By: Iris Matulevich, Creative Team
Social media can suck.
Sure, it’s the home of endless dog photos and hilarious memes and Humans of New York. But it’s also a source of toxic debates, trolls, pyramid scheme shillers, body shamers, and a constant negative news cycle. If the people sliding into your DMs make you want to slide under a rock and live there for the foreseeable future, your relationship with social media needs adjusting.
Over-exposure to social media can be detrimental to your mental health, and it’s good practice to log off for periods of time. But if you’re in charge of a brand’s social content - whether as a marketing manager, social media coordinator, digital content creator, or entrepreneur - it’s not so easy to disconnect. When your friends announce they’re taking a break from Facebook or deleting their Instagram app from their phone for a few weeks, you snort and think, “I wish.”
The symptoms of social media burnout are varied. You might find your social media gurus keep leaving after a year on the job. You might be a business owner letting your feed go unupdated for months because you can’t find the time or energy to post. You might be the one person in your organization in charge of social media on top half a million other tasks you’re supposed to juggle. It’s easy to feel like you’re drowning under tweets and posting schedules and a constant barrage of “can you send me a free sticker?” DMs.
Let me be the first to tell you: you CAN manage your brand’s social media profiles without getting burned out.
It might feel like I just told you it’s possible to bench press a mack truck while treading water and flawlessly reciting the lyrics to Ice Ice Baby. But I promise you, social media management without burnout is possible.
Second: take back your time.
If you’re not an ER surgeon, you don’t need to be on call to respond to 2am tweets. One of the best ways to reframe how you use your time on social media is to set boundaries outside of work hours. The iPhone Screen Time feature is a great tool to remind you to stay away from your social feeds on nights and weekends… and it mutes notifications during specified hours. Use automatic Messenger responses to let users know you don’t respond to messages outside of business hours (and then stick to that promise). Determine how often your profiles need glanced at on Saturday and Sunday, and don’t let yourself spend any more time than necessary. Better yet, take your backcountry ski trip or weekend hike in an area without cell service so you have no excuses for checking on your ad campaigns.
Don’t forget to set time expectations while at work as well. These social media apps are designed to suck you in and keep you scrolling until you realize everyone left the office an hour ago and you’re deep in a hashtag rabbit hole. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and that’s the time you spend on Instagram outreach that day. When it goes off, move on to something else. When you can, interact on social using a desktop instead of your phone to avoid getting trapped by the endless scroll.
When you go on vacation, let someone else on your team take over the posting process and really let yourself get away from the job. You are a human, not a Facebook Messenger robot. You need to take time away from the feed to be able to properly serve your brand and your customers. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to jump back into the newsfeed.
And, most importantly, schedule your content out beforehand. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out what to post on a daily basis - pre-plan your content with a scheduling service. You can choose a time and date, write your caption and hashtags, and the site will auto-post or send you a notification to post when it’s time to share. We like Sprout and Later, but free platforms like Planoly can be just as helpful. Seriously, pre-scheduling content will save you.
Third: find the joy.
Okay, you are no longer wasting your energy or your time. But why don’t we find something to enjoy?
When re-evaluating your social media routine, find what brings you the most joy in your day and take time to do those things. Maybe your favorite part is exploring new hashtags, maybe it’s replying to tags in tweets. Perhaps the content creation part is your favorite - devote time each day to creating or planning new ways to create content. If chatting is your thing, spark conversations with commenters and DMers (interacting with your online community is just as important as posting, anyway). When you feel like you’re drowning in emails, take a moment to find your happy social media place.
If you’re now realizing, “oh, fuck. Nothing about social media brings me joy,” then be honest with yourself - why are you putting your effort into something that’s making you miserable? It might be time to think about outsourcing your social media management to free yourself of the frustration.
And on another note, you need to find joy in your personal feeds, too. That’s right, I need you to KonMari that shit. About every month you should cull your social media followings and unfollow (or mute) that which doesn’t serve you. Influencer that makes you feel bad about yourself? Gone. Person from high school who was really mean to you? Bye-bye. WeRateDogs? Definitely keep. We are in control of the content we consume - let’s start exercising that control with an iron fist.
When you reframe your mindset, reclaim your time, and rediscover your joy, you’re on the path to owning your social media marketing without it owning you.
Congratulations. The power is in your hands (or perhaps your thumbs).
What are you going to create with it?