ep26 - The Power of Growing Slow on Social MediaOct 20, 2021
Listen in as Jennifer Dukes Lee teaches us how slow growth on social media is a good thing.
Jennifer is an accidental farm girl and recovering hustle junkie who's here to help you un-hurry your heart.
Growing Slow is literally the title of her latest book so I can't think of anyone better suited to boss us around on this topic.
In this episode, we cover:
- Why slow growth is better than viral growth
- Jennifer's slow growth through showing up daily
- Why you aren't falling behind if you're going slow
- How to build and – most importantly – keep healthy fences around your social media work
- What a productive winter (rest time) away from social media does for you
About My Guest:
Jennifer Dukes Lee writes books, embarrasses her kids, and was once a mime (true story). She attends a small country church where some Sundays you’ll find her spinning tunes as the church deejay.
She’s a big fan of dark chocolate, emojis, eighties music, bright lipstick, and Netflix binges. She and her husband are raising crops, pigs, a herd of cats, and two beautiful humans on the Lee family farm in Iowa.
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Megan: Today, we will be joined by Jennifer Dukes Lee the author of the lovely and gorgeous book, Growing Slow Lessons on Un-hurrying Your Heart From An Accidental Farm Girl. She is a fellow girl from the Midwest, I'm in Ohio. So not as far as the Iowa, still felt all of the things. So I want to welcome you here today. I am here as a marketer with heart. As you may have guessed about this title, what we're going to talk about today, we're not talking about growing. Virally. We're talking about study and sustainable growth for you. As you may be a female entrepreneur, you may be a business owner. You may be a thought leader and I am absolutely convinced that slow growth is the way to go.
Megan: So without further ado, miss JDL, Jennifer
Megan: Lee, and how are you?
Megan: Oh, good. How are you
Jennifer: It's such a joy to get, to have this conversation. It's a topic near and dear to my heart, and I love what you do. I'm a big fan of your newsletter. I get it in my inbox on Sunday and just to feel really privileged to get to be here with you today.
Megan: Oh, that's so kind of you thank you so much. I am just as tippled I have to tell you to be talking about this gorgeous book.Fall is my color palette. Like I'm just in love with this. And for those who maybe don't know a bunch about you, would
Megan: you mind introducing yourself, Jennifer?
Jennifer: Yes. Sure. My name is Jennifer and I am the author of about four books and two Bible study.
Jennifer: The latest of which is called growing slow. The lessons on unhurried your heart from an accidental farm girl. . I am a farm wife. My husband has about 700 acres of corn and soybeans, and we have about a thousand pigs and I'm also the mom of two daughters.
Jennifer: And I like probably most of you watching, uh, maintaining a presence on social media to grow my business. Slash ministry, which is being an author. And there is an expectation that we have platform that we have engagement, that we're a part of social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook and email and all those kinds of things.
Jennifer: So I get the struggle on the other side of that is that I am in one of those seats of decision-makers. Who take a look at people's platforms and decide if they're big enough to be a publishable materials. I am an acquisitions editor for a non-fiction books with Bethany house publishers, which is a division and a bigger publishing group.
Jennifer: So I pay a lot of attention to, to growth on social media. And I also see that so many people are trying to rush to grow their social media press. When in fact, I think there's a better, more deep rooted, more sustainable way to make this thing go and.
Megan: Yeah, this is going to
Megan: not be a popular topic for some people to hear, right? They're like slow. No, no. Since it is counter cultural, it is to talk about this.
Megan: But as you've said, and I am a firm believer, I was viable growth. It's not normal. That's why, like the definition of viral is it's like that. Like, let's not talk about viruses. The ones like this is
Megan: abnormal growth. Like those are the literal definition of viruses, abnormal growth. So slow is normal. This is, this is how it it's healthy. That's right word. So. I can't wait to talk to you about this. And Jennifer and I are in the same community of writers, Hope Writers. I've been there launch manager, a team member with them for over three years now. And Jennifer has been an online teacher for us, has been so involved in the community.
