This is the story of what happens when you quit social media for four months — at least, what happened to me.

In my one month update after quitting social media, I was missing a few things about being on Facebook. Here I am at month four and any FOMO is gone. I’m surprised to note that I have no interest in going back.

My Facebook Exodus

Prior to my hiatus from social media, I’d been quite active on Facebook and mostly silent on the other platforms. I was posting to my personal Facebook feed and business page with business-related content at least 3x per week, and sharing actively in two Facebook groups. I also spent quite a bit of time (2 hours each week) randomly scrolling, commenting and reacting.

So when I went cold turkey four months ago, it meant turning off what had once been a main source of potential clients for my business. It scared the crap out of me, on and off, for the first two weeks. 

I committed to one month with the understanding that I’d re-evaluate at that time. You can read a bit about my Facebook exit here.

Quitting Social Media: What the Numbers Say

If I were you, I’d be dying to ask, “What happened? Did your business dry up?”

So I dug into the metrics of my business to see the story the numbers are telling me.

This data sample is not large enough to be statistically relevant and I’m definitely not a numbers person. This is simply a snapshot of my business, which may have little or no relevance to your own situation.

Website Traffic

According to my Google Analytics report comparing my website traffic over the past four months to the previous period: (Jan – April / May – Aug)

  • Website users -0.25%
  • Pageviews +10%
  • Average website session length +68%

So while my website traffic took a teeny, tiny decline of -.25%, people are viewing more pages and staying 68% longer. 

And my website traffic from Facebook actually increased 5%!

Email List +19%

My email subscriptions are +19%. I had an initial burst of people joining my email list after announcing my departure, but subscriptions continued to rise with exposure from workshops and podcasts. (See more detail below.)

YouTube

My YouTube stats show a steady increase in views and a dramatic increase of referral sources in every category — with spikes of traffic each time a new podcast episode is released.

Client Inquires & Income

The number of potential client conversations and proposals made were the SAME during both these periods.

My income decreased 33% but this is probably not entirely due to my departure from social media. Here’s why I say this:

  • I had an unusually profitable month in March (70% higher income) which threw off the average. If I remove the anomalous month, the decrease was only 12%.

  • I saw an income drop of 38% and 34% for these same two periods in 2019 and 2020. Now, 2020 was a crazy year, but this data suggests that this income difference may be seasonal.

My non-scientific conclusion: quitting social media did result in a slight income drop, but not as dramatic as it appears at first glance due to the seasonality of my business.

The story these numbers tell is that of a growing business in transition, with new channels for content sharing, increasing activity and engagement. In other words, there’s still room for my business to grow, but things are looking positive!

What I Did Instead of Social Media

The following was not implemented as a plan. When I quit, I didn’t follow the advice of the experts or carefully map out alternative lead strategies. 

What I did do was follow my inner guidance and try some things to see what happened.

FYI – All of the following actions I took are FUN for me! They don’t feel tactical, strategic or unpleasant in any way, partly because they’re aligned with my preferences, but also because of the energy I’m bringing to it.

#1 – Reassess my brand, website and offers.

The very first thing that occurred to me was to use my time off Facebook for introspection and clarity.

I hired a designer and took a brand questionnaire to get clarity about what The Awakened Business is now and what it’s becoming. Over the past few months, it’s become clear that a community is forming, now on Mighty Networks for the members of my Play Circle.

My new website design will be underway next week (with new photos and brand colors!) and should be live by November. 

#2 – Revive my podcast to connect with more people through my guests’ audiences.

Tad Hargrave’s Hub Marketing ebook inspired me to make a list of “hubs” and influencers for my potential audience. While I didn’t end up actually using this list (ha!), it did influence my thinking in reaching out to hubs and communities. I’ve deliberately created my podcast episodes and their corresponding YouTube videos and blog posts to highlight and promote my guests, both because it feels good and increases the likelihood they’ll share them. 

In addition to potentially tapping the audiences of my guests, this also creates searchable content on YouTube and the search engines, and I pay a little extra attention to my keywords with that in mind. Nothing crazy, just some basic SEO.

I’ve fallen into a weekly rhythm of podcast episodes and promotions to my email list that’s designed to make it easy for my guests to promote as well. When I say that I’ve “fallen into” a rhythm, that’s exactly how it happened; I didn’t plan it and it’s not fixed. Occasionally I skip a week when it feels like the right thing to do.

#3 – Hosting free workshops.

Co-hosting workshops has been a natural result from some of my conversations with podcast guests and client-playmates. It feels easy to invite them into The Awakened Business community to share the spotlight.

I’ve hosted two guest workshops so far and one of my own. Each time they invite new people into my community, and it creates content that keeps my community vibrant and growing.

#4 – I joined paid membership communities and participated in off-Facebook forums and groups where my tribe hangs out.

Because of my interests, this meant joining the 3PGC community as a practitioner, the Majik membership, and showing up in spaces where transformative coaches and spiritual entrepreneurs gather, such as Michael Neill’s communities, Wyn Morgan’s Transformative Coaches Club, Nico Olivieri’s Creatives and Changemakers Club, and piloting a remote co-working space for coaches.

Just to give you an idea of how this works, here’s how I got client inquiries and new members by sharing a non-business story in one of these communities. I volunteered for another and ended up with three new Play Circle members.

All of these groups leverage other people’s communities and grow my network. Plus, I would do these things anyway, because they’re fun!

