-up just to get a post ready, can you hit pause, wait for the natural light, and get a better shot with less work?

Most importantly, the idea of a social media diet can open up doors for other ways to share your content. Newsletters are by far the most valuable communities you have, which delivers recipes straight to your known readers. Perhaps you focus your energy on giving them something meaningful, like a mastermind, or course, or special eBook? Maybe you talk to a local restaurant, bar, market, or library about doing an event in your community, to bring awareness to your knowledge right where you live? You might even find collaborators in non-food industries that tap into your other interests or talents; whether it’s for writing, yoga, running, knitting, or dog-walking, people who get together to do something they love will need to eat at some point, and you can be the stitch that binds together a whole new group of people. Do the thing that you haven’t been able to start because you need ten hours a week to load your content into your scheduler.

Like any successful “diet,” real change only happens when we commit to something as a lifestyle rather than a passing fad. As time goes on, with less of it spent on social media, you might find your cravings for and attachment to posting (and liking others’ posts) changing—and that’s okay! What you replace your social habit with, whether its meaningful business or meaningful volunteering, will likely help your tastes as a foodie, and as a person with something to say in the world, mature and make even more of an impact.

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