It seems like everywhere I turn these days, people are voicing their frustrations with social media. And who can blame them? Platforms that once seemed like golden opportunities for small creative businesses are now at the mercy of the algorithm.
And we’re quickly discovering that screen time is making us feel unhappy and disconnected, the opposite of its original promise. (Or maybe that’s just how I feel, especially after reading Digital Minimalism. But I suspect you might feel the same way, since you’re reading this post.)
Yet at the same time, it can feel like you NEED to maintain a presence on social media, especially if you’ve built up a significant following there.
So how do you cope with feelings of burnout on social media while still marketing your business? Here are a few things to try:
1. Go in with specific objectives.
Have you ever really thought about what you want out of your social media time? Is it to generate sales? Grow your email list? Handle customer service? Connect with your peers?
If you don’t know why you’re using social media, you’ll end up spinning your wheels, which will surely lead to burnout. Taking a few minutes to figure out exactly why you’re using it can help keep you focused and productive with your time on social media.
Once you know why you’re using social media, you should also identify key metrics to help you know if your time on social media is meeting those objectives. If your goal with social media is to generate sales, pay attention to your shop analytics to know exactly how many sales are coming from social media. If you use it to handle customer service, look at how many customer service requests you get on social media versus other methods of contact.
There are no right or wrong goals when it comes to social media, but if you’re experiencing burnout, then figuring out why you’re there in the first place is a great place to start. (And figuring out if you’re actually meeting those goals will tell you if a platform is worth your time in the long run.)
2. Focus on creation, not consumption.
A key rule of using social media as a business owner is to remember that any time that you’re consuming, you’re not creating. That means all those hours of scrolling social might let you pretend that you’re working, but you’re not creating anything of value for your business. (And you certainly aren’t getting paid.)
Instead, focus on creating content for social media, and look for ways to drastically cut the amount of time you spend consuming it. (One strategy is to use a scheduling tool to post to social media, so you aren’t confronted with a feed to scroll every time you go in to create a new post.)
Of course, if it’s the creation part social media that’s making you feel burned out, then you’ll need to look towards other strategies. (Like numbers 4 and 5.) But as a business owner, more of your time on social should be spent on creation than consumption, so if you need to opt out from creation to alleviate your burnout, you should also cut way down on your consumption too.
And focusing on creation doesn’t even have to mean creation FOR social media. You may have noticed I’ve been writing more here these days. That’s because I drastically cut the time I’m spending on Instagram, which is giving me more time to write here!
3. Set time limits.
Social media is literally designed to keep you scrolling, without any sense of time. That’s why, if you’re using social media (but trying to combat burnout) it’s important to set time limits on your usage.
Not only do apps like Instagram now let you set a timer to alert you when you’ve reached your daily allowance, but they also let you see how much time you’re spending on the platform overall. While it may not seem like much, spending a little over an hour a day on social media ads up to almost ten hours a week – practically a part time job!
Setting time limits (and sticking too them) can help you shift that time back to the real work of running your business or producing your art or craft!
4. Use platforms that leverage your efforts.
When it comes to the ways that social media platforms share your content, not all algorithms are created equal. The Facebook and Instagram algorithms have been intentionally tweaked to minimize the amount of people who see posts from small businesses. That means you have to work even harder on those platforms to make sure your content gets seen. (And it’s why I often refer to Instagram as the hungry beast.)
By comparison, the Pinterest algorithm is actually designed to make sure that the best content floats to the surface, regardless of where it comes from. And that same algorithm can keep great content relevant on Pinterest (and sending you traffic) for months or even years after the original post. (Which is why I’m so passionate about sharing my Pinterest strategies with others.)
Creating great content for social media takes time and using the most leveraged platforms will ensure you get the most mileage out of that content.
5. Give it up.
Businesses existed long before social media, and I can still think of successful companies that use little, if any, social media to promote their businesses. (Wondering how that’s possible? I recently shared 15 ways to market your business that aren’t Facebook or Instagram.)
Yet somehow, many creative business owners have adopted the belief that they have to market their businesses on social media in order to be successful. But the reality is, if social media is causing you stress and frustration in your business, AND you aren’t seeing the ROI from all the time and energy you’ve invested in it, the simplest fix might be to give it up entirely.
If that scares you, start by taking a break. Give yourself a month off from social media, and see what kind of impact that has on your revenue. You may realize that you don’t actually need it at all. Or perhaps you’ll find that all that extra time makes it easier to generate revenue in other ways.
At the very least, a month off will do wonders for addressing social media burnout in your business!