If you are feeling overwhelmed or find yourself pulling back from social media, you could be experiencing social media fatigue. Social media fatigue happens when you are simply done with social media. You have no desire to friend, tweet or follow anymore.
Most of us have probably suffered from social media fatigue at one point or another, and on a personal level, it’s much easier to take a social media break.
- Unplug from social media for a few days – or weeks.
- Take an unplug from the world vacation once per year (no cell phone or Internet service).
- Spend time every day outside, whether it’s a walk during lunch, or playing with your kids. It’s been proven that being outdoors has a positive effect on our emotional state, which helps us also decompress from life (and social media).
If you only maintain personal accounts, you can just stop, but for many of us that run a small business, it’s much harder to walk away from social media when you need a break.
How do you take a social media break when you have a business to run?
For most small businesses, social media can play a key element in your marketing efforts. It creates awareness for your company and keeps you top-of-mind with your audience and potential clients. Most importantly, it generates traffic to your website where they can learn more about you.
Keep in mind that you can take a break from social media and not have it be a detriment to your business. You take a vacation from work, right? You can take a break from this, too, and if you are feeling the heavy effects of social media fatigue, that’s my first recommendation. Take a break for a week or two.
Once you are back, here are some ways to approach social media differently so you can limit social media fatigue in the future.
1. Ask, “Am I adding value to someone’s life?” Social media does not need more noise! If you don’t have anything to share or say, don’t. Instead, approach social media in a purposeful manner by asking, “How does this post/tweet/photo enhance someone’s life?” Will they feel inspired? Will they learn something new? By approaching social media in this fashion, not only will it help you limit social media burnout (because you are doing less), it will also go a long way toward earning respect and growing your influence.
2. Avoid useless chatter. Along with the above point, make it a point to pull back from useless chatter. A good example of this is #WhiskeyWednesday on LinkedIn or Follow Friday (#FF) on Twitter. When you are suffering from social media fatigue, give yourself some grace and don’t go through the motions for the sake of doing so. I can guarantee that these little participation “games” on social media aren’t necessary to the growth of your business.
3. Huddle up with real people. While social media is great for networking with people from all across the country, sometimes the best cure for social media fatigue is to have a real conversation. Prior to COVID-19, we were able to invite a colleague for coffee or lunch. Now with social distancing in place, this is much harder to accomplish. That’s the downside. But the upside is that we’ve adapted to picking up the phone, Zooming or Facetime-ing to have a real conversation. Seek out one of your business associates or vendors whom you’ve not spoken to in a while and see if they’re up for a chat. You can create a real connection this way, and it can be one of the best ways to get over the social media doldrums.
4. Re-evaluate the platforms you participate. This often a huge culprit of social media burnout – trying to manage too many platforms. If you are suffering from social media fatigue, make a concerted effort to scale it back. How? Look at the platforms in which you participate: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Houzz, TikTok, Google My Business … and others. Are there a few that aren’t producing results? Are there a few you don’t enjoy? Those are the ones where you should scale back or perhaps even discontinue completely. Meanwhile, pick no more than three that net the most ROI and focus on those.
5. Get help. If you find that social media is simply too much – or something you don’t have a desire to do for your business – it may be time to get help.
Hire an internal social media person. This person can be an administrative assistant that has an interest in taking over some of the social media responsibilities.
Hire an outside social media manager. They specialize in building brands online using social media, and they will work with you on a temporary or long-term basis to give you the help you need.
6. Utilize social media tools. Sometimes fatigue is caused by inefficiency in doing the task. There are many social media management tools available to help small businesses better manage their online presence. Two of the better-known tools include Buffer and Hootsuite, and I use Publer (affiliate link). When you write and schedule your posts a week at a time, you gain an entirely new level of efficiency with social media. You spend less time per day finding new content to share, and more time engaging on social media, which is the heart of the task.
*NOTE: This post, originally published in October 2014 was updated in April 2021.