Megan: And I remember, I don't know how long ago this was probably more than a year, definitely more than a year, but I remember in one of your talks, you were talking about how I have these books
Megan: and I still don't have 10,000 followers on Instagram and I post every morning my heart. So I pour my hands for.
Megan: So that has you have past surpass yes. Times over that goal. So you are on the other side. So you've got totally, you know, where most of my audience is right now and feel that and know that deeply. So what did that slow growth look like? Feel like for you? How long did it take? If you could just. Let us see him on a little bit of that.
Jennifer: Absolutely. I'll share a little bit of that story. And it's interesting that you say that I'm on the other side of it, because let this be an encouragement or maybe it won't be an encouragement to those who are gathered here, but there's always something else. Like there's always some new milestone. Like now it's like, oh, I can't wait to get to 30,000.
Jennifer: Instagram, and I can't wait to get to 60,000 on Facebook, but if I do that and never truly settle in and celebrate the moment that I'm in right now, I'm going to miss it. I'm going to miss it. And so really growing slow is also taking opportunities along the way to see how far you've come. I think that we make the mistake.
Jennifer: Often. It looks at people out on social media and think they're aware. I want to be. We look forward so much that we forget to look backward and say, look at how, how far I've come. This is a moment that I prayed for right here to hit 5,000 on Instagram or whatever that moment happens to be, to take moments to do that.
Jennifer: And one of the things that I often tell people, whether that's my authors or people sending me book proposals, or just friends, things that I told myself is we all start at zero. We all start at zero. I started with zero people reading my book. With zero Facebook followers. I used to be at zero. When I started my Instagram account.
Jennifer: We all start at zero. I think we don't, we don't take a lot of time to realize that what looks like a success now that there's often years of work sitting back behind them. And so for me, I am from the early blogging days, I started in 2009. With zero people reading my first blog post, right. And then Mom and some of my sisters started reading. And from there it grew little by little, by little, never had a post to go viral. There were moments where something was shared a lot or got a lot of comments that was a big deal back in the blogging days, but there never was some big viral post. And then I started Facebook.
Jennifer: I was blogging before there was, before I was even on Facebook. And so I started at zero and now I have about 55,000 followers on Facebook. Now there's some people, maybe, even some people watching this right now that have a hundred thousand on Facebook that have been at this for a very short time. But let this be an encouragement to you.
Jennifer: That this slow growth has helped me put down deep roots into a community of people who trust me and that I engage with. Then I started Instagram and again, I started at zero and have slowly, slowly grown that over time never had a viral post and I wanted to eventually get published and. About five years of really solid showing up every single day to tend to the seeds that I planted and then to tend to the plants that were growing up, to be able to see a harvest of books being published, but it didn't stop there.
Jennifer: So that was in 2014. When I had my first book book published, I continue to grow. I continue to show up every day. So I think that is really key in growing your social media slowly is showing up every single day in some way, or in a pattern that feels right and enjoyable to you. And that's how it is for me.
Jennifer: I come to the page every day on Facebook and Instagram, and sometimes more than once on Facebook and continue to produce, produce quality content. Now I've got so much content now from doing this for 12 years, that I can go back into my art. And quickly pull something up and repost, just repurpose old content in a new way.
Jennifer: And I do that even on Instagram week by week. You'll see something that is a real, some, maybe a little bit like a carousel post that maybe sounds a little bit like an Instagram live that I did with somebody. So it's just consistent. Showing up at, on social media and I still haven't had a big viral post.
Jennifer: I've got a post right now. That's performing very well on my Instagram. It's the one that I posted. So carousel posts that I posted either yesterday or the day before that has maybe 2,400 likes or something, which is a lot for me. But those kinds of posts though, there is not really viral, but I am getting people for the kind of content that I'm typically sharing right now, which is stop hurrying and, and grow slow.
Jennifer: And here's what you can do to grow slow in your life. So if I went viral on something, let's say I went viral. For a post that I did, I'm cooking something in my kitchen and I had to sustain that. That it would, it wouldn't work because I can't, I can't produce content related to my kitchen, but I can produce content to the things that I care about.
