We have heard so many times about how the perfectionism on social media is harming our mental health. It’s to the point that people are getting plastic surgery to look like Instagram filters. It’s a serious problem and there is thankfully a movement to combat it with the realities of their life, and I frankly love seeing the mess of these people’s lives. That is more relatable than any perfect home, face or vacation could ever be.
But there is another side of the perfectionism problem. There are the social media professionals on the back end that are working to make sure every single detail of a post, response, etc is the epitome of perfect, and it’s just as dangerous to their mental health.
Perfectionism is Not Attainable
When I picked up crochet, I heard about a tradition where the Amish purposefully put a mistake in all of their projects because only God is perfect. So now when I make non-fatal mistakes on my projects, I remind myself of this tradition and just let it go.
The same should be true on social media. We are human beings with flaws. We will never get every single aspect of our jobs perfect. Sometimes it’s better to just let some parts of your work be a little less than optimal.
Sounds strange right?
But here’s the thing: If you obsess over every little thing, then each post is going to take an obscenely long time to create and you won’t be able to get the necessary volume of posts out. So you have to weigh what’s worth waiting for and what’s not. Then take notes on how you can make it better for next time. And finally, you have to let it go. I know. This last step is hard for me too.
Perfectionism is the Enemy of Engagement
Have you ever obsessed over a post and then gotten no engagement? It’s a real downer, right? There are usually a couple reasons why.
The first is that you edited the human right out of it. The commitment to perfectionism usually makes people go over a post entirely too many times and it ends up sounding like something no one would say. If it’s something no one would say, then no one is going to be responsive to the post. I’m not saying don’t edit your post. I’m saying know the line between editing and over-editing.
The other reason is that it’s too perfect. Yes, that’s a thing. People relate to vulnerabilities and true human moments. Making sure every little thing is exactly so (like the a gorgeous picture that is almost unreal) makes you a little less vulnerable and turns fans off. It’s like trying to show your very best self every time you are with a friend. Is that person truly your friend if all they know is your very best self? No. To create that connection, you need to show your flaws and who you really are from time to time. Creating a connection with your fans is no different.
Those who work in social media tend to be overly type-A and are constantly pursuing that perfection. That is sometimes good, but it’s more often very bad.
If you want to last, feel comfortable with not having everything exactly the way you want it and learn to let it go. Otherwise, stress and burn out will definitely do a number on you.