Twenty Eight.

When updating your social media is just one thing too many.

This week Frankie Tortora and Steve Folland have a chat in response to a question from detective Barry Steel (aka Anonymous). ‘He’ says:

“What do you do when social media is the absolute bane of your life but you know you should do more of it to promote your business, grow your audience and be seen by your peers?!

I had to delete Facebook from my phone to make more space and honestly the only thing I missed was the DIFTK community!

I don’t think I can afford to outsource it (which would be the obvious answer) but it sucks my soul away — especially Facebook, but I also get lost in a spiral of ‘instashame’ and angry at politics on Twitter!

And you know when you’re a parent and a freelancer and you already have a to-do list that is never ever going to be completed and you feel guilty and lame that you can’t do it all? Well adding ‘keeping social media updated’ to that list is painful. HELP!!!

I work in theatre and events so I do really need to engage with social meeds else I would happily delete the lot.”

Take note dear listener! We might swear a bit. This one’s for the parents. To be enjoyed at your desk or once the kiddos are in bed.

Here’s what was said in this episode:

Comments on the previous episode:

[00:00:49] – Frankie
Hello. You’re listening to the Doing It For The Kids podcast, where we swear a bit too much and talk a bit too fast about freelance life with kids in the mix. I’m Frankie and this is Steve.

[00:00:59] – Steve
Hello! Each week we take a question from the Doing It For The Kids community. Do our best to answer it and, well… you know the drill by now. This is episode 28.

[00:01:08] – Frankie
I know, that’s mad, isn’t it? Madness.

[00:01:11] – Steve
The first one of a whole decade of podcasts! Just imagine… you would have, like, a 14-year-old if we kept this up.

As ever, you can submit your questions for our next season. Do we do seasons? We don’t really call them that, but it seems like the official podcast term…

[00:01:31] – Frankie
Our next school term, basically.

[00:01:33] – Steve
Oh, yes, our next term of podcasts. Nice. I like that. Yeah. Probably up to February half term. That’s very true. If you want to drop us a question, you can do so at

Our answer to this week's question:

[00:05:45] – Steve
You do the question.

[00:05:46] – Frankie
Okay. Oh, it’s anonymous, Steve.

[00:05:48] – Steve
Right. We need an anonymous name, do we? Okay. Detective names. Detectives just seem to work the best…

Avery Hunter
Stan Lincoln
Barry Steele

Come on. Can it be from Barry?

[00:06:05] – Frankie
100% from Barry. Yeah. Done.

[00:06:09] – Frankie
This week’s question is from Barry Steele.

Barry says,

“What do you do when social media is the absolute bane of your life, but you know you should do more of it to promote your business, grow your audience and be seen by your peers?

I had to delete Facebook from my phone to make more space and honestly, the only thing I missed was the Doing It For The Kids community. I don’t think I can afford to outsource it, which would be the obvious answer, but it sucks my soul away, especially Facebook. I also get lost in a spiral of Insta shame and angry at politics on Twitter.

You know, when you’re a parent and a freelancer and you already have a to-do-list that is never, ever going to be completed and you feel guilty and lame that you can’t do it all? Well, adding keeping social media updated to that list is painful. Help!

I work in theatre and events, so I do really need to engage with social needs, else I would happily delete the lot.”

[00:06:58] – Steve
Sorry, I’ve got Snickers in my mouth…
So, Barry knows he needs to do social media, but he hates social media.

[00:07:09] – Frankie

[00:07:15] – Steve
Oof, dunno.

[00:07:15] – Frankie
Okay. The first thing I would say is… Barry says it’s the bane of his life, right? And I would ask, WHY? I don’t want to blame Barry, but what is it about his approach to social media that is making it so negative? Because it doesn’t have to be a negative thing. Social media can be really positive and a really nice space to be in.

I guess the first thing to say is… and it’s like anything in life right? You know, you play guitar, you love playing guitar, you’re really passionate about playing guitar, but the minute you become a famous guitarist and it’s your job, you don’t really enjoy it anymore. There might be an element of like, because it’s something Barry feels he has to do, it therefore already feels by default, like a drain? Like a-, what’s the word?

[00:07:57] – Steve
A burden.

[00:07:57] – Frankie
A burden, exactly.

[00:07:59] – Steve

[00:07:59] – Frankie
So it might be a simple psychological thing on a really basic level. But then maybe it’s also the social media that he has curated isn’t right. Maybe he needs to curate that experience more. Like, is he following people that he doesn’t actually like or-?

[00:08:14] – Steve
Yeah, I think that’s a really important thing because if you follow negative people, you end up getting negative vibes from it.

[00:08:20] – Frankie

[00:08:20] – Steve
I have unfollowed people who would only ever moan.

