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Burnt. The occupational hazard of Social Media Burnout and 9 hacks to avoid it.


A social media manager tired from burnout.


In August 2023, a former National Basketball Association (NBA) social media manager posted on X from the NBA’s account.



A former NBA social media manager’s post on X.

The manager could tweet because he still could access the NBA’s account. When he could no longer take it, he went ballistic on the iconic basketball brand from its own X handle. While his rampage might ring true with many of you, it sent shockwaves across industries, especially because the NBA has a separate team of social media experts. The load is expected to be lesser for large enterprises.


But his one tweet went viral, thus tarnishing the brand’s image as an employer.


The constant pings announcing the arrival of new followers. A skipped heartbeat when the traffic dips during peak hours. Or sleepless nights if a customer leaves a rude comment on your brand’s social media account.


That’s a typical day in the life of a social media manager. No wonder you often suffer from social media burnout. It is a syndrome recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).


Let’s see what it means.


What is social media burnout? 

WHO defines it as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”


Social media burnout has four main symptoms:

1. Lower energy or exhaustion.

2. Losing interest in work or harboring negative feelings towards one’s job.

3. Reduced professional efficiency.

4. Cynicism.


However, this does not allow you to buy over-the-counter medication because WHO does not recognize social media burnout as a disease or a medical condition.


To prevent it, you need to know its causes. Let’s see what causes social media burnout.


What causes social media burnout?

1. Social omnipresence

Managing a brand’s online presence 24x7 across all platforms can be taxing. Daily posts to keep the audience engaged, your ranking intact, staying updated on dynamic social media trends, and addressing the negative comments that need an urgent nip-it-in-the-bud response after working hours add to burnout.

 

2. Never-ending tasks

Posting content like videos or podcasts daily and their making and editing can be very demanding. Your job continues even after you post and as the audience begins to react.

 

3. Financial limitations

Budgetary constraints often force brands to recruit less than necessary or offer unattractive salaries. This is usually a reason behind overworked social media managers.


Wondering how you can prevent reaching the tipping point? Start by detecting it early.

Here’s how you can do that.


5 signs of social media burnout

1. You feel tired but cannot sleep. This involves physical exhaustion triggered by long working hours and the inability to switch off due to constant notifications. And yet, you suffer from insomnia or disturbed sleep.


2. You feel uninterested in most tasks. You feel bored at work and uninterested in tasks that once used to drive you.

For example, the post on X by an Entertainment Weekly staff speaks volumes about losing interest in one’s job.



An example of how social media burnout can lower your interest in your work.

 

3. You suffer from FOMO. “How many likes did the post get?”

“Is there a new comment on the video yet?”

Such thoughts running in your head after working hours signal burnout.


4. You feel emotionally drained. This includes frustration, irritation, and being overwhelmed. If you feel pessimistic and hopeless most of the time, you could be suffering from burnout.


5. You cannot concentrate well. It is the inability to focus or pay attention to anything happening around you, what others are saying, or what you are doing now. It indicates exhaustion.


Not every social media manager suffers from burnout. While an occupational hazard, it can be prevented.

Here’s what you can do to avoid social media burnout.


9 hacks to avoid social media burnout

1. Take regular breaks. Even if your breaks are brief and scattered. Time off could mean a 10-minute break or a week-long vacation; take your pick. See what suits you and helps you avoid falling into the pit. Avoid gadgets as much as you can while on a break.


2. Learn to say no. When you are too invested in your job, it becomes difficult to say no to additional responsibilities or when people call for an update. Or, you could be saying yes to avoid disappointing the other person. Avoid saying yes when it can upset your schedule, hog into your time off, or lead to burnout.

 

3. Set priorities and communicate them. Set social media marketing priorities, convey them to the team and your bosses, and revisit the strategy regularly. This helps set expectations right for everyone. It also prompts you to know what and how much to do and when.

 

4. Prepare a social media calendar and stick to it. Priorities can help you distinguish tasks into mission critical, essential, or can wait categories. This also includes blocking the schedule to create new content, responding to the audience, and indulging in analytics.

 

You can also create an idea bank to prompt you when needed or create content in advance and schedule the post for when the time is right.

 

5. Cultivate hobbies for non-working hours. Have something to look forward to at the end of the day or over the weekend. Read a book, go swimming or sparring, or simply volunteer for a cause you believe in.

 

6. Seek support if needed. Know that you are not alone in feeling a burn. Speak to someone on your team, a senior or a professional, or reach out to other social media managers for support.

 

7. Set a response protocol. Juggling responses to post comments is part of your job. If the fear of sending a wrong or rude message to a comment received at 3 am can give you sleepless nights, you should set a response protocol.

 

These are templatized responses to common comments. Have one ready to shoot in case of need to save time.

 

8. Don’t create, curate. Curating means compiling the content best suited to your audience’s taste. It is content you post online that you haven’t developed yourself. It is easier to compile than designing a complete post, is less exhausting, and works as well as content creation.

 

A few examples of curated content are photos, blog posts, news items, client testimonials, or an engaging social media post from another user that would grab your audience’s attention. Below is an example of a curated post.

 



An example of content curated, not created, from existing content.

 

9. Do something that helps you keep going. When you feel exhausted, but the work demands your urgent attention, do something that enables you to concentrate and stay the course.

 

For example, you could work from your favorite spot at home or take a ten-minute power nap before jumping back in. Here’s some advice from a fellow social media manager.

 


Suggestions from a fellow social media manager on managing burnout.

 

Social media is hard work.

They say you must go offline at times to pull your life back on track. Acknowledge your job responsibilities, identify the triggers of burnout, and take steps to avoid them.

 

 

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