According to a recent study published by Social Media Today, the average person will spend, wait for it… 

More than five years and four months of their life on social media. 

That’s 46,751 hours that they will never get back. 

Enough time to become a master (according to the 10,000 hour rule) of nearly five different life-changing skills. 

You could, as my mentor and founder of Early To Rise, Mark Ford has done, use those 40,000 plus hours to master the French Horn, learn Spanish, write a book of poetry, and to write and produce an award-winning screenplay and movie. 

Or you could use those hours to frantically scroll and scroll and scroll for an hour each day trying to reach the bottom of the Facebook wall.

Now don’t feel so bad if you spend a lot of time on social media.

You have to remember that each day an army of engineers goes to work in Silicon Valley with one mission on their mind – to get you addicted to your phone.

It’s working. 

Social media (really all forms of media) has taken over the lives of modern humans to a disturbing degree. 

But there is a small group of high performers who have said “Enough!” 

Men and women who have learned to beat Zuckerburg and his ilk at their own game and use social media to build their own Empire instead of contributing to the growth of someone else’s. 

And today I want to show you how to join them. 

This essay is divided into two parts. 

In the first half, I’ll show you how to put simple “time bumpers” and “productivity barriers” in place to eliminate the negative effects that social media is having on your life. 

In the second, I’ll teach you the strategies I personally use every day to make thousands of dollars from social media without letting it rule my life. 

Let’s get started. 

How to Beat Your Social Media Addiction

1. Eliminate Social Media from Your Early Morning Hours 

The first way to reclaim control of your life and fix your broken relationship with social media is by eliminating social media during early morning hours. 

Most people wake up, roll out of bed, and immediately check their email, Instagram, and Facebook. 

Before they’ve made their first cup of coffee, they’ve been sucked into a dopamine producing whirlwind of negative news, comparison, and reactivity. 

Listen, you cannot perform at the highest levels when you start your day by reacting to the things that the world deems important. 

You can’t build an empire and create a lasting impact on the world when you spend your mornings scrolling through a sea of senseless content. 

So for the next week, I want you to try something. 

When you go to bed at night, turn your phone off (or at the very least put it on airplane mode) and don’t touch it until you’ve been awake for at least two hours. 

Spend those early morning hours investing in your dream, your ambitions, and your empire. 

Then, and only then, can you open up your phone and check out everything you “missed” while you were sleeping. 

If you will do this for just seven days, I promise you’ll never go back. 

You’ll have more clarity, more peace, and more focus in the mornings and you’ll change the entire mood behind your days. 

Give it a try and let me know how it goes in the comments below. 

2. Unfollow Anyone That Doesn’t Add Value to Your Life

Despite the fact that I have almost 50,000 followers on Instagram, I only follow 13 people. 

I have fewer than 100 friends on my personal Facebook account and go out of my way to ensure that I am only following people who I know personally and add real value to my life. 

Here’s the deal. 

When you follow someone on social media, you are giving them permission to take your time, energy, attention, and willpower. 

And this isn’t always a bad thing. 

If you’re following an old friend or an inspirational entrepreneur, they will pay back your time and attention with valuable content or meaningful insights into their lives. 

But for most of the people you’re following this isn’t the case. 

The content they share doesn’t provide value or improve your life. 

Instead it takes value from your life. It fuels your fear, sucks you into comparison syndrome, and steals valuable moments that you can never get back. 

So right now, pull out your phone and look at how many people you follow/friend on Instagram and Facebook. 

Now ask yourself two things. 

  1. Do I care about the people I’m following and do they care about me? 
  2. Does their content provide real value and tangible benefits in my life?

If the answer to these questions is “no” then hit ‘unfollow’ now. 

Sure, you might annoy a few people and a few acquaintances from high school might send a snarky comment to your DM’s. 

But you’ll be happier and more productive for doing it. 

3. Turn Off Notifications and Reclaim Your Time 

If you have your notifications on for any of your social media channels, turn them off now

To use social media effectively, you must use it on your time. 

You decide when to scroll through posts, respond to DM’s, and answer comments. 

When you have notifications buzzing during every hour of the day, diluting your focus and draining your mental energy,  you can’t build an empire. 

If you allow yourself to get distracted every time someone comments on a post or sends you a message, you’ll never complete that intense deep work required to succeed at the highest levels. 

Luckily, the solution to this problem is simple. 

Turn your notifications off. 

Set specific times in your schedule to check your Instagram for DM’s or relevant comments that could lead to a sale. 

But do not allow your life to be consumed by other people’s schedules and priorities. 

Turn off your notifications. Get focused. And build your empire. 

How to Use “Business Media” the Right Way

1. Follow the VPS Formula 

I once saw a guy who posted a picture like THIS on his Instagram:

The gentleman in question was a health and nutrition coach and was (attempting) to share the importance of proper hydration with his followers.

And, for whatever reason, he thought that posting a picture of a half-full (half-empty?) water glass on his page was the best way to do it.

But no one on Instagram cares about an empty water glass. 

So going forward you need to commit to my VPS formula:

Every single post you put on your social media must be Valuable, Purposeful, and Shareable

If it’s not all three, it doesn’t go on the feed! 

Valuable:

Every piece of content you post must add value to your audience.

It must catch people’s attention and help them gain a clearer understanding of a problem they are facing or reframe a specific challenge they might have on that day.

Think of Instagram the same way you would a blog post.

Anyone can create a quick article detailing their “7 tips for success” where they churn out tired old cliches that don’t make a real impact on the reader. 