[00:08:23] – Frankie
And freelancers love a moan, I’m not going to lie! There is a type of freelancer that loves to moan about clients.

[00:08:30] – Steve
Or you might have started following some celebrity or journalist or political person and, you know, you start to get in this cycle of political stories which depress you and distract you.

One good thing that I hear recommended — and that I don’t yet do for Twitter — is to use lists. And as far as I understand it, that means you take your followers, but then you can narrow them down, which means you can go to a list full of the people in your industry, for example, or within that list, you might create another list called Super People Within My Industry. Anyway, the point is, like Frankie says, you need to curate the people that you’re following. So get rid of the ones that you don’t want to be following anymore if they’re not bringing you joy.

[00:09:15] – Frankie
Particularly the Insta shame thing that he mentions, following people that make you feel like shit. Like, why? Unless absolutely necessary for your job obviously.

[00:09:25] – Steve
If you feel politically like it would be bad to unfollow someone…

[00:09:32] – Frankie
You can hide them, right? Mute them? You can do that on all platforms, I think, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

[00:09:35] – Steve
So they won’t know that you’re not following them anymore. But you don’t have to constantly see their stuff.

[00:09:44] – Frankie
And I’d also say maybe part of it is… if it’s a professional, obviously we’re talking about freelancing. So if it’s a professional account, you’re doing it for your job to get new contacts and promote your show, whatever it is you’re doing. I think we can get really stuck on the idea that every single post, every piece of content has to be about the work, but it really doesn’t. And I think that can stifle you a bit and hinders your creativity to come up with ideas of what to talk about because you always feel like it needs to be about that specific thing. But actually, social media, some of my best received posts or whatever have been like random shit that’s come out of my mind.

[00:10:19] – Steve
You surprise me!

[00:10:21] – Frankie
You know, just day-to-day stuff. And if it’s a personal account, I’m assuming it’s a personal freelancer sole trader type account?

[00:10:28] – Steve
Barry Steele.

[00:10:29] – Frankie
Barry Steele. Exactly.

Like, people want to see that stuff. They want your personality, they want whatever is going on in your life around the work. People that just pump out the same message about whatever the job is — it’s dull, it’s boring, nobody wants to see that. Basically, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you pump out seemingly dull content that isn’t social, doesn’t engage, you lose all love for it.

[00:10:55] – Steve
I think a lot of us feel a pressure to pump out content, as you say, to create something for a platform. But, you know, if you can’t think of something to put out, the best thing you can do is go in and actually just look at what other people are sharing or talking about and join in the conversation, hit like, and then reply and stuff. If you’re talking about the fact that you need to be seen to be for your job in the sort of things that you do, it pays to be seen by people is what you’re saying. If that’s the case Barry, then get in there and chat to people.

The other thing Barry talks about is the fact that, geez, we’ve got enough to do. Do I have to log in? And how am I meant to do my actual stuff if I’m doing this? I would recommend setting times, restricted times, for when you’re going to go on those things. So I’m going to log into Instagram while I cook the kids dinner, or I’m going to log into Twitter in the morning while I have my coffee or whatever it is.

[00:11:57] – Frankie
While I’m on the toilet, that’s a classic.

[00:12:00] – Steve
Bear that in mind if she’s ever replied to you, everyone.

[00:12:05] – Frankie
I’m so sorry.

But you’re right in that people are intimidated by it because they feel like they’re the ones that have to be creating the content all the time. Whereas, you could just have the very successful approach for lots of people, which is interacting with other people’s content, particularly on Twitter. It’s all about the chat on Twitter, it’s all about the gifs. And then Facebook groups. You don’t have to make a Facebook group! You can sell your services and give great advice and make a name for yourself in other people’s Facebook groups.

And, yeah, you can schedule that time in. Try 20 minutes a day. You check on threads that are relevant, you share some experience, blah, blah, blah.

[00:12:39] – Steve
Maybe even set a timer.

[00:12:40] – Frankie
Yeah, because if you do set a timer, that’s really positive for people that can get sucked into the politics on Twitter or the rabbit hole of Insta shame, where you’re suddenly reading all about somebody that you actively don’t like. You’re like, “why am I doing this?” As you say, go on in with intention and set yourself a deadline. Then you’ve just got to do what it is you feel that is most positive for your business at that point.

[00:13:06] – Steve
If you’ve got some sort of plan and you’ve sat down one day and you’ve plotted out what you might do, then it becomes less of a brain burden because you’ve kind of batched your thoughts and then you can come back to it. Maybe just scroll back through your photos that you’ve taken at events you’ve been doing, and think, “okay, actually that would be good!”

