A couple of months ago, I experienced a severe case of social media burnout. For many people, this would not necessarily be a problem, but this was a huge issue for me. Why, you ask? I am the Social Media Community Manager for two major brands, so it is my job to constantly be online and monitor what people are saying and doing in regards to these brands.

I felt the need to take action to combat my burnout, so I decided to deactivate my personal Facebook account for a week. Granted, I had to create a fake account, so I could do my job and not get fired, but I only monitored the brands from this account. I did not allow myself to have access to any other companies, friends, or colleagues.

I’ll admit the first couple of days were difficult. My inner communicator experienced anguish and I suffered through extreme cases of FOMO. Don’t tell Zuckerberg, but once I surpassed the initial hump, I actually really enjoyed not having Facebook in my life. I slept better, I felt less stressed, and in the words of Aldous Snow, I just carried on living my life.

After time expired on my weekly challenge, I begrudgingly reactivated my account because as a professional communicator, permanently deactivating my account just didn’t seem like the logical thing to do.

You don’t need to be a “professional” communicator for deactivation to not make sense. Social media has become such a prevalent part of society that not having a presence on the major platforms could be suicide for your business and/or personal brand.

With that in mind, I came up with reasonable ways to combat social media burnout:

1.       Evaluate why you feel burnt out

Take a step back and evaluate why you are feeling burnt out. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much time are you spending on social media per day? Per week? Per month?
  • Are you trying to do too much? Meaning, are you stretching yourself thin across all the various social media platforms?
  • Are you bored with the social outlets you are using?
  • Is your social media presence interfering with your offline life, i.e. REAL life?

Asking yourself these questions will help you get to the bottom of what is irking you and help you come up with a course of action to combat your social exhaustion.

2.       Draw the line

You need to set a balance for yourself and as with many things in life, just say ‘no’ to social media at certain times throughout your day. For instance, set “no social” zones or a “social curfew” for yourself. Leave your devices behind when you go to lunch or the gym and force yourself to power down at a certain time each night—allow yourself to have a social detox.

Jared Goralnick captured this point perfectly when he said, “Take quiet periods for yourself. Stop constantly checking emails. You lose four minutes every time you are interrupted—that’s two hours a day. Remember the difference between social media and real life.”

I mean this with all due respect:  You are not as important as you think. Trust me, this was a hard pill for me to swallow, but it is true. People are not going to notice or care if you are not tweeting or posting something every hour of the day or even every day– you are allowed to take a weekend for yourself every once in a while.

3.       Establish concise goals

Think about why you are using social media and what you hope to get out of your efforts. Set clear goals for your social engagement, so you post with purpose versus just throwing something at a wall and hoping it will stick. Are you using social networks to network, for branding purposes, awareness, sales, or to establish relationships?

If there’s a method to your madness, you are more likely to garner feedback from your followers, which will in turn help you feel satisfied with your social media efforts.  Results are likely to help alleviate feelings of burnout.

4.       Stretched thin?

Let’s be honest: There seems to be a new social media platform rolling out every time we turn around. The fact of the matter is that you and/or your business cannot keep up and posting lackadaisical posts across all platforms will hinder you more than it will help.

Focus on building your brand on a few platforms with quality posts. Not only will you regain your sanity, but you will also build credibility and a stronger brand voice.

5.       Bored with your platform of choice?

Boredom and the lack of a challenge contribute to feelings of burnout. Are you tired of promoting your brand in 140 characters or less? Research a new platform you have heard of, but have yet to try out or have been unable to devote your full attention to. If you need a little inspiration, Microsoft recently released so.cl, a new social network that is a hybrid of Pinterest and Facebook.

Once you find one of interest, give it a whirl—a breath of social media fresh air may be just what the doctor ordered.

Image via: truebluetitan (Creative Commons)