Burnout is a serious issue for social media managers. It’s a demanding, high-profile job; you’re acting as the voice and public image for a brand, or several, depending on whether you’re in-house or an agency.
Most people use social media to tune out from work. Or find things, connect with people, and share interests. For most people, social media is an escape. A place where they can see the life they want to live, get inspiration from others, and generally check out from the stresses of their daily lives.
However, for social media managers, it’s an always-on role, with 24/7 input and pings from followers and customers. Plus, you’ve got to think creatively, think on your feet, and be responsive and friendly while hitting targets and reporting to senior managers and stakeholders.
It’s exhausting, and unless social media managers watch for the signs of burnout, you might find yourself too run down to perform well or function outside of work.
Are social media managers affected by burnout?
Yes, burnout in the industry is real, as most social media managers know it all too well. According to a Frontiers in Public Health 2020 study, burnout is a “long-term response to continuous emotional and interpersonal stress at work.”
Burnout is especially common in high-stress, high-performing roles where people juggle many tasks. That sums up a social media managers role, with many juggling:
- Coming up with ideas for long-term and reactive content;
- Creating content (Tweets, Instagram posts, Facebook, TikTok, etc.);
- Taking pictures and editing them to be published;
- Acting as part of the front line for complaints and customer service questions;
- Engaging with customers online across numerous channels as the voice of a brand (or several);
- Hitting key performance targets and other data-driven metrics while, in most cases, single-handedly creating, publishing, scheduling, and being responsive!
Most social media managers are a team of one. Or they work with others in a marketing team or agency, but most of the day-to-day tasks fall to one person. When the pressure is constantly on your back, it’s difficult to maintain your mental health and sense of balance in your work.
Hence burnout is widespread in the industry.
Why should agencies, clients, and businesses worry about social media burnout?
Managers, agencies, and businesses with in-house marketing teams need to worry about burnout in social media roles because finding skilled and experienced talent is hard work.
According to the Sprout Social Index™, over 50% of marketers “say finding experienced talent is their number one challenge this year.”
If you can’t retain or recruit the needed talent, your brand (or clients) will suffer on social media. When brands falter on social media, they lose followers; when that happens, revenue and profits can also take a hit. One major mistake from a worn-out social media manager can have a lasting effect that’s hard to bounce back from.
Looking after your social media managers is crucial. Mental health in the workplace has never been more important. However, it’s not enough to task your social media managers to post about mental health for days and weeks if they’re burnt out and feeling unsupported at work. At the same time, there are several things social media managers can do to prevent burnout, as we cover in more detail below.
How can social media managers combat burnout: 5 strategies and tools you can implement today
#1: Communicate goals and weekly/daily tasks to stakeholders
Social media teams are small and often mighty. But social media managers can’t do everything. In addition, clients or people outside of marketing teams can often underestimate the time it takes to do something, especially if a senior manager has an idea they want to implement quickly.
Sometimes, you might need to say no or not yet to ensure you can manage your current workload. Saying no (or not yet) is a form of self-care and useful for avoiding burnout.
Social media managers should be encouraged to talk about feelings of burnout or if they’re struggling with their mental health. Businesses and marketing teams need to make this a priority.
#2: Ask for support
Be proactive about asking for help and support.
Make sure you can talk to managers and other team members. Or, if your internal support is limited, leverage the power of social media ⏤ via your personal and professional channels ⏤ to get help and support from other social media professionals and the wider community.
Some social media managers are feeling the same way. Support one another. Get tips and advice, join communities, and benefit from people helping others.
Meet up in person, if possible; we don’t have to live and work in a digital bubble.
#3: Take digital detoxes
Trying to be always on is overwhelming and leads to burnout.
Have separate devices for work or clients whenever possible, so it doesn’t feel like you’re at work every time you pick your phone up.
Or set the apps you work on for clients to mute after work hours and on weekends, especially when you’re on vacation. Working 24/7 or feeling stuck in the same apps every hour of every day will harm your mental health.
It could easily cause burnout or at least cause you to resent the work and want to do something else.
#4: Leverage a suite of tools to maximize productivity while keeping burnout risks low
Social media managers have the advantage of operating in a tech-centric sector. As a result, there are apps for everything, from scheduling to editing to content creation.
Use as many of these apps as possible to make your job and life easier. Automate anything you can.
Images can make or break a brand’s image online, especially when your brand or client sells physical products. Fortunately, some apps make product staging easier for social media and eCommerce managers.
Your brand’s look and feel are also essential to any go-to-market strategies, and social media managers invariably play a role in that.
Being in an always-on role can have a serious impact on your concentration. You probably switch from phones to laptops to tablets and about a dozen tabs every hour. If that’s the case, and you find it’s knocking your creativity, take a moment to review one of these 10 apps to help improve your concentration. A focus app could make the difference between burnout or smashing it!
#5: On your personal channels, stick to feel-good content
Think about what you see on your personal social media feeds.
Do you want to be looking at competitors or inspiration posts all the time?
Balance is key if you want to avoid burnout. Curate your personal feeds wisely, so you don’t see the same content on your non-work apps. Otherwise, there won’t be any gas left in the creative tank when you need the creativity to flow.
So, for your personal channels and devices, make sure your content is feel-good and sufficiently different from what you’re scrolling during the average working day.
And there we go, the five ways to avoid burnout as a busy social media manager:
- Communicate goals and weekly/daily tasks to stakeholders
- Ask for support
- Take digital detoxes
- Leverage a suite of tools to maximize productivity while keeping burnout risks low
- On your personal channels, stick to feel-good content