147 minutes per day. That’s the average daily social media usage of internet users worldwide. It might not look like a lot, but that’s over one month of non-stop social media usage per year.
That number is significantly higher for social media managers, which inevitably makes the threat of social media burnout all too real. Being present on social media is a vital aspect of a social media manager’s job, which requires them to be constantly active without taking breaks like regular users.
Managing a company’s social media platforms can be stressful, and we want you to know you’re not alone in feeling this way. To help, we’ve put together an article with practical steps to combat social media burnout. Taking care of yourself is essential, and we’re here to support you however we can.
What is social media burnout?
The World Health Organization defines burnout as an “occupational phenomenon resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
For social media managers, managing a social media presence can be overwhelming. Balancing responsibilities and lacking help can take a toll on their well-being. Intense interactions can lead to burnout and stress, making it a challenging experience for many.
Symptoms of social media burnout
Experiencing burnout can be a unique experience for everyone, and it may show up in various ways.
The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health identifies three dimensions of burnout. These are:
- Emotional exhaustion
- Cynicism or depersonalization
- Reduced personal achievement.
For social media managers, these dimensions might manifest in the following ways:
- Feelings of mental and physical exhaustion
- Difficulty in adapting to the work environment due to insufficient emotional energy
- Feeling disengaged from work
- Indifference and unconcern toward work
- Interpersonal avoidance toward clients
- Feelings of cynicism toward one’s work
- Reduced performance
- A sense of inefficacy
So if you are tired, disengaged, or fail to find enjoyment in a previously enjoyable role, you are at a high risk of burnout.
Causes of social media burnout as a social media manager
What causes social media burnout, particularly in social media managers?
Let’s consider some of the most common reasons.
Social media addiction
A Journal of Current Psychology study discovered a link between social media addiction and burnout. Furthermore, the study reveals that the more time you spend on social media, the more likely you’ll experience burnout.
As with other addictions, social media addiction isn’t easy to break. The bad news is that if you continue using social media, even when you’re burnout, stress and negative feelings will build.
In their role, social media managers are almost always on social media, making it seem impossible to unplug. It’s no surprise, therefore, that loads of social media managers feel burnt out.
Workplace conditions also play a part in causing social media burnout.
It’s a common misconception that a social media manager’s job only entails posting funny, brilliant Tweets or attractive Instagram posts. Tell social media managers that their job is “oh so easy” or “so cool,” and they’d glower at you in irritation.
A lot goes into each Tweet, reel, or post, with each one demanding critical and creative thinking, planning, and collaboration with different teams. They also have to juggle several other responsibilities. There have been horror stories where the social media manager doubles as the visual editor, graphic designer, strategist, community manager, data analyst, copywriter, and spokesperson for the company.
As if that isn’t bad enough, the frequent changes to social media platforms can be a pain, with managers barely understanding the new rules and algorithm before something else replaces it a week later.
First coined in 1992 and about medical workers whose overexposure to trauma can lead to health problems for workers, compassion fatigue is now used to refer to the feeling of becoming so overwhelmed by negative news that a sort of psychic numbing happens.
Social media is a significant driver of the news cycle, so social media managers are working in a landmine of global tragedies and social issues. It’s often part of their job to interact with the influx of news daily, and this frequent 24/7 interaction can lead to compassion fatigue.
Other causes of social media burnout include:
- Lack of support in the workplace
- Negative feedback and complaints
Given all these causes, how can social media managers handle stress and prevent burnout? The following section answers this.
7 ways to prevent social media burnout as a social media manager
Do you struggle with keeping your work out of your personal life? Have you ever opened your phone to “quickly check out something” only to find yourself reemerging 1 hour later? Then you might be at risk of burnout. One way to prevent social media burnout is by setting boundaries. This means taking drastic steps like keeping work email and accounts off personal devices and switching off social media notifications outside work hours. If you manage a team, you can contribute to their mental well-being by enforcing rules like communicating only during work hours.
Create a response playbook
Social media managers are often in charge of engaging with customers that reach out to the brand on social media. But unfortunately, a barrage of negative feedback and complaints can overwhelm even the sturdiest people. And it’s only normal to feel anxious when dealing with “flaming” social media interactions and the scrutiny accompanying them.
Well, social media managers can avoid some of this stress by creating a response playbook. First, list some of the most common reasons why people might interact on social media and develop examples of reasonable responses. Although that might seem like a lot of work, AI, like ChatGPT, can help you craft editable responses that resonate with your audience. This way, you’ll have something to do immediately without having to stress yourself developing a new response every time.
Ask for support
Social media managers often have to take on several roles, and social media teams usually need more staff. This is why social media managers should ask for help and support — even before they need it. So, ask for support from your manager. Talk to them about going on vacation and getting someone else to cover for you. You could make things easier for yourself by setting up work channels on Slack or Teams where colleagues can share articles, photos, etc., which can help you source content more quickly.
Moderate your feed
Although you cannot control what people post on social media, you can control what you see on your feed. Mindfully using social media can reduce the risk of burnout. So, don’t feel bad if you have to unfollow or mute some people if their content makes you feel negative emotions. On the other hand, fill your feed with accounts that make you feel good and align with your values.
Build connections with other departments
If your employer has different departments like the customer service team, marketing, or design, then it’ll help to build connections with them. This way, you don’t have to, for example, create your own assets when you can ask the design team to help you or deal with curious customers on your own when you can easily communicate with the customer service team to get answers quickly.
This way, you don’t have to do all the work alone.
Enjoy leisure time
Many of us feel pressured to ensure every second counts, and this “always-on” productivity mode can creep into leisure time. Take control of your leisure time by putting distance between you and your phone. As social media managers, your brain automatically sees your phone or computer as “work,” so leave your phone aside when you want to unwind.
Talk to your employer
If you still find it hard to relieve stress, despite trying different things, then the best thing might be to talk to your employer. Employers that care can help you manage work-related stress by setting you up with professional help and adjusting your work schedule to alleviate your stress. They can also provide you with tools that make manual tasks more manageable. For example, you could talk to them about automating some of the processes used at work. Some tools, like Planable, can help you plan, approve, and schedule social media activities, which can take a lot of stress away from your work.
And don’t forget to recharge
Feeling exhausted from the constant demands of social media is a shared experience. It can have a significant impact on your well-being. But taking time to care for yourself is possible and should be non-negotiable.