Simon Sinek tells us we’re addicted to our phones and it’s ruining our relationships. So how can we create a strong online presence, without spending every passing hour maintaining our social media feeds? Is it even possible to create and maintain a healthy online/offline balance? We asked Vancouverite, serial entrepreneur, and strategic advisor Meredith J. Powell for her advice.
In his book, Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek talks about how we’re all becoming dopamine addicts — getting that rush of endorphins every time we get a new email or a text message. When you’re building an online brand, that chemical imbalance can start creating problems in our personal life. But it is possible to build a brand without it taking over our live.
Creating and maintaining a strong online presence takes energy. Being authentic is key to maintaining balance. It’s important that your brand is intuitive and natural to any company, founder or individual. A great example is fellow Vancouverite Sunny Lenarduzzi. You meet Sunny, and she truly radiates positivity, embodying her online presence and messaging.
Airbnb also do a fantastic job of living their brand and goals from the inside out. They use values-based marketing versus product marketing. Their hosts, as well as the people who work for the company, are equally committed to generosity, inclusiveness, openness, and the sharing economy at large.
Think Long Term
When it comes to creating a brand, one of the common errors that companies and individuals make is copying others. Doing what you think people want or just following a market ‘trend’ is a mistake. It represents short-term thinking and not long-term growth, authenticity and sustainability. Creating a strong brand requires time, vision, and patience.
Identify the Strongest ROI
If you’re just getting started, the biggest return on investment when it comes to creating an online presence is to look at free platforms with an engaged community. LinkedIn and Instagram are invaluable free, easy places to start. I also use Hootsuite every day to manage personal or professional social channels. For startups, Angel.co and Crunchbase are online presence must-haves.
High level, video content is where it’s at. YouTube alone has over 1.5B users and is deeply powerful when leveraged correctly. Contrary to what most people assume, video production doesn’t have to be expensive — these days, you can shoot and edit an effective video right from your phone. Layer on emerging tools, like Juniper to better create loyalty campaigns with strong metrics or to monetize and away you go.
Create an Offline/Online Balance
One of the most surprising pieces of career advice I ever heard was “get off of email to be more productive”. I thought it was crazy. I was balancing hundreds of inbound emails every day. But when I tried it, I set some firm ground rules. I started prioritizing delegation, I also made a concerted effort to only check emails at set times of the day, keep to three sentences wherever possible, never to answer email outside of business hours, and moved huge amounts of work to awesome collaborative platforms like Google Docs and Slack. Talk about a game changer!
It’s important that your brand is intuitive and natural to any company, founder or individual.
Rather than reaching for your phone when you roll out of bed, create a healthy routine that will prepare you for the rest of the day. I like to start with a morning meditation then an early coffee meeting where we walk the seawall. Walking meetings are the perfect way to knock out an hour of outside movement before sitting down at the computer until lunch. The rest of my day includes alternating hyper focussed creative work time — where I turn off all ringers, social, and notifications — and meetings. I aim to keep meetings or calls short, concise and purposeful to ensure we’re not wasting time on non-essentials. Evenings are for recharging — exercise, comedy nights, live music (I go to a lot of shows, but also play piano), reading, time with friends and family.
Prioritize Your Health
I receive general guidance from different places in my life — family, best friends, colleagues. Currently, I have two senior executives who are active career mentors and whom I admire deeply. They are so many decades ahead of me in their paths and no matter what I share, they just ‘get it’.
In addition, I watch TED talks and listen to at least a podcast or two a day. It’s important to remember mentors come in all shapes and sizes — they should feed our spiritual, emotional, and physical selves (just ask any physical trainer, healthy bodies lead to healthy minds!) not just our intellectual lives. Laughter, for example, is the best cure for all challenges. My favourite leaders consistently bring perspective, light, and humour to my life.
Find Fulfilment Offline
Recently I landed a spot for Finn.ai, a Fintech company I work with, on BNN’s The Disruptors. Shortly after their appearance, I received an email from the producers to share Finn.ai was selected the show’s Top Startup Pitch of the Year. It was a huge honour and so exciting! We all gathered at the offices to watch the episode air, pop champagne and celebrate together. That company is growing so quickly; the team works so hard. They care deeply for the business and for each other. They deserve recognition.
Those are the moments that drive me — looking around the room, seeing everyone so happy, feeling the shared buzz, teamwork, high fives. If that’s not fulfilling work, I don’t know what is.
Do you have any tips for creating an online presence without it taking over your life? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below.