Jennifer: So I'm not going to try to, you know, do cartwheels in the backyard or backflips off the deck or something in order to go viral because I can't sustain that. All I can do is be true to the message that God has given me and put it out in front of people and just communicate with those who can continually show up.
Megan: Oh, you said so many good things in there.
Jennifer: I know I'm like, I'm not very slow with my thoughts. I feel like I have some things I want to say. I'm like jumping in. I apologize. I hope it makes sense.
Megan: No, it absolutely did. And I love that you mentioned recycling content because I think some people think that, oh, I just has to be something new and different and groundbreaking every single time.
Megan: And that. Absolutely not the case, right?
Megan: It is. I mean, things that resonate, resonate over and over again. They are not going to remember when you posted that thing last or if you post a nothing before and if they do, they're going to be like, oh, thanks. Good reminder. Like not going to be the response and not , "you fraud. Why aren't you delivering content to me every single day." So I'm glad you brought that up.
Jennifer: Yeah. I just remembered my last post is one like a reminder, today's reminder. God's got it. This was actually something that I posted, I think toward the end of 2020. And I found it in my, my archives because I was at Mayo clinic with my dad yesterday.
Jennifer: And I knew that I wanted to have a presence on social media. And so while he was in a chest x-ray I went through my archives and I'm like, what's something that could speak to people where they're at today. I'm like that one. That's something that people care about right now that they don't want to look at a whole season of life is a dumpster fire.
Jennifer: That, what good can we, what good can come out of this? And so I just changed the words instead of saying in 2020, I just said in this season of your life, I mean, you can repurpose content and that's part of what it is. I think to show up sanely on social media is really. We are not, we're not limitless. We have limits.
Jennifer: We aren't just made to be constantly productive and turning out new stuff. Some of the best stuff that we've said recently may have been a year ago or a few weeks ago. And it's okay to turn that a little bit and, and present it in a new way, or maybe present it with a different kind of creative. Maybe you did it as a, uh, a graphic a few weeks ago.
Jennifer: Maybe today you can say some of those same things with the beautiful image that you found on your camera roll.
Megan: Yes, absolutely. So that recycled content is a great tip for, I would say, I don't know if you call it a slow growth tip, but that is a great tip for being consistent and not having to continually, you know, being hurried to create new content.
Megan: Do you have any other slow growth tips for us?
Jennifer: Right. I think. In the same way that every spring, my husband goes out here and he plants literally millions of seeds. And sometimes in the spring, we'll go out with the Gator, which is like this little, like four wheel vehicle. And we'll go round to the fields and we'll kind of get down literally on our knees, in the dirt and be like, come on, you grow into something.
Jennifer: Growing here is something growing here and eventually days sometimes it's week, we'll see tiny little shoots of growth and that's something to celebrate. And pretty soon, you know, we say the corn is knee-high by the 4th of July, that's the same here in the Midwest, but we get out there and all of a sudden it's green and lush.
Jennifer: But even those times when it looks like things are growing, we are dealing occasionally with, with drought, we're dealing occasionally with hail, with pests and all sorts with weeds, with all sorts of things that have to be tended to, and then comes harvest, which is a beautiful time of year that we're going through right now where we actually get to see the fruit of our labor.
Jennifer: And I think the same is true for those of us in social media to view the fields of our social media as showing up to plant seeds and then having the mindset to know that even if we're down in the dirt of our Instagram soil, thinking, come on, let's grow something, grow. That we need to just dial it back and realize that these things take time, that the, the best things in life really take the longest to grow.
Jennifer: When in fact it looks like there's nothing growing on the surface in a farm field, there are roots that are growing down deep to hold that plant stable when the storms come and where the droughts come. And so for me, like recycling content is, is building on the roots of this whole whole ecosystem of my social media and the roots are also the relationships that I have created over time.
Jennifer: If you send me a DM, there is a 97% chance that you are going to get a personal response from me. It might be a paragraph. It might be a thank you. It might be a couple of hearts, but you are going to get a response from me. Takes time. It takes effort. And so I have, uh, periods worked into my day for engagement.
