The very nature of social media management often means that you’re “on call” almost all the time, so your work/life balance can quickly become non-existent. Between constantly checking Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, engaging with your followers 24/7, and continuously creating new content, burnout is a very real threat. There’s a bit too much truth in the “social media manager with no social life” joke.
That is, unless you have a few simple tricks at your disposal, and the right tools. Social media management remains a relatively new career path for which not a lot of degrees exist. That means you’re likely doing a lot of on-the-job training and learning. While we don’t offer a degree, here are six tips that can help you get their work/life balance back—and be a better social media manager because of it.
1. Plan it
Don’t put off writing posts until the last minute—unplanned requests will always come up, so save your energy for those times and plan out everything else you can to save yourself extra stress and anxiety. Then, make an overall social media strategy, but don’t use a one-size-fits-all framework. A good plan is a varied plan, incorporating live posting only when necessary. For every other instance…
2. Schedule it
Writing a post ahead of time isn’t an impersonal exercise—it can actually allow you to deliver richer content to your audience. By affording you the time to think about the best content for your post, then schedule it when you’re ready, scheduled posts eliminate the likelihood that you’ll get distracted doing other work, and then have to dash off something last-minute just to meet your posting quota for the day. Treat scheduling tools like Hootsuite organically, and they can become your best friend. Try staggering your post times, like 12:15 or 3:45 instead of 12:00 or 4:00, to avoid rigidity (and everyone else’s traffic).
3. But don’t forget it
Remember, life comes at you fast—and digital life comes even faster. Sometimes you’ll need to rethink (or delete) a future scheduled post in the face of current events. In 2012, concert promoter LiveNation cautioned people to stay away from a Toronto Radiohead concert due to a fatal stage collapse—while several prescheduled posts encouraging fans to share their show photos ran simultaneously. Paying attention and staying engaged goes a long way.
4. Focus it
Pushing the same posts out to all of your channels may seem like a time-saver, but it’s inefficient and may eventually end up costing you more time to make up lost ground. Learn what works where. Some simple A/B testing will let you know fairly quickly when it’s time to reconfigure your approaches to different platforms. Doubling down in one successful avenue is easier than propping up a non-starter, and it allows you to use your time more efficiently.
5. Delegate it
Don’t be the martyr if you don’t have to be. While not always a luxury in small operations, training somebody who can take the reins, or at least split platform duties occasionally, can free up crucial bandwidth for you and prevent burnout. Look for someone with specific skills or passion for a platform, or someone you can put in charge of one aspect of social, like audience engagement, and then get comfortable delegating (and leaving the office before 7pm).
You shouldn’t treat social media marketing as something worth losing sleep, or friends, over. Take your time, find a system that works for you, and then make sure to not get lost in it. Burning the candle at both ends won’t make you better at your job—in order to continue to delegate, manage, and conceptualize great content, you need to dedicate time to clear your own head and create a life that doesn’t constantly revolve around work. Even something as simple as buying a new mattress topper can help you sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your (social media) day.
Try implementing these changes over the next few weeks, and then invest time in yourself. Even if you have to be on-call in the evenings, carve out an hour for a quick workout and leave your phone at home. Make plans to see friends that force you to leave the office on-time. With a plan and the right balance, you can be an impactful social media manager in your work life, and a healthy, happy version of yourself in your off-duty one.
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