Let’s face it, we live in a world where social media is no longer an option, it is a necessity. Sure, you can embrace your inner Luddite and become a digital hermit, eschewing all forms of online social interaction, but the ramifications of that decision on your social and work lives would be dire.
Your friends expect you to be following along with their escapades online, and your clientele expect you to be responsive to the queries and needs they put forth via social media. Both expect you to be present, creating an island for yourself in the ocean of digital content. If you don’t, you risk being forgotten, or worse, actively despised for your misanthropic behavior.
So you need social media in your life. Which is fine! Social media is as popular as it is because it brings us together in ways that was never possible without it. It opened the floodgates of communication, creating an outpouring of human contact unprecedented in the history of mankind. Think about it! It is now possible to know what people are thinking in realtime, anywhere on the globe. When you stop taking it for granted, that is a bonafide AMAZING THING!!!
But being amazing doesn’t stop immersing yourself in the data-stream from being any less overwhelming. We are finite creatures, faced with an infinite source of interest, and unless we are diligent about managing how much time we spend absorbing and interacting with it, we risk losing sleep, productivity, even family to it’s seductive embrace.
Here then, are a few tips to help you escape social media overload, while maintaining a healthy and productive presence online:
Use A Social Media Management App
If you’re like me, and millions of other people, you are managing your presence across a number of different networks. Your grandma might be fine just hanging out on Facebook, but for the modern entrepreneur (or heck, the modern human being), one network doesn’t cut it. Facebook is a start, but Twitter and Instagram are necessary as well, with LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest all serious contenders for your time. On top of that, new networks are created all the time, and as their user-bases rise and fall with the fickle interests of the masses, so too will your need to engage with them.
If you are trying to manage your engagement across all of those networks, it can quickly become both confusing and time-consuming. This is why you need Social Media Management (SMM) software to help you out. There are a ton of services out there which offer some form SMM, including paid packages that include deep analytics and other amenities, but for someone looking to dip their toes in with something free, there is really only one game in town — Hootsuite.
Hootsuite lets you manage multiple networks (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ and more) for free, allowing to schedule and post messages across those networks from a single dashboard, while also providing a central location to track and respond to conversations related to your social media presence. No longer will you need to waste time switching from tab to tab, logging in and out and in and out, retyping the same message over and over.
Scheduling posts in advance with apps like this is one of the best ways to reduce overload. Do you have a new marketing campaign ready to roll out? Go ahead and schedule all of the social media blasts for the entire campaign in advance, in one highly productive block of time. Boom! Social media accomplished, and without having to constantly interrupt your train of thought every few hours to post something new.
Give Yourself Quiet Time — No Exceptions
When I said it wasn’t a good to detach yourself from social media entirely, that doesn’t mean boundaries are a bad idea. In fact, they are vital to your survival. Establish clear times when you will not be available on social media, and then turn off your notifications during those times. Mealtimes, nighttime, first thing in the morning, whatever works for you, just make sure that you give your brain time every day to exist without a constant barrage of pokes and pings. It can be good to do this with your family as well, if you live with folks who are just as connected as you are. Think about having a “no phone” rule at the dinner table, so that you can all be present in the present together.
You can also attack this problem from the other end. Rather than have set times to turn off notifications, you set times to check in, and ignore social media at all other times. So, for instance, you would set two 1-hour sessions a day to check in on all your networks, respond to any questions, and browse around. The approach that works best for you will depend on the volume of social media work you need to do on a daily basis, and how quickly you are expected to respond to contacts. If you are doing a lot of customer service via social media, then limiting yourself to two one-hour periods might now allow you to provide the type of response-time that your customers expect.
Cut Back If You Can
You should only be engaging with a social network if the time you spend doing so is worth it, or where you have a large community base. Use analytics whenever possible so that you can get hard data on which networks you use are providing clickthroughs and conversions. If you are spending hours pinning things on Pinterest, but you aren’t seeing a lot of engagement or generated traffic, then it might be time to drop it entirely, and dedicate that time and energy to something that might serve you better. Just be careful not to cut things before giving them a chance to perform. Building a presence on a new network can take time, so don’t jump ship after only a few weeks.
Want Solamar to help you with your social media overload? Give us a shout, and we can help you make sure your social media presence is off the chain without destroying your sanity!