How to prevent social media burnout

by Linda Parkinson-Hardman on February 4, 2014 · 0 comments

Cheerful businesswoman showing tumbs upWith its ‘always on’, 24/7 culture it is very easy to become so wrapped up in the world of social media that burnout is a very real risk that everyone participating runs. However, with a few simple changes to the way that we manage our online lives, we can avoid this pitfall and continue to enjoy the benefits for many years to come.

I’ve been working in the online world for almost 20 years; running businesses, managing forums, replying to email, writing content and participating in discussions for all that time. It didn’t take me long to realise that if I carried on the way I’d started out, that I wouldn’t have much to offer in a very short space of time. I adapted my presence and made use of as much ‘support’ as I could find; I’d now like to offer you five simple tips that have helped me stay on top of the game.

1. Turn off. Despite the fact that your followers, friends and connections seem to be up for all 24 hours in the day, the reality is that we all need a break. The easiest way to do this is to turn off the devices that are controlling your accounts. That means phones, tablets, computers, laptops and even games machines. Just this one simple act will bring you respite. After all when you’re asleep you can’t do much anyway and if you need to keep your phone on as an alarm then simply turn it to flight mode.

2. Schedule down time. If you understand your business well enough you’ll know when you are most likely to be able to engage with customers, this applies equally online. A good place to start finding out when your online front window is most active is to have a look at your website analytics, these should tell you when most of your visitors and potential customers are online. It makes sense that this is when you should really be around to take part in conversations, answer questions and field updates. It also means that you can then choose to have one or two days off.

3. Plan and prepare. Every business has its regular calendar. This includes events such as trade shows, conferences, briefings, business networking meetings and product launches. We may know about some of these more than 12 months in advance. This awareness is like social gold and you can mine it and make your life easier at the same time. Plan your social media calendar by deciding on your publishing schedule when you learn about the event. Decide on the topics you need to write about in advance, create the status updates and links you want to include, note down the hashtags and Twitter handles you’ll be paying attention to as soon as the dates are decided and pre-schedule. You can do this in Facebook easily by selecting a date in advance for your status update. It’s less easy in Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ but using a tool like Hootsuite can help enormously.

4. Reuse past content. I’m a big believer in recycling content that is still relevant to the audience I’m working with. In fact I go to extreme lengths to make sure the bulk of content I create is timeless just so that I can reuse it in the future. You don’t have to create everything from scratch; you can point tweets and status updates to old blog posts and videos – as long as they are still of help.

5. Don’t try to catch up. This is particularly important with Twitter. It’s so fast moving that it’s easy to feel you might be missing out on something important that came in overnight so you scroll through the home page reading each and every tweet. Don’t. If there is something you need to keep an eye on, set up a search and run the search each time you login to Twitter. Engage with what’s in front of you, not what’s gone behind and you’ll be much more effective.

If you follow these suggestions then you’ll very soon be in a position where you can fine tune the time you spend online. Perhaps 10 – 15 minutes in the morning and then again in the early evening, replying, responding and sharing what has been shared with you. You won’t feel overwhelmed and you won’t be pressured next time the phone beeps another alert at you.

Linda Parkinson-Hardman
Linda is social media strategist and trainer with Internet Mentor working with clients to help develop realistic, appropriate and sustainable uses for social networking sites like Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook. She is an avid networker both on-line and off-line and loves meeting people to share her knowledge and expertise with.

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