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How I Navigate Comparison and Competition in the Age of Social Media

Behind The Scenes
Have you ever compared yourself to another business owner on Instagram? It’s a bit of a hypothetical question, as naturally, we all have. In an era when so much of business is done online and through social media—where we’re seemingly living every moment of our lives in public—comparison and competition is a constant challenge for many business owners, myself included.
Author Jessica Comingore

In fact, I think that it’s the root cause of the anxiety that the modern creative entrepreneur experiences on a day-to-day basis. While there are obviously larger and more important stressors involved in running a business, social media and taking in the highlight reels of other business owners is a daily, constant trigger of comparison and competition for a lot of us. As I’m no stranger to those feelings myself, I’ve compiled my best advice for dealing with the negativity that social media can bring to your mindset and your business:

Focus on your own feed

It might not be the best audience expansion strategy, but I don’t spend a lot of time engaging with other people’s content on Instagram. Instead, I focus on my own account’s feed and the people who are already in my audience engaging with my content. Nurturing those connections and learning more about those interested in my values and services is incredibly fulfilling, as opposed to the empty feeling that mindless scrolling can bring, or the insecurity and comparison of obsessing over competitors who you can seemingly never size up to.

Know who inspires you

When I do seek out and engage with other people’s content, I still try to avoid the overall home and news screens on social media, where you’re bombarded with anything and everything. Instead, I go directly to the profiles of people I find most inspiring and don’t feel any sentiments of comparison or inadequacy around.

Personally, when it comes to social media, I mainly interact with Instagram, but these methods are equally applicable on other platforms. Know which accounts continually inspire you, and which stir up more negative emotions. Try to avoid coming across or interacting with that triggering content as much as possible, and instead proactively seek out the people that inspire you.

Set boundaries around social media consumption

While social media is crucial to our business’s marketing, it’s also just as crucial to be mindful of how much time you spend consuming it. One of the most important things to do for shifting how social media affects you is to set boundaries around how much time you spend with such an emotionally taxing environment.

I’ve heard of many people who use a sort of points system, where they may allocate a certain amount of time on social media per week. As someone still working towards a healthy relationship with social media, each day I ask myself it’s something I want to engage with. If the answer is no, I simply don’t. And sometimes the answer is no for a few weeks in a row. We don’t truly need to be on social media as much as it seems, so give yourself grace around taking breaks from it.

View it as a business tool

A last piece of advice is to stop viewing social media as a reflection of yourself. When you’re using Facebook or Instagram for your business, it is simply a marketing tool. And as a marketing tool, you can engage with it similarly to how you engage with other tools in your business. In short, you do not need to be online and logged into them all the time.

When you remove the personal and emotional attachments you may have to your social media presence, it becomes much easier to practice the above advice such as setting boundaries and staying focused. It can evolve into something that you can designate a specific date and time for in your work day, just like any other business or marketing task.

While I’m still actively navigating my relationship with social media, these simple shifts have helped me improve my mindset around its place in my business. Have you ever struggled with this yourself, and did you find anything else helpful to combat it?

Comments (2)

2 thoughts on “How I Navigate Comparison and Competition in the Age of Social Media

  1. I can totally relate to this! I’m trying my best to monitor my social media consumption lately since I often just get stuck in the “ahh I could be doing/making so much more” mindset rather than feeling energized from it.

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