The lure of social media has led many artists into the realm of social media addiction: “the opiate for the masses”.

There is no magic bullet. Individuals are ultimately responsible for their own social media use.

Yet, all social media platforms and educational establishments (including our online marketing course) have a role to play in reducing excessive use of social media.

Below we suggest a few techniques and tools to avoid being sucked into social media.

Remove Distractions

Don’t open your browser and leave it there, awaiting the next ‘ding’ or notification.

The Chrome extensions StayFocusd, Work Mode, or my personal favourite Go Fucking Work, will stop you from needlessly opening social media tabs in your browser. Install them. Use them.

I’ve personally found these to be great at stopping the social media distractions – when you can’t access the tools, your mind gets back to doing more important real work.

On the Mac, SelfControl is a great open-source app for blocking access to distracting websites, or anything else on the Internet.

On an iPhone, Moment tracks your iPhone/iPad usage, and if you’re using your phone too much, you can set daily limits on yourself and be notified when you go over. You can even force yourself off your device when you’re over your limit.

Using Android? Consider an app like Freedom, which blocks distracting websites and apps, or AppDetox to block apps and spend less time on the phone.

Personally, I’ve turned off all social notifications on my mobile devices, and hidden the apps at least 1 folder deep so they’re not obvious and easily accessible.

Consider turning off Facebook & Instagram notifications from your phone and your browser. None of these are vitally important to your business - the responses can wait.

For more reading: subscribe to the wonderful blog of Cal Newport, or buy his book Deep Work.

Schedule Posts

Tools that schedule posts – set & forget – are wonderful at restricting social media usage.

Later is a wonderful app for planning & scheduling a week’s worth of Instagram & Facebook posts in as little as 20mins. It’s visual, it’s intuitive, and posts using Later see no obvious negative impact on engagement compared to using the native Instagram/Facebook/Twitter platforms.

Consider using Later to plan a week of social media posts in 20 minutes.

Set Aside Time

Firstly, force yourself to have periods in the day with self-imposed non-screen time (such as during meal times).

Consider leaving your smartphone in a separate room from where you sleep (resisting the urge to check social media before bedtime, during the night, and when you wake up). Simple action = very effective.

Create periods during the day with non-screen time: meal time, bed time, children time, etc.

Secondly, much like regular work responsibilities, your social media time should be allocated.

Set aside time to engage with your audience.

Outside of your posting schedule, respond to mentions, DMs, and comments without being distracted by your everyday posting duties.

Much like the time you allocate to responding to emails, or the time you might allocate to this our marketing course, your social media use needs to be allocated specific time.

The perennial question: what size images do I post to social media?

The answer: as big as possible – it doesn’t matter, all social platforms will scale your images anyway.

If you really want numbers, if you must insist on a perfect size that reduces the risk of resizing artifacts, use the list and templates below:

Download our useful Lightroom Export Templates - to have these export sizes at your fingertips directly in Lightroom! Download here

Instagram

Square Image: 1080px (w) 1080px (h)
Vertical Image: 1080px (w) x 1350px (h)
Horizontal Image: 1080px (w) x 566px (h)

Facebook

Shared post image: 1200 x 630
Shared link preview image: 1200 x 628
Event image: 1920 x 1080
Cover image: 820 x 312 (minimum 400 x 150)
Profile image: 180 x 180

Pinterest

Pinned image: 600px (w) – ideally 2:3 ratio, but any height works
Profile image: 165 x 165 – (maximum size 10 MB)
Board cover image: 222 x 150 – (minimum 55 x 55)

Twitter

Tweet Photo: 440 x 220
Profile Photo: 400 x 400
Header Photo: 1500 x 500

Continue to keep up with recommended image sizes at: HubSpot or Buffer or SproutSocial or HaveCameraWillTravel.