Zen and The Art of Social Media

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Avoiding burnout from business in general is something I've talked about before, but social media burnout is something that is becoming more common and is a different topic. Here are some sentiments I've been seeing on Twitter recently:

"Taking a break from social media."
"Overwhelmed with Twitter or Facebook."
"Burning out on social media. There are just too many blogs!"
"Cup of coffee and 1287 unread posts in Google Reader! Gotta get through them all!"

Since social media isn't a fad and is becoming more critical for businesses to engage in, here are some tips on staying engaged without becoming overwhelmed:

1. Treat Social Media As Part Of Your Workflow.
Make time in your work schedule for writing blog posts, reading and updating Twitter, reading blogs, etc. If you are on a creative roll, write extra posts and save them in Evernote to use later on. (Confession: this post was written months ago, and facing a case of blogger's block, I pulled it out to edit now.)

2. Become Besties With "Mark All As Read"
Create a "must-read" folder in Google Reader with a reasonable number of blogs (I keep mine around five not including client blogs).  These are the ones I will read in their entirety.  As for the rest of the blogs in my reader, I unapologetically skim. Learn to let go.

3. Know Your Purpose
If your blog's business model is dependent on being the first to "break" a story or hot new trend, then you probably should stay up on what everyone else is blogging about.  For most non-professional bloggers however (and most wedding vendors fall into this category), you don't have to worry about that because you are generally writing from your perspective and every day hands-on experiences in the industry.  If I post something that's been covered by 30 other wedding blogs, I generally don't worry about it because my reader base is different than theirs and most of my posts are written from my point of view, so they're naturally going to be different anyway.

4. Follow Who You Can
Don't feel guilty if you can't follow everyone who follows you. Each person is different and it is better to authentically communicate with fewer people than to pretend to follow those whose updates you never read but filter out through Tweetdeck.

5. Automate
Write your blog posts in advance and schedule them to update automatically at pre-set times. Set up an account with Twitterfeed so that a note that you have a new blog post feeds into Twitter automatically. Schedule things with Twitter to update automatically at certain times (note: this should only be done for announcements, never for real time events - for example, you should not schedule a twitter update for Friday at 6 pm that says you are baking cookies with your daughter, however a note about an upcoming holiday open house is perfect for pre-scheduling). 

6. File
For blog posts I really like and want to reference later (either for a quote or to illustrate a point in a future article I write), I click the "email this" in Google reader and email the post to my Evernote account.  I then enter tags into the email so that I can easily find it later offline. 

How do you avoid social media burnout?

Originally published December 2009

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