There’s no doubt moms are much more involved in the digital world now than ever before, whether that be by choice or as a result of tech-obsessed kids. Right behind family, a smartphone or laptop is generally the thing I always have with me. I use it to connect on social platforms, stay up-to-date, shop, search for information and work. The struggle I found myself running into most was how to use social media productively instead of feeling like I’m wasting time or neglecting other responsibilities. Although there’s no set formula that fits everyone, there are a few helpful tips I’ve learned to create a balance and utilize social media to its full potential.
Find a group, page or tribe online. Facebook is filled with mom groups, pages and places to go and chat with other moms in the same chapter of life, dealing with the same thing you are. Use Facebook to connect when feeling like it’s a struggle to get out of the house or reach out to those around you. Find a mom group and lean on it when you’re searching for answers or feeling alone. When you’re able to reach out to other moms online, there’s always someone awake and always another mom who understands your situation. It’s empowering and a great way to stay social even when you may not feel like being social. Plus, the bonds you can create online are still real and often develop into great friendships – or at the very least, build up your personal network.
Set times to unplug. A lot of moms feel guilty or judged being on the phone or online while their kids are around. As long as you’re able to set boundaries that work for your family, there’s no reason to feel bad. The idea of “all things in moderation” is a great outlook to apply to social media, smartphones and computer time. Designating specific times to unplug and set social media aside is an easy way to refocus, connect with family and ensure you’re able to be fully present.
Use social media to stay organized. If you’re using social media regularly, why not use some of its features to stay organized? One way to keep your phone from getting cluttered with thousands of photos at a time is by using Facebook albums or hashtags on Twitter and Instagram. The great thing about Facebook albums is you can create collages, tag others and keep photos organized by date or event, while having the option to keep albums private, too. You can also use unique hashtags for your family or events on Twitter and Instagram to keep photos and updates in one spot when you search that hashtag. Both options allow you to delete photos where they may take up space on your phone or computer but still have organized access to them online. Another simple way to stay organized with social media is by connecting your smartphone calendar to social platforms. This way if you RSVP to an event online, it will automatically sync to your calendar, which means (if you’re like me) you can skip the step where you tell yourself you’ll do it later and forget.
Put “pins” to good use. I find myself pinning ideas, recipes, activities and crafts on Pinterest more than I’d like to admit. The ongoing joke with this platform is users are always pinning clever ideas but never actually using them. To put a stop to that and make sure I’m utilizing the ideas I liked well enough to pin, I came up with a rule: As long as I’m actively using Pinterest, I have to use something I’ve pinned daily. That may seem daunting at first, but it can be anything from simply reading a helpful article or using a quick tip to picking out a recipe or tackling a DIY project. It forces you to both be strategic about what you pin and get things done you may have put off if you didn’t have the rule in place.
Prep for events. Whether it be a wedding, holiday event or simple get-together, most moms have experienced the drastic decline in RSVPs. Using social media platforms to create events, post reminders and stir up some excitement for the event you’re planning is a clever way to get a larger response and keep it at the front of people’s minds. It may take a couple extra minutes, but the return on response and communication on a platform the majority of people are already using throughout the day is worth the extra effort.
Find local activities. One of the most common complaints I hear from other moms, and an area I struggled with when I first became a mom, is finding activities to take the kids to. Now, the outlet I use to find most of the events I’m interested in is social media. Search and follow local magazines, parenting sites, libraries, news/radio stations and popular businesses on Twitter and Facebook primarily. If you’re following them and there’s an event coming up, they’ll be promoting and talking about it; so chances are you’ll stumble across it on your timeline and begin to have more activities to choose from and attend.
Shop on a budget. When I’m shopping, I like to find a good deal. Bonus if it’s local. An easy way to stay financially savvy is by following the stores and companies you shop with on their social media platforms and taking advantage of the deals and giveaways they promote. If you’re looking for a specific item, want to find something to refurbish or get at a used price, visit Facebook’s “Swap and Shop” groups and pages to seek out those items. Another financially savvy bonus to using social media is the ability to turn the tables to post or promote an item you may want to get rid of and earn some money.
Moms, how do you use social media to your advantage?