Jennifer: I have periods worked into my day for planting the seeds that are, that make the posts that you see out on social media, on my social media. So consistency. Relate-ability uh, relationship, uh, engagement, all of those kinds of things. Take time and not trying to seek out the way to make a post go viral or obsess over that.
Jennifer: I know that Emily Freeman often says that if you invite a hundred people to your house for a party and only 80 or 80 show up. You wouldn't go back to the office and figure out where the other 20, where you would engage with the 80 who showed up. So that's a definite slow growth tip. And I think that you will look back over weeks and years and look back on your field and see that there is harvestable growth and that's something to celebrate.
Megan: I think what is hard oftentimes as we're doing everything right, you're doing everything to grow. It's that mindset? It's the. You're feeling like you're falling behind comparing your beginnings to other people's middles and further on. Uh, and just feeling like when is my turn, when am is a going to happen for me and you, you definitely, uh, have a great chapter in your book where you cover that.
Megan: So. What would you say is your message of hope for people who are feeling that way?
Jennifer: Yes. One of the biggest causes of a hurried heart that we can have in life in general, and certainly as a social media person or a marketer, is this idea that I'm falling behind or I should be further along by now. I think that we can even feel that when our feet hit the floor about it or.
Jennifer: Like, these are the things that I should have accomplished by this point of the week or by this point in my life. And it robs so much contentment enjoy and celebration out of what we're doing right now and about the gifts that, that we have and the gifts that we are giving and what we're doing with our lives.
Jennifer: And so, you know, that the idea of falling behind is really because of all of these social constructs of where we should be. At any given age in our lives. So I think that teens feel that I should be further along and knowing what I'm going to do with the rest of my life, like where I'm going to go to college or, you know, what my major is going to be, what I'm going to do when I'm 30, when the reality is that most of us at 30 and 40 and 50 years old are not doing the things now that we thought we would be doing at age 17 when we're supposed to figure it all out.
Jennifer: And then when people get to college, I'm falling behind because you know, We've got to find a spouse or I've got to get these certain internships done. If I'm going to have a good job when I get out of here. And then in our twenties, we're thinking we're falling behind because we're looking at lane beside us and see how fast people are hustling and how they're having all of their dreams, how we're seeing our dreams come to fruition in their lives and on and on.
Jennifer: It goes through life. And, you know, even some older, you know, senior citizens that I just went and spoke to some women who were, there were a lot of senior citizens in the crowd and the women, there were like, I feel like I didn't accomplish with my life. And that time has gone by so quickly and I don't know what I have to show for it.
Jennifer: And so we, you know, we can choose which path we're going to go down. The one that says I'm right, where I'm supposed to be, and I'm able to serve and bless people in this spot where I am right now, or we can drive ourselves nuts and saying, I should be further along by now. And I'm falling behind. And pretty soon we get to maybe.
Jennifer: You know, 75 and look back on our lives and it was a blur. And so I think, I think we can get really hung up on numbers, getting to determine our worth and our value. And I know that they have value. And I know that it's hard for instance, to get a book contract or it's hard to, you know, get a business to, to move forward.
Jennifer: If you don't have. Um, people paying attention to what you're saying, but to continue to do your craft and to show up and, you know, sign up for Megan's email, for instance, doing all those kinds of things, um, can help you grow little by little, slowly into, you know, into who God made you to be.
Megan: Yes, absolutely.
Megan: I think that. There's so much in there that we can relate with. And as far as being present, celebrating the little things that are happening right now and where you are, and they were exactly where you need to be. One of the concepts that I'd loved in your book is you said, Fences. You're very familiar with fences on farms.
Jennifer: That's right.
Megan: Fences are a form of self-control. And you also said that fences are a way of taking care of yourself, which I thought, Ooh. So what, what fences maybe have you built around your social media life to help you to have that self-control and taking care of yourself.
Jennifer: Right, you know, fences serve a couple of different purposes.
Jennifer: One is so that you kind of know what your space is, but I'm here on the farm. We have fences so that other things can't get in and destroy what's already here. So we have fences that will keep animals like from trampoline crops. And fences in life are a way of protecting the crops that you're growing.