(Are you seeing the pattern yet? Follow the fun for (Un)Marketing that creates funds. It’s about doing what’s fun for you, not following a formula. It’s a win no matter the result.)

#5 – I created a few strategic pieces of content designed to attract website and/or YouTube traffic.

A review of my Google Analytics revealed that my Human Design marketing article gets more organic website traffic than any other page of my website, particularly around the keywords “Projector marketing.” I partnered with Dani Gardner on a “Marketing for Projectors” workshop and created a YouTube video to sell the recorded replay as a package. 

I’ve hired a few people to help me research and write articles around social media marketing alternatives (still to be completed) using specific keyword phrases designed to attract website traffic.

Results from these projects have been mixed, a few sales of the recorded workshop and not much traffic for the social media alternatives phrases yet. The ROI still remains to be seen.

#6 – Make guest appearances and interviews on other people’s podcasts.

I use Podcast Guests to apply to be a guest on podcasts that seem interesting and aligned with my community. This results in one or two guest appearances per month, with varying results. Occasionally, people will reach out to me from a podcast referral, but the main benefit is in growing my network and meeting new people.

I created a page to share my guest appearances and press and promote each experience in my email newsletter. The link is good for my hosts’ SEO, and it feels good to reciprocate by spreading the word about what cool people are doing. 

#7 – I’ve created the Wildspire Entrepreneurs community on Mighty Networks for my Play Circle membership, with plans to expand it into a free community.

I knew I needed a place to connect with my membership community, and initially did this through Marco Polo Channels. While I enjoyed the video first element and ease of use, it simply didn’t invite the engagement I’d hoped for or have the desired features. Reluctantly, I switched over to Mighty Networks.

I’m feeling the nudge to open up a free community and see how that goes, but right now it’s a nice home for my Play Circle members, and I’ll be migrating the bonuses, archives and the Getting In the Game mini-course over there in the coming days. Mighty Networks beats the heck out of my current wonky membership site!

Here’s a breakdown about how to get clients without marketing, selling or social media if you’d like to follow the details of my journey.

What Surprised Me About Quitting Social Media

I don’t miss it. The most surprising thing to note is that I really don’t miss it. It’s been out of sight, out of mind. Sure, I’m “missing” opportunities, but this only bothers me if I think about it (ha!) which rarely happens. 

I’d actually have to try to add it back to my life (and I might.) I’ve kicked the habit of random scrolling and regular posting, so I’d have to consciously add it back in. I can easily log onto Facebook to grab a photo or get information I need without getting sucked in, thanks to News Feed Eradicator. It’s proven that it’s entirely possible to craft your social media experience to suit you, or even as a one-way broadcast medium, as these entrepreneurs are doing.

Rebranding and re-envisioning my business was a natural result. Without the noise of social media, I began to ask myself, “What do I want to create? Where am I headed now?” Five years after launching The Awakened Business as a curiosity project, it’s finally time to invest in a new website design, which I’m excited to share soon.

In hindsight, my actions over the past months may look strategic, but they weren’t. I had no idea what I was going to do. It occurred to me to create a membership, so now I have recurring monthly revenue. It occurred to me to do workshops with other people, to share my stories, and revive my podcast. 

I didn’t know any of these things would work, and my efforts have been met with varying degrees of success. But looking back, I can see how wisdom has been guiding me, and continues to do so. 

What’s Next For The Awakened Business?

I still don’t have a plan. My sense is that I’ll test out the free community, and possibly invest some time in LinkedIn and Medium. The Wildspire podcast, workshops and natural connections that result feel fabulous. Continuing with those is a no brainer.

I’d like to find more homes for my stories, and create greater impact in my individual relationships with client-playmates and the community. I’ll continue following that impetus wherever it leads.

Advice For People Who Want to Quit Social Media

Please note that only you know what’s right for you. I hate interrupting my article for disclaimers, but I want to make it clear that my experience and opinion is mine alone. 

If you were sitting across from me, I’d help you discover what YOU know about your path, but for the purposes of this piece, I’ll share what occurs to me might be helpful for someone who is thinking about whether or not to quit social media.

Get clear about WHY you want to quit social media. Is it the time investment? Ethical issues? How you feel when you’re using these platforms?

I think most people don’t actually want to quit social media; they want to quit thinking and feeling their crappy thoughts about it. Or they find themselves wasting time and getting distracted by shiny social media rabbit holes.

You don’t have to quit social media to have more fun and freedom in your life. It’s helpful to be clear about what’s really motivating your desire to leave and address that first.

Access the role social media has in your business. Are you getting clients from it? Does it create connections and visibility?

For most of the entrepreneurs I know, social media doesn’t create direct financial ROI, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t contributing to your business. It can play a very useful role in making it easier for potential clients and partners to discover and connect with you.

If you decide to quit social media, consider doing your own #NoSocialMedia experiment before deleting all your profiles. You can commit to a 1-6 month experiment (like I did) to see what happens. Just because you say you’re leaving, it doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind. Take the pressure off, get curious and explore. It doesn’t have to feel like walking the plank!

Follow what you know. Period. This is my final and most emphatic piece of advice. If your inner guidance nudges you to leave, even if it doesn’t make sense, do it. And if someone else tells you to go, but that doesn’t feel right, ignore them.

The only rules in business and marketing are the ones you make up. So make them up fun!

If you’d like to chat with me about quitting social media and playing the game of business your way, I’d love to connect. Till then, enjoy your journey!

Yours in creative play,

Steph