Whether you’re an agency that handles social media accounts for multiple clients, a one-person agency that handles just a few clients, or a solo manager in charge of your company’s social accounts, there’s one truth that applies across the board: social media marketing, in all of it’s beautiful, wonderful glory, is a sprawling, hot mess.

That’s probably not something you’ll hear a lot of from the gurus out there who make their living telling you how you must be everywhere at once and how vitally important social is to your business. And I’m not here to contradict any of them, either. It is vitally important to your business, and you do need to be active on every platform that you can, as long as it makes sense from a demographic and target audience point of view.

Before we go on, take a good look at the infographic above that shows the various aspects and networks involved in the social media marketing world. When I say take a good look, what I really mean is glance over it quickly, because staring too long could have the same effect as the sun and literally burn your eyes out of your skull. Overwhelming, right?

Guess what? That was from three years ago, and it didn’t even have Pinterest included. Scary.

You don’t have to lose your mind doing your job though. (although it’s perfectly acceptable to lose your mind otherwise, as long as it doesn’t affect your job performance.) According to a study from last year, 65 percent of people working social media accounts have a laundry list of other responsibilities at their company, so they’re only doing it part-time. Forty-two percent of those who do it full time are a department unto themselves.

That is a great excuse for ordering one of those white jackets where the arms tie together in the back and taking a vacation in a white rubber room where the door locks from the outside. But it doesn’t have to be.

Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

You have to schedule your posts. You just have to. If you don’t, posting will devour your life and your soul. Trying to stay on a schedule throughout each day of multiple posts, curated posts, replies to comments and so forth every few hours is a burden you don’t need and you don’t have to deal with.

Consolidating all of that spread-out time into a single weekly session will keep you sane. Pick a day and block off whatever amount of time you need, then gather and compose your posts for the week and schedule them with social media management software. Then take a deep breath and relax for a few minutes, feeling secure in the fact that your mental acuity is safe for at least another seven days. Then maybe grab a pint and celebrate.

Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize

As I said, if you have a good business reason to be on a network, you should be there. However, unless you are blessed to have equal and overwhelming throngs of rabid followers and fans from every network on the web, you can prioritize your networks in order to give the right amount of attention to each. Social media manager Mike Allton of the Social Media Hat suggests a three-tier system for prioritizing.

Tier One is where you have the most engagement from your target audience.

Tier Two is the networks where there is a level of engagement, but not so much as to bump into Tier One status. You’ll get some reaction and possibly some shares, so you maintain a presence there without hanging out so much.

Tier Three are the networks where, for all intents and purposes, you are a ghost that doesn’t exist. No one likes you or cares about you…except Google. And that’s why you stay there, because search is an important part of your strategy. Or at least it should be. Not including it would be insane.

Centralize, Centralize, Centralize

Maybe I could have picked a better word there, but you get the idea I hope. Logging out of one network and into another constantly will lead to a one-way trip to loopyville. You must use a social media dashboard to remain sane. And if you’ll think back to that extremely frightening infographic above, the more you can do from one location the better.

That means cross posting to every network. URL shorteners built in. Graphics tools built in. Blog posting, web monitoring, social listening, analytics, reporting, replying. There’s too much to do to have to worry about using a zillion different tools to accomplish it all. Which is why Sendible is so great. It does all of these things and much more from a single dashboard. And it will help keep you sane.

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