I’ve been hearing from many friends and colleagues that they are experiencing burnout from social media including both marketers whose careers are now built on social media marketing consulting and people whose lives feel invaded by the never-ending roar of online content. The overwhelm we’re feeling is real, brought on by the latest marketing trends by companies and organizations looking to get people’s attention. There is a limit to how much information we each can produce, let alone consume.
In my previous post, “5 Easy Steps for Planning Your Content,” I shared several techniques for social media content planning. I included a few tips for avoiding the social media churn and burnout that tends to happen with an ever-increasing demand to publish more and more content online in order to be seen and heard.
There is too much noise online now to make a steady, far-reaching impact with your message.
We need to rethink what we are doing as communicators and as consumers in terms of how we’re using social media to make connections. We need to stop thinking about big numbers of Likes, Comments and Shares and think more about productive interactions with others that lead to stronger relationships. We’re too fixated on instant gratification and empty actions that we’ve lost track of what really matters in our online exchanges: Thoughtful Attention.
If we can give someone our Thoughtful Attention and come to know them, we tend to notice their communications more readily and even look forward to them or seek them out.
Every company and organization out there wants your Thoughtful Attention, because with that attention, you absorb their messages and if they resonate with you, you tend to share them or even act on them.
But when we’re bombarded with too many trivial messages from others, we tend to block them out either figuratively by skimming past their latest post or literally by blocking them from our view or unfollowing them. To be heard more, you don’t need to say more if you don’t really have anything important to say. Posting less and getting stronger reactions and definitive interactions from fewer people will be more effective in the long run.
Here’s how to recalibrate your approach to using social media for communications and connections:
1. Pare It Down.
Focus on fewer online platforms where you’ll promote yourself and make what you share there amazing and heartfelt. Own a space where you reach the most attentive audience and can make the biggest impact. Use your other social network accounts as drivers to the main place where you are most comfortable communicating. You can still follow “social media best practices” without bombarding a multitude of social networks with meaningless messaging.
2. Dial It In.
Pick no more than a handful of core messages that you want to communicate with others. Don’t add to the noise just to insert your voice into the chaos. Anchor your online communications with more thoughtfully crafted content that conveys ideas and information important to you and that may be important to others.
3. Shine a Spotlight.
Give kudos to others. Curate from trusted sources, and share great content they are sharing with your own audience. You don’t always have to produce your own content to be of service to others. Create value by cut through the noise online to find the gems of genuinely good content from others. Organize that content and be a resource.
4. Listen and Learn.
Pay attention to what others are saying. Practice Thoughtful Attention. Read, watch or listen then respond by taking your time and giving your responses greater consideration. Learn from the interactions you have with others online to continue to make better, deeper connections. Don’t rely on giving empty Likes all day long without pausing to say more.
Pair this post with my post about techniques for planning your online content more deliberately, and you have a better recipe for making deeper connections with your social media contacts and followers. In the long run, real connections – even if with fewer people – will be more productive and rewarding for everyone involved.
What are you doing to make better connections online?