What would your boss say if you happen to proposed taking a month off of social media? At L.L.Bean, the reply was sure.

Although the thought might sound infeasible for a lot of social entrepreneurs, the L.L.Bean group went “off the grid” for the second yr in a row this Might in honor of Psychological Well being Consciousness Month.

This initiative was prompted by the will to embody their model values, and look out for the well-being of their staff. To cite the corporate founder, Leon L. Bean, “Being exterior brings out the most effective in us.” So, the social group stepped again from the model accounts to spend extra time mountaineering, fishing, browsing and discovering different methods to spend high quality time with family members open air.

At a time when many social professionals are battling social media burnout, this method was concurrently surprising and refreshing. Some skeptics puzzled if it was an genuine gesture, or only a technique to generate constructive PR. However total it was met with numerous enthusiasm and assist that translated to heightened consciousness of the model’s values and constructive efficiency outcomes.

I requested Hillary Sparks, Senior Supervisor of Social Media and Exterior Communications at L.L. Bean, for extra particulars in regards to the month-long hiatus, and the way she believes different social advertising groups can prioritize their very own psychological well being.

For always-on social entrepreneurs, it’s laborious to think about taking a whole month-long “break” from social. Did your group actually unplug from L.L.Bean’s presence utterly?

Sure. We acknowledged there can be some danger related to stepping away from social media for a month, as our model—like most—makes use of social media to engage with our clients. Nonetheless, our clients have been overwhelmingly supportive of this effort over the previous two years (many take a social break themselves), and we hear how they recognize seeing a enterprise decide to its values. And we do maintain customer support representatives out there to assist handle any issues or wants by way of e mail all through the month of Might.

A screenshot of three images posted on L.L.Bean's Instagram account. The three posts form a cohesive image that reads: Off the Grid. See you June 1. #MentalHealthMonth. The background of the image is a nature scene.

How did you spend the break? What did different group members do?

Personally, I handled the model’s social media pause as a relaxation interval that allowed me the area to prioritize my well-being. Different group members did the identical, and the time away from social allowed us extra time to step exterior. It’s all the time enjoyable once we return to social originally of June and we’re capable of share what our L.L.Bean group has been as much as, and see how our followers and followers spent their time exterior through the month.

Professionally, my group took our weekly conferences off the calendar for the primary two weeks of Might to create intentional focus time. We used the pause as a chance to get a bounce on planning for our June return and past. We’re all the time wanting again to plan forward, and Might introduced a chance to do this with out the strain of publishing content material.

Why did you initially pitch the thought for spending #MentalHealthMonth off the grid? How did you get management and stakeholder buy-in?

Our founder Leon L. Bean believed that nature is essentially the most highly effective antidote to the stresses of life, taking to his camp and the outside as usually as he might. His conviction has all the time been a part of our model ethos, and we’ve spent the previous few years exploring the advantages of experiencing “awe” open air, in partnership with the College of California, Irvine’s Dr. Paul Piff and thru our partnership with Psychological Well being America.

The preliminary thought to go “off the grid” got here simply weeks earlier than Might 1, 2022. It was like an “aha” second, and as soon as it was spoken aloud, we knew we needed to work to place the entire items into place. In fact, management and inside stakeholders had some preliminary issues about not participating on social channels for a month, however the dangers had been outweighed by our collective dedication to L.L.Bean’s goal. It was clear that main by instance and honoring Psychological Well being Consciousness Month with an authentic gesture was the one technique to do it.

Along with going off the grid in Might, L.L.Bean affords different year-long worker packages to make sure group members have paid day off to discover the outside. We additionally make use of a supervisor of wellness operations who oversees the implementation of packages and assets designed particularly for the well-being of our staff each month of the yr—not simply in Might.

Had been you anxious about how it could influence your future social efficiency?

In fact! It’s a danger shuttering channels any time, and being offline throughout Might meant we might miss participating with clients who had been planning for a summer time season of adventures. All of it got here right down to danger versus reward. We explored the implications of being perceived as unresponsive from a customer service perspective, dropping followers attributable to inactivity and forgoing a month of neighborhood engagement, progress and gross sales potential. Nevertheless it rapidly grew to become clear that the chance outweighed the threats, and the chance paid off.

Clients have been overwhelmingly supportive, celebrating our model for residing as much as our goal. The social efficiency and progress from 2023’s time spent off the grid additional solidified our dedication to make this a recurring, rising effort.

A screenshot of the comment section of L.L.Bean's initial post announcing they were going off the grid for the second year in a row. Comments include: As a company to agree this and give your social team some much deserved rest, all I can say is wow. Bravo. Coolest thing I've seen today. I absolutely love this. I'm joining in. See you around the camp fire.

It’s reassuring that your YoY impressions had been really up 95% throughout Might. Do you credit score the social media pause to your success?

Our YoY impressions being up signifies that L.L.Bean’s clients worth our dedication to our goal and to their well-being. Our clients have seen us decide to this break for a number of years and have continued to interact with our model. It’s essential to notice that our choice to pause natural social media was largely pushed by our need to assist our clients get exterior to prioritize their psychological well being. We wish to encourage them to get exterior extra usually and expertise the advantages of nature.

What do you assume the general influence on your small business was?

Our Psychological Well being Month initiatives additional established us as a purpose-led firm. We now have spent the previous 111 years serving to individuals get exterior, with the understanding that spending time open air is sweet for our our bodies and our minds. By way of our Off the Grid marketing campaign, we had been capable of attain new clients who weren’t but acquainted with our brand’s values. From these new followers to legacy clients, we loved participating with our neighborhood and boosting consciousness of what we stand for.

What shocked you most through the month-long break?

What shocked us essentially the most was that our clients had been as engaged as ever. Our gross sales had been stable, and our clients’ offline engagement with the model was sturdy. We had been nonetheless capable of join with our clients via our partnerships with Strava and Psychological Well being America, offering them with assets to benefit from their time spent exterior.

What recommendation would you give to different social entrepreneurs who wish to advocate for psychological well being? Do you assume it’s solely achievable for groups within the out of doors business?

We dwell in a world with fixed distractions and stressors, which has made us extra aware of the significance of prioritizing our psychological well being. At L.L.Bean, we do this by spending time exterior. However extra broadly, the subject of psychological well-being is related to any model. We’d encourage firms to seek out their voice within the dialog in methods which are genuine to their values and neighborhood.

How do you assume different social entrepreneurs can handle their psychological well being?

I‘m inspired by efforts to make social media a extra constructive, uplifting area. And I’m positive any marketer will inform you that a part of the joy of the work comes from the ever-evolving social panorama. Nevertheless it’s all about stability. So, I encourage everybody to step away when you possibly can, even when it’s simply 10 minutes spent exterior.

To study extra about defending your psychological well being in your social media profession, learn our guide to finding a healthy balance with social media.

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