It is a new decade in 2020. Social Media is a must for your business but you do not have to kill yourself over it to make it work. Here are some tips I found to help you plan your social strategy yet be able to breathe a little in doing it.
1. Focus on building a community
Social media isn't just about grabbing attention and growing an audience. It’s also about building an engaged online community.
As social media professionals, we have to know inside and out who we want in our communities, and what they want to hear from us. This is often why social media content falls flat - it lacks purpose and reason, and connection to its target audience. Basically, it's just promotion, traditional ad and marketing collateral in a new format.
Now, you may say 'well, we want to engage everyone, everyone with a pulse needs to be a part of our online community'.
Let’s get real for a second. Your mission and your message is not going to resonate with every single person. If you're a small business or nonprofit organization dealing with a niche issue or a local problem, you have to face the fact that your online community will be a lot smaller than a national organization.
Every day, go into your communities (let’s stop calling them platforms) and see what’s working. Answer comments and questions, be present, and don’t over automate. Always be learning about your community and what they're most interested in, what moves them, what drives them, what inspires them. Create content just for them and more will follow from there.
2. Set time to relax!
How much time do you have to spend on social media? Is this 100% of your job, or just 10%? The best way to determine how much time social media management is going to take is to clarify how much time you have to devote to it.
The truth is that getting results on social media is much like getting results out of an exercise plan - consistency and intention are key. If you have thirty minutes a day to get a quick walk in, that’s better than sitting at your desk all day, every day and getting zero activity. If you can fit an hour walk in once per week, your results will be even better.
The same goes for social media - no matter if you have all day, or just an hour a day, to focus on social media, you need to create a time management plan to avoid spinning your wheels and wasting time (which can be so easy to do on platforms that are designed to grab your attention and keep you clicking).
Social media management takes discipline and practice, but a time-based strategy like this can be a great way for social media managers to manage their various competing responsibilities. Take a 25-minute break from time to time.
3. Take mental health breaks
As noted in the introduction, mental health stress on social media managers is a real thing, and the ramifications are just beginning to be properly understood and reviewed.
The "always-on" mentality dominates pretty much every industry right now, but it's especially true with social media. But consistent use of social media can be very hard on your own mental health so taking a step back every now and again is essential, even if it doesn’t seem like an option because there’s just too much to do.
This may mean turning off social media notifications when you leave the office. If you absolutely need to respond to something, set aside 10-15 minutes of dedicated time after work to go into each platform, then shut it down for the night.
It’s also important to take digital detoxes and vacations - pausing for a moment to come up for air and give your eyes a break from the screen.
4. Just say no to perfectionism What??!!
Your content is never going to be perfect, and your social media 'To Do' list will never be fully complete. In many cases, we have to be ok with 'done and imperfect', as it’s better than simply not done at all. Now, by this, I'm not advocating lazy mistakes or letting awful content or automation to take over. But you shouldn’t be spending hours designing and tweaking one single Instagram post, or whiling away the days editing a smartphone video that's going to be 30 seconds long.
Attention to detail is great, but perfectionism can be a killer. Get that post up. Edit it later if you find a drastic mistake. Test, see what’s working, then do more of that.
5. Advocate for your own well being
Every job has its busy periods, but constantly feeling like you’re struggling to keep your head above water is not okay. Social media managers are often also expected to be marketers, creators, analysts and customer service people. It's no surprise, in the end, that so many of us end up stressed out.
If you are a team of one and your work responsibilities amount to three full-time jobs, you have to be honest with your superiors and managers in letting them know that this is not sustainable. Conduct a detailed inventory of your time, listing out as many tasks as possible, and how long it takes to accomplish them. Don’t be afraid to advocate for your work.
The social media landscape is busy, noisy, and overcrowded with a wide range of content types. Sometimes, people can be not-so-nice, sometimes the work feels thankless. Sometimes, it feels like you're doing it all alone.
In 2020, ensure you consider your own mental state, and the capacity and scope of the work you're taking on. Being constantly connected can feel addictive, involving - but if you're having to overlook other elements, like spending time with your family, in order to keep an eye on your mentions, that can have significant negative impacts. Take a step back, and assess your workload and habits, as you head into the new year.
Tags: #socialmedia, #contentwriting, #branding, #marketing, #advertising