Social media is a 24/7 game, making work-life balance difficult for community managers. Community managers’ love of vibrant, real-time conversations on social can quickly turn sour if they are unable to unplug at regular intervals. Without relief, the constant pressure can cause community managers to burn out. This means that achieving a healthy work-life balance is all the more important for community managers.

Here, I’ll explain helpful steps community managers can take in approaching their tasks, schedules, and management processes to achieve life goals as well as career goals.

How Community Managers Can Achieve Work-Life Balance in 10 Steps

10 steps community managers can take to achieve work-life balance:

  1. Know what you’re getting into.
    When you’re interviewing for a job in community management, ask about expectations for responsiveness on social. This can be a tricky issue to approach, because you want to emphasize your enthusiasm for the position and strong work ethic, while making sure you’re not agreeing to a situation that could severely harm your work-life balance.

    Most businesses will not expect community managers to stare at their social feeds every minute of the day, but you can avoid the places that might by clarifying expectations ahead of time. Emphasize your willingness to be a team player and work extra hours as needed, while asking how they currently handle social media and what their average response time is, as well as how they’d like to see both change. These questions will give you greater insight into the company’s vision for the role.

  2. Set expectations early on.
    When interviewing for a community management position, ask if there are additional people who are able to cover social media if you go on vacation. Emphasize that you would want to make sure the company has a solid support system in place so their progress on social is not lost if you are out of the office for a day. Have a specific plan in mind in case they ask you for ideas.
  3. Get tools that work for you.
    There are a lot of great social media management tools out there that can help make community management easier and less time consuming. Hootsuite and Sprout Social are great for managing multiple social accounts, while many people prefer Buffer’s easy-to-use interface for scheduling messages. Here’s a list of marketing tools to help you find the best one for your brand.
  4. Every little gain in efficiency counts.
    When it comes to the numerous posts, messages, and conversations you’ll keep track of as a community manager, you soon learn that every little gain in efficiency counts. Making one part of one task simpler and faster to do quickly saves you a lot of time — especially when you’re repeating that same task throughout the day. Selecting great social media management tools will be a big help with this.

    For example, one of the reasons I’m a fan of Sprout Social is because it allows you to schedule the same social media message on many different dates over the course of several months. This capability helps you to quickly and easily fix mistakes and stay responsive to what works for your brand on social. Instead of tracking down a bunch of separate scheduled messages, you can go to a single, main message and edit its content to change all of its scheduled iterations at once. That’s a lot of time saved.

  5. Plan out blocks of time to respond to messages.
    Frequently scan your social inbox for urgent messages, but wait to answer everything else during pre-planned blocks of time. You may have to experiment with this to see what works best for you and your brand.

    Here’s a tip: If you take public transportation, plan one of your blocks of time for answering social messages during your commute to work. It will help you get a jump on things in the morning.

  6. Phone apps. Use them.
    Many social media platforms and tools have phone apps. Download these apps on your phone so you can monitor your brand’s social channels and respond to messages no matter where you are. You can get a lot done while waiting in line at Starbucks!
  7. Make checking social media a habit, rather than a task.
    Treat little things, like checking for messages on social media, as a habit, like brushing your teeth. If you turn community management into part of your daily routine, it will feel less cumbersome. Just make sure to take care of these tasks quickly — don’t allow yourself to get distracted by other things going on in the social media world.
  8. It takes a global team to manage global social accounts.
    If you’re a community manager at a global brand that expects immediate responses 24/7, make sure there are people from offices in appropriate time zones who are taking shifts to cover your brand’s social channels after your business hours.
  9. Take your weekends back.
    Most community managers are expected to be responsive on social during the weekends, but it shouldn’t be every weekend. Lean on your team to help cover you on the weekends you’re traveling or when you just need a break. It’s reasonable to ask for this help and to not be expected to work every weekend. Good teammates will be happy to help out. If you’re at a global brand, you may be able to find offices with a Sunday to Thursday work week, or work hours that overlap with your weekend, who can help cover social media on a more regular basis.
  10. Address odd hours if they become your regular hours.
    If you end up working very late or very early for more than a couple of days every week, it may be time to ask your manager for help. Specifically, you can ask them about hiring additional social media managers, or, if your resources are more limited, how your brand might slim down its social activities. If your extra hours are just a matter of timing, your manager may also be willing to give you more flexible hours so you can continue to participate in late or early activities on social while still reserving time to do things outside of work.

Have more work-life balance tips community managers could benefit from? Tweet them to me!