But the best writers, guys like James Clear, Mark Manson, and James Altucher, all know how to provide uniquely valuable content that their readers can’t get anywhere else.

On Instagram, you must do the same thing.

Here’s an example from my page where I gave contrarian and valuable advice my followers won’t find in many other places.

And this one…

Always ask yourself… Is the content I’m about to share uniquely valuable to my audience? Will it stop them mid-scroll and give them the “aha” moment for which they’ve been searching all week.

If the answer is “no”, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Purposeful:

Every post, video, and story that you share on Instagram must have a definite purpose.

Are you trying to motivate your followers? Convince them to click the link in your bio and share their email address? Sell them on your latest offer? Educate them about an important topic?

For example:

In this post, my purpose is to share powerful time management strategies to help my followers be more productive.

In this video, the purpose of my post is to 1) Share a powerful email marketing strategy and 2) Establish credibility and authority to encourage my followers to work with me.

And in this one, my only goal is to acquire new leads for my business growth workshops.

Purposeful content leads to powerful results. 

Ensure that every post, video, and story you publish has a clear and concise purpose and, I promise you, your business media channels will explode. 

Shareable

Finally, your Instagram content must be shareable. It must be the type of content that people not only like but feel compelled to share with the people that they care about most.

Creating shareable content comes down to two main factors:

  1. Design
  2. Message

For example:

Or this one…

Although these types of posts might not drive immediate revenue, they expand the reach and following of your brand and attract new leads to your business whom you can later convert into paying customers.

2. Use the 5X5 Grid for Endless Content 

Now that you understand the type of content that will allow you to turn Instagram into a money printing machine, the question you’re probably asking yourself is, “Wow Craig, this sounds great…But I don’t have that much content to share! What do I do when I run out of new content ideas?”

And this is a valid concern.

However, I’ve developed a simple tool that has allowed me to crank out powerful content quickly and easily without needing to find a new angle or idea every single week.

It’s called the 5×5 Content Grid and it goes like this:

First, you’re going to draw a 5×5 grid on a piece of paper and brainstorm the five most important topics, lessons, or strategies that you’re always teaching or the five questions that you are asked most frequently.

For example, I recently helped one of my clients, a Naturopathic Doctor that specializes in skin care/acne reduction, with this process.

Her five were:

  1. Clearing your skin from the inside out
  2. Foods to eat for clearer skin
  3. Topical skin treatments
  4. Hormonal acne
  5. Stress related skin problems

Once you have determined your top five lessons, you’re going to brainstorm the five most impactful ways that you can teach this content.

Continuing the example from above, my client’s top five were:

  1. Her story
  2. Case studies/success stories
  3. Facts and statistics
  4. Overcoming myths
  5. Celebrity examples

Next, you’re going to plug your five hot topics across the top of the grid and the five best ways to share that content on the side of the grid and then insert a little note about your content into the remaining grid boxes.

For example: “A fun fact about how __% of people get breakouts when they eat xyz food… and here’s what to do instead”.

And there you have it!

If you complete this exercise at the beginning of every month (it should take less than 15 minutes) you’ll have 25 ideas for unique and highly valuable content that you can share with your audience to more effectively build your brand, manufacture celebrity, and grow your profits.

Then, once you’ve tested out different content topics and teaching styles, you can repost your highest performing content on a regular basis, streamlining the process and allowing you to pump out even more killer content every week.

3. Build Your Credibility 

Finally, to max out your business media and create iPhone income on demand, you must leverage your various platforms to build your credibility and manufacture celebrity. 

Humans have a weird quirk known in the psychological community as the “association bias.” 

Simply put, it’s an evolutionary shortcut that allows us to make assumptions about a person based on the groups with which they’re affiliated, the people with whom they spend their time, and the beliefs to which they adhere. 

For example, if one of your favorite gurus recommends a product or service, you can feel confident that the product or service is high quality. You don’t have to spend eight hours combing through Amazon reviews and reading customer comments on Reddit. 

You simply click “buy now.” 

On Instagram and Facebook, this bias works the same way. 

When people see you associating with authoritative individuals in your industry, it immediately elevates your status in their eyes. 

If you look at my Instagram feed you’ll notice that I post a ton of pictures with guys like Bedros Keuilian, Jason Capital, Sharran Srivatssa, and Tim Grover. 

Why? 

For starters, these guys are some of my best friends and closest associates. However, having pictures with entrepreneurs at their caliber on my Instagram feed immediately elevates my status in the eyes of new followers. 

They think to themselves, “Woah! Craig is business partners with Bedros Keuilian? I should probably listen to what he has to say.” 

And the best part is that you can leverage this principle regardless of your current network. 

Remember, celebrity is relative. 

If you currently have 5,000 followers, then a “celebrity” would be anyone in your industry with 10,000 followers or more. 

Start small and work your way up. 

Join masterminds, go to seminars and events and leverage these “photo ops” to get pictures with high level entrepreneurs who will elevate your status and build credibility in the eyes of your followers. 

If you will do this consistently, it will become infinitely easier for you to sell on social media and dominate the game being played around you. 

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Want to achieve your 12 month goals in the next 12 weeks and start down the path to building your billion dollar empire?

Then click here to get access to my 90-day reality maker blueprint. The same tool I give to my $25k/day 1-on-1 coaching clients (a tool that has made many of those clients millionaires).

I’ll walk you through step by step exactly how to reverse engineer your biggest goals and achieve them in 90-days or less.

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift to high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com

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