Jennifer: So the temptation is to constantly widened fences and to have no boundaries. I think most people actually have decent fences. They have decent boundaries, but they don't keep that. And they don't respect them. I think that most everybody watching right now is knows what their boundaries are. Probably they look like I'm not going to check my phone.
Jennifer: First thing in the morning. I'm not going to do work after five o'clock. There are boundaries that. I said, but that you haven't kept. And for me, boundaries look like those two things. Really. I have had so many opportunities, even in book launch time. Can you join us for an Instagram live at seven o'clock and I don't mean to be legalistic and I'm sure it sounds like I'm legalistic, but I'm just like, I'm still, I don't don't do evening.
Jennifer: You know, Facebooklives. I just, you know, is there a time we can do that in the day? And boundaries look like, uh, coming to my work at seven 30 or eight in the morning on social media. And that's when I that's, when I get after it, that's when I post that's what feels natural to me. It's what I've been doing since 2009. It used to be full length blogs that I did almost every day in 2009 and 2010. And then now this micro blogs. And so this is my pattern. This is the way that works for me. And so finding what works for you and then showing up every day is a really great way protect what I've already built to be consistently taking care of the crops in the fields here, but then there, then the boundaries also, you know, already keep the other things from encroaching on what I, what I've built.
Jennifer: And if I am working at seven, eight and nine o'clock at night on social media or on work-related things, it's very difficult for me to come back at seven 30 or eight in the morning and do work with an energetic, exciting spirit. So at the end of the day, when I go to bed, I use, I used to go to bed thinking, ah, I'm so busy, but I didn't feel all that productive.
Jennifer: And I wasn't energized about my work. The next day is so different. Now I have my work kind of batched out and I come to the page and I come to the computer or phoneenergized about what's before me and I can close the, the computer and turn off the phone in the evenings and not have any guilt about it.
Jennifer: Now, granted, you know, we're watching reruns of survivor right now. And every once in a while, I'll kind of poke in on my messages and respond to some messages and those sorts of things, but not out of like, obligation or guilt. It's just something that I, I enjoy doing sometimes in the evening is checking this.
Megan: Yeah. Oh, I love that because, and that's something that I've been workingwith my Instagram challenge group on is, eliminate the guilt scrolling, like having to, like, we have a checklist of things that we're going to do at a scheduled time every day. And then once you're done with your checklist, you're done on social media, which is hard to say it's 24, 7, 365.
Megan: It never closes down. It can seem like an endless, endless, like you would never finish it. Well, we're like, okay, we're going to finish it today. These are the things you need to do to have a healthy growing, you know, relationship engagement on social media. And then you can scroll guilt-free all you want in the evening and not have to worry about, like, I didn't do enough or all.
Megan: And it's such, I never thought about it as a fence, but lovely
Megan: way to do that. And I love what your earlier you were saying, unlike the pigs, we can move our fences.
Megan: They don't have a choice. That's right.
Megan: We makefences and then we're like, well, I could just hop that one.
Jennifer: Right. You can move fences.
Jennifer: You can pick up and go somewhere else. You know? I think that all of us a couple of days ago, we're like, what if there was no more Facebook and Instagram, like how we do this? And I know I'm not the only one. All of a sudden got a whole bunch of emails from people that I subscribed to. Cause they were all like, I still have my email lists.
Jennifer: And I think that is, you know, that's important too, is to figure out how to. You know, present in a few places that you can handle, because you never know when any of this stuff is just going to go down and stay down. I think in growing your email is why didn't it? I mean, I know this is social media, but I'm telling you email is where it is at.
Jennifer: That's what I've been selling my books. That's where I can really tell that the, that the needle moves is when I post about my book on my email. So grow your email. Make it a priority.
Megan: Yes. And amen to that, I think is more kind of like wrapping up here and getting for the end of our time. I think it's a good time to ask you about winter. Cause you talk about the seasons of planting and course, Autumn is harvest,, but then there's winter, which. Everybody's favorite season, but on the farm, that means a season of rest. And that's not something we're really good at, as I just said, social media is 24 7 all year round. But what does rest look like for you?
Megan: Uh, what is your season of winter? Maybe not literally during winter, right? Like the metaphor here. What is your rest look like?
