Managing Social Media: Using Social Media With Sanity
Zip is a beginning blogger with a tiny blog just taking his first steps into the blogosphere. We mused on the subject of how many social media accounts one should have in the last post. Right now, he’s taking a (very) casual approach to social media. But what happens when you’re making a serious effort to promote a blog? Or even have several blogs and that many more accounts?. Juggling all those accounts can take a toll on your resources: both time resources and mental health resources. It helps to have some strategies for managing social media while staying sane.
Here are my two cents worth about managing social media without becoming an angry person and deleting all your accounts. I’m sure sloths don’t have that problem. However, I find that I start getting more irritable when spending too much time on social media. I’ll be talking more about platform-specific strategies more in the next post.
1Managing social media by focusing on a few channels:
As Zip blogs forth, he might find that he particularly likes a specific social media channel. Or that one, in particular, brings traffic to his blog. He might keep his presence on the other networks for which he has an account. But he might decide to put most of his social media time and attention on what’s working for him.
2Make sure that you control the input:
If that “Twitter bell”1 is driving you nuts during the day and you’re constantly distracted, consider doing one or more of the following:
- Turn off notifications on your phone. Yep, this isn’t a recipe for constant engagement. You might miss having the first comment on the latest post or delay responding to comments on your post. But you’ll also be free of constant notifications on your phone diverting your attention from the task at hand.
- Set aside a “social media time” during the day. If you aren’t required to be on social media all day as part of your job, set a schedule. Decide how much time you want (or need) to spend, on social media on a daily and weekly basis. Then set aside specific times in the day or week to check your accounts, post, and respond. Stick to it and avoid getting sucked into the vortex.
- Use RSS feeds. I felt a loss way back when Google shut down Reader, their RSS tool. Fortunately, there’s Feedly, which I’ve been using to aggregate news sources and blogs that I genuinely want to read. Feedly interacts seamlessly with both Buffer and Hootsuite. This feature makes it easy to reshare items you find particularly inspiring, funny, or interesting. And it doesn’t Tweet me relentlessly all day — I can settle down and read the things when I want!
- Customize your notifications. Find out, for each platform, what types of ways you can control what you receive. Let’s say you have that aunt that constantly reposts false stuff on Facebook. You’ve found it’s unproductive trying to “educate” her. But she’s a relative and you don’t want to unfriend her. You can choose not to see her posts in your feed. You can set up Twitter to customize your notifications.
Plenty of tools like Buffer, SmarterQueue, Meet Edgar, Hootsuite, or the “Publicize” feature in Jetpack exist 2. These will post your latest content directly to your social media accounts. Most will let you share other content and post to your accounts on a schedule.
If you add a tool to your browser and an app to your phone, you can add that interesting article to your queue to share rather than forgetting to do it later.
But be careful with this! Make sure that things are posting the way you want them to post before you trust auto posters.
I set up and forgot about a “post to social media” in Mailchimp once. Then I found that, instead of only posting when there was an RSS-feed-generated email newsletter, it was posting empty content EVERY WEEK.
And just posting your own content isn’t truly a successful strategy for social media. It might work for certain types of accounts, and it’s what I’m mostly doing on this blog currently. Interacting regularly, sharing other people’s content, liking things, thanking others is the best way to go vs. only automatically posting your stuff. But it takes time.
Stuff happens. That stuff can make your scheduled post suddenly seem out of touch or insensitive. All of the posts in your queue are about things like kaiten sushi restaurants, travel, and upcoming mass gatherings. Then a pandemic hits, closing restaurants and canceling events. Time to hit the “pause queue” button! All of the social media management apps and services that I mentioned previously have such a button. Don’t forget about that pause button if a major event changes how the tone of that tweet will be perceived!
4Managing Social Media by Keeping Things in Perspective
Comparison to others is the most-cited way that social media can make us unhappy. In the last post, I touched on this downside to social media. People put their best foot forward and it’s easy to start seeing your life as lacking in comparison.
This can also happen with counting numbers. Zip’s blog will likely benefit from having many followers. However, if he starts counting numbers, he might start feeling like he just can’t measure up.
It will do him well to remember that:
- His friends and competition sloth bloggers have likely been on social media much longer than he has and has had time to amass a following.
- If nobody is responding to his posts, it could be the posts themselves, but it could also be that nobody has seen them, either because of some algorithm or because he doesn’t have many followers.
- The same friends and bloggers we mentioned above who have tons of followers have that large following because they are constantly engaging on social media, thinking up funny and engaging stuff to post, and sharing other people’s content. Instead of hanging out in a tree and napping.
- If he wants to see this in a mean or negative way, he can tell himself that:
- Those poor creatures, constantly tweeting, are not experiencing life. This may not actually be true, but if it helps…
- He can imagine that they bought their large following. Also likely not true but, again, if it helps.
- He can do something inspired by something I recall reading in Anne Lamott’s wonderful book Bird by Bird. Something about imagining turning negative voices into mice, putting them in a jar. Then slowly closing the lid, drowning out all their squeaking little voices. While she wasn’t talking about social media, something about it made this pop into my mind. Of course, as I mentioned before, there are notification controls in Twitter.
5Don’t be tempted to buy followers as a shortcut!
Since we mentioned buying followers, let’s talk about NOT doing that!
I’ve received too many emails over the years (though not many recently) with someone offering a certain number of followers for a specific price. NO! Just…NO! This just seems shady and any followers you get that way aren’t going to be engaged in your blog.
Once, I was offered some tickets for an upcoming local event to do a giveaway. I see doing giveaways as being different than buying followers. The people who signed up were already looking at my website for some reason so had at least some connection or interest. I would encourage Zip to do a giveaway at some point. They can be fun to do.
OK, now that we’ve talked a bit about managing social media, Zip is ready to sign up for some social accounts! Even after hearing all this! In the next post, we’ll go over some of the major platforms he might want to consider– and some minor ones, too.
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- I mentioned this in the previous post — my husband, it seems, thinks the response to getting Twitter notifications is akin to the response of Pavlov’s dogs.
- Whether to use Jetpack or not is a subject unto itself that we’ll come to later, in another post.
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