By Alyssa Gregory
In the past 6-ish years since I first began using social media, I have found that my enthusiasm has been cyclical. I go from excited to dedicated to bored to burnt out, and back again. It’s almost like clockwork.
I’ve started to take note of these cycles to see if I could pinpoint the cause in order to revise my strategy. Here is a look at what I’ve pinpointed as common causes of the low points in my social media activity, as well as some tips on how I minimize the negative and work on beating social media fatigue.
Cause: New Platforms
Just when you think you have it all figured out, a new network appears. And every single time a new platform pops up, I cringe just a little bit.
Don’t get me wrong; I love the social media scene and exploring everything this medium has to offer. But at the same time, social media is only one part of my marketing approach. And marketing is only one of my business activities. Like almost everyone I know, I am already over scheduled, so the thought of yet another network to add to my social media strategy can make me slightly nauseous.
Remedy: Go Slow
Sure, there may be bragging rights that come with being one of the first on a new network, but how many new networks actually stick around? Definitely not all of them, and it definitely doesn’t happen instantaneously.
I always recommend grabbing up your name and/or your brand on new social networks that show promise, but unless being the first in the door is part of your business, there isn’t much of a reason to put all of your eggs into any social media basket, especially a new one.
Start by watching what others are doing, and if it supports your goals, begin working on a marketing plan that integrates the new network into your strategy (yes, you need to have a plan FIRST). Watching and listening first is a great way to learn, protect your time, and avoid common mistakes.
If you’ve been posting on every network several times a day, and doing it all manually, you are probably going to hit a wall at some point. It’s simply a lot of work. I have been there, and there are actually a few different remedies for this one.
Remedy: Review Your Goals Often
Like any other marketing activity, successful social media marketing requires a solid marketing plan that includes goals and metrics. If you’re feeling burnt out, sometimes the simple solution is taking a step back and fine-tuning your business goals if they’re not realistic or if they’re too aggressive.
Remedy: Automate (Wisely)
I am definitely not a fan of 100% automated social activity, but there is a place for it in moderation. Using tools like HootSuite can help you schedule tweets in advance, for example, so you’re not on the hook for posts 24/7. You can also expand your team to include a social media manager or virtual assistant who can streamline the process even further (be careful what you outsource, though, and make sure their voice supports your brand!).
Remedy: Take a Break
Consistency is important in social media, but if you’re burnt out and don’t do anything about it, it’s only going to get worse. If a few social media-free days will help you refocus, then by all means, take a break.
Cause: Lack of Success
Notice I didn’t say failure. That’s because not finding your sweet spot in social media does not mean that you’re failing. It means you’re still learning (and we all are!). So much of finding marketing success is about trial and error because what works for one business may not work for the next. Heck, what works one month, may not work the next. So you need to stay on your toes.
Remedy: Arm Yourself with Knowledge
The best solution for slow progress in social media is bulking up on your know-how. There are many classes out there that review the basics, offer case studies, show you new techniques, and give you access to peer support are usually well worth the investment.
Just like in any other part of your business, learning should be a continuous process that expands your knowledge and gives you the tools you need to aim for and reach success.
Have you experienced social media fatigue? What was your remedy?
Great post! This is the kind of advice that even experienced social media managers sometimes need to take a breather and refer back to.
In my experience, these are definitely the most common causes of social media fatigue. I’ve learned that chasing the newest, shiniest social platform is much less important than finding the right platform for your particular needs and focusing on creating a comprehensive strategy for that platform. A certain degree of automation is also extremely helpful in getting some of the (necessary) minutia out of the way so social media managers can focus on all-important person-to-person interaction.
You hit the nail on the head about the importance of person-to-person interaction, Kevin. That really is the point of all of this, isn’t it? Thanks for your comment!
There is also the fatigue of keeping up with all the people, friends, family, colleagues, businesses, and blogs across multiple networks and email. It all just turns to noise and sometimes becomes an irritating intrusion. I know several people who have abandoned their social media accounts either for a short-term hiatus or quit social networking altogether. I’ve considered shutting mine down, too, at times and frequently cull my list of people I’m friends with and follow.
It is very easy to get buried in the social noise, Kim. I often take breaks, too, just to slow down the process and refocus on my overall priorities for social networking.
How encouraging it is to know I’m not in the desert alone! Thanks, Alyssa for posting this article. I’m finding the skill of listening online the most important and most challenging because there is so much clutter. Also, I’m not sure how social media outlets translate to things like mobile applications. Given they have so much higher CTRs, how do we social media neophytes think about mobile? Thank you!
Mobile is huge, Dawn, and becoming increasingly important in my perspective. I think anyone who is active in social media needs to take a serious interest in mobile, too. There is a great related article on Mashable that’s worth a read: http://mashable.com/2012/05/05/future-social-mobile/