[00:13:27] – Frankie
Basically, be strategic, right? So being strategic about when you go on and how long you do that for and what your aims are for that session, and then being strategic about your own content. Sitting down, whether that’s once a week — coming up with some stuff. And then when you do go on, you don’t have the burden every time of feeling like you need to create on the spot.

As a creative person, I find it very difficult to come up with ideas under pressure. I’d much rather have space to ruminate and think about what I’m trying to do. Saying that, I do random posts all the time, and it’s often the ones that are totally off the cuff that do really well. But there is something to be said for sitting down and plotting stuff out to take off the mental load out of it. So you should only have to do that once and then you can schedule stuff if you want to do that.

[00:14:18] – Frankie
Oh, the other major thing to mention is Barry talks about Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. And yes, like, all those platforms might be relevant to theatre and events and whatever it is that he does. But one of the classic bits of advice about social is — if you don’t have the time (which none of us freelance parents do!) don’t try and spread yourself too thinly and do all the things badly. Just concentrate on the place that you know your audience is or most of your audience are using, and do that really well.

I say this. I always say this, and then I always tell people not to go to my graphic design Facebook page, because it is a classic example of a page that has not been fed for two years. So if anyone goes to that, it’s just dead and it looks crap. It’s much better to have one, maybe two platforms that you’re actually updating, rather than five that are all from 2017.

[00:15:06] – Steve
So Frankie should probably hit delete on her Facebook page.

[00:15:09] – Frankie
Yeah. In fact, I tried to delete it once and it wouldn’t let me. It’s really confusing.

[00:15:14] – Steve
That sounds about right, doesn’t it?

[00:15:15] – Frankie
So I recently redesigned my grid on Instagram because I’m a graphic designer and I’d had this look and feel for my feed that I really liked, but was so restrictive. If I did one image that was incorrect, the whole thing felt off and that annoyed me, blah, blah, blah. And it was just stupid because then I basically stopped posting entirely, which is nuts.

[00:15:38] – Steve
Man, designers always just see the visual in the world, don’t they?

[00:15:42] – Frankie
Right, it’s stupid.

[00:15:42] – Steve
I stood in a pub once with a friend of mine. He was like, “oh, my God, we have to go”. I was like, “Why?” He went, “look at the tessellation on this carpet”.

[00:15:52] – Frankie
That’s so good!

What was I talking about? Yeah, so then I redesigned my grid because I posted on my stories about it to get some feedback, and a lot of people were like, yeah, that’s great, but this kind of layout is quite difficult for these reasons. And I was like, “I get all of that, but I know from my brain that the way I’ve set this up means that I can be so much more spontaneous about it and it’s also, like, reinvigorated my love for it”.

[00:16:17] – Steve

[00:16:17] – Frankie
And I’m suddenly like, yeah, I want to post stuff again because I’ve got a fresh new vibe and I want to run with that, obviously. As I say, I’m a designer so it’s all from a visual perspective, but that doesn’t necessarily have to apply to you. It could be like, what is my new…

[00:16:3090] – Steve

[00:16:31] – Frankie
Approach, right. I’ve got a new approach to how I post to my Instagram and it’s X, Y and Z. I’m going to do these types of posts rather than those types of posts, and I’m going to do more of this kind of thing and I’m blah, blah, blah.

And then ultimately, part of it is also just giving less of a sh*t about a) the quality of what you put out, whether that’s visual or words or whatever, and b) when it goes out, how many likes you get, all that stuff. Just go with it. Just go with it. And like I said a minute ago, often it’s the stuff that you just put out and don’t really think about or plan that people really respond to.

[00:17:05] – Steve
If you feel like you need a bit more structure to it, you know, given that this is something for your work — I signed up to, I think it was Jen Eastwoods at Rock Rose Digital. I signed up to her newsletter and I think when I signed up, I got given a checklist of things to do on social media. So each day across a week or something like that. And of course, you could create your own version of this — Have you done five replies on Instagram? Have you done four likes and shares on Twitter or you know, whatever it might look like for you? That means that if you’ve just done your ten comments on Instagram and you’ve ticked them all off, then in your head, maybe you will be like, “right, I have done my work on Instagram. I can now close Instagram and get on with my day”. It’s not like some sort of spurious thing in your head. There it is, on paper. You’ve literally just ticked it off and you’ve achieved something.

[00:18:01] – Frankie
And that makes you feel more positive about it because, yeah, you feel like you’re doing something useful rather than going on, not really knowing what you should be doing or what you should be saying. Yeah, nice.

[00:18:14] – Steve
One place you can go on social media, of course, is the Doing It For The Kids community, where you can comment about this episode if you’ve got an answer for it for Barry Steele, then let us know.

What would your advice be?

Let us know your thoughts using #DIFTKpodcast on Twitter and Instagram, and join in the conversation via the DIFTK Community on Facebook.