A version of this post originally appeared on GigaOm’s Web Worker Daily.
Social Media Marketing creates changes and demands on our time and attention and can contribute to our frustration or feelings of overwhelm and burnout. Even with the benefits of the connectivity to people and information and the unparalleled access and reach we’re experiencing through our use of social media, the drawbacks can chip away at our work and how we live our lives.
Here are some of the challenges of social media and some practical ways to address them.
1. Managing Your Profile and Reputation
Over the last 20 years, we’ve all learned some tough lessons about what it means to be digital. So many networks, so little time. If you’re like me, you feel like you have multiple personalities: being professional on LinkedIn, sharing on Twitter, being personal on my Facebook Timeline but more formal on my Facebook Page. And then there is All-Seeing Google and the chance that something we posted online before we knew better is still there and someone Googling our name before interviewing us for a job inevitably finds it.
- Google yourself and evaluate what you’ve posted – or what has been posted about you – and address anything you want to change and that can change. Dig deeply into the search results to find the hidden gems. If something is egregious and you don’t have editing controls, you could try sending a polite request for someone to modify or remove it. Don’t pull out the big legal guns unless you’re prepared to spend the money on the battle.
- Reduce the number of networks you use. You don’t have to be everywhere. Pick the social networks you use based on your goals, the audience whom you’re trying to reach and what you’re trying to get them to do.
- Create a “universal” profile to help clear up the clutter. About.me lets you display an attractive, social-media integrated single-page profile. Here’s my About.me Page as an example.
2. Privacy Issues and Protecting Your Identity
Are you feeling nervous about what personal identifying data is floating out there in the ether about you? You may not even realize how complicit you’ve been in releasing your most intimate information, from emailing your credit card information because it was quick and easy to uploading a photo with a geotag that reveals the exact location of your home.
- Be smarter about what you reveal and how and when you reveal it.
- Set up a free Gmail or Outlook account and use it when filling out any web-based registration forms including signing up to social networks to keep your main email free from invasion. Go through your current accounts and replace your main email with this new secondary email.
- Opt out of automated features on social networks and take the time to manually configure your privacy settings to a more conservative setting including blocking cookies.
- Invest in a security software product that protects your privacy and eliminates sniffer apps you’ve accidentally downloaded to your computer.
3. Curating Information and Coping with Information Overload
Feeds, feeds, feeds … when will this onslaught of information ever end? We continue to open the floodgates to more and more information, desperately seeking tools to help us parse, filter, slice, dice, and otherwise funnel information into our already overloaded brains.
- Stop your addiction to data. Go cold turkey. Pare down and eliminate. You do not need to know everything, and trying is an effort in futility. Identify no more than a handful of Internet information sources that give you a solid cross-section of the information you need.
- Focus more on your interactions with others than the never-ending stream of information.
- Leverage tools that help you curate, sort and manage a more relevant information flow. Curate Twitter by setting up Twitter lists based around specific areas of interest to zero in on more important information. Use a curation tool such as Delicious or Scoop.it or Feedly.
4. Keeping Up With New Tech Developments
You’re human. You can’t keep up all the latest technology development or the myriad of continuous changes to the tech you’re already using. Every week, there is a new app or social network to explore. Every week, Facebook changes some feature seemingly without rhyme or reason. Every week is another opportunity to feel overwhelmed or left out of the loop.
- Trust the human curators whose job it is to be human filters of the news, updates, and information that interests you or that pertains to your work. Count what you’re consuming like you count calories: Try to stick to a handful of sources.
- Go back to #3 above for other ways to cope with information overload.
5. Organizing Your Digital Files and Data
Our digital ephemera is everywhere, and we are generating data more rapidly than ever before. Our files are hard to find much less organize. I’ve come to rely on my computer’s search function to find files because I can’t file them away in neat little folders fast enough any more. Online, I’m over reliant on Google to find anything – including content I’ve written – and browser bookmarks have become untenable.
- Use one or two tools that help you organize and archive your data. In addition to the ones mentioned above in #3, there is also Pearltrees, Pocket, Pinboard, Evernote, and even Pinterest.
- Develop the habit of using tools to better organize and archive your data. While fresh and flashy apps sound like a great solution, the real fix is to develop better habits putting links and content into well-managed, searchable databases. It takes work to get information under control.
6. Finding the Time to Deal with Social Media
Managing the information you gather takes time -a lot of time. In addition