Jennifer: Well to, to hop off onto the metaphor real quick. One of the things that is really remarkable, Megan, is that on the growing season here on the farm, one fourth of the growing season, it happens in winter.
Jennifer: Like when you look out the windows and it looks like nothing is happening and that it's dreary and unproductive and bleak. What I have learned from my husband, a farmer, is that there is so much being done in winter in ways that we cannot see, uh, that we call it poor man's fertilizer, snow that falls in the winter, it contains nitrogen and it, that helps the ground, it helps heal the land. The frost thaws cycle of winter we'll have rocks emerge from the soil that must be removed. So they don't hurt the equipment. There's all kinds of microbes and things happening underneath the earth. In winter that comes spring, help the, the bed help the earth so that we can grow better things in the spring.
Jennifer: Well, the same as true. And it can be hard to hear that our social media lives or our businesses may have to go through winter seasons, but winter seasons are frankly something that we're all gonna probably have to go through. It. It is a hard word to hear. It's hard to see. Look out and it feels like everybody else is going through a season of, you know, continual plant grow harvest, plant grow harvest.
Jennifer: And we're sitting here in this unproductive season, but don't discount the work that winter is doing in those quiet times. Don't discount. You know, we build winter into your everyday rhythms. So for me, closing the computer at five is me saying, I'm moving into a season of winter now for the day. And this is a time when I'm going to rest.
Jennifer: This is going to be a time when I take note with gratitude of what has happened in the past. It's a time when I prepare myself spiritually and mentally for the day to come. When I'll begin planting again in the morning, it really sets the tone for the day and it helps me appreciate and sometimes accept what has happened in the previous day.
Jennifer: It usually begins with the practice of slow food. I make a meal, it doesn't have to be gourmet, but. That's that's how I approach winter is the way I approached my food. Like taking my time to cut things and saute things and to lay out a table and to sit and be still with my food and present with my people.
Jennifer: And so these kinds of restful practices that we can work into our day are a way of acknowledging that we like the fields need winter to rest, to reflect and to celebrate.
Megan: Oh, I love that. And I know I did not. That is something I learned about farming, reading your book was that I did not know that rocks come out of the ground.
Megan: And it kind of made me think of the analogy that like when you're arresting to that's when those thoughts bubble up, that's when those ideas that you didn't let yourself process when processing happens. Right? It's like when your brain goes into that mode of it's always working, but we, we, when we're trying to do so many things all the time, like what's in front of us, it doesn't have time to work on those bigger ideas.
Megan: The bigger things to process what already happened to you and understand what that means and where you could go with it. Both good and bad. That's right.
Jennifer: yeah, that, it's so true. I mean, people's best ideas come in the shower. It's because they're not doing anything else productive and that's, you know, someone you heard somebody, another author actually gave me like crayons to use, to write ideas on the side of the wall of the shower.
Jennifer: I think that, you know, we do have a lot of ideas that come to us when we're out on a walk or when we're taking a shower or when we're driving somewhere. I think boredom is an underestimated, a secret weapon in the arsenal of our social media growth and our, and our, the way our vision casting.
Megan: Great. Well, I cannot thank you enough for being here today and I really encourage everyone to go out and get a copy of this beautiful book. Is there any way else, Jennifer, that we can support you specifically on social media? Cause that's what we were talking about today.
Jennifer: Absolutely. Well, if you're here on Instagram, To have you come over and like my page and engage in my content.
Jennifer: And I'd love to get to know you there. It's Jennifer Dukes Lee here on Instagram. And then in my links, in the link in my profile, I have a lot of freebies that are available. I've got a quiz right now that helps you to figure out if you have a hurried heart and a lot of other resources that I would love to share with you to help you to live a growing slowly.
Megan: Wonderful. All right. Well, thank you so much for your time today, Jennifer. Go there and send lots of love and lots of hearts. Lots of comments over to Jennifer and thank her for being with us today. So this awesome.
Megan: Okay. Have a great rest of your day. Bye bye. Bye. If you found this social media advice helpful, I bet you'd love my this week and social media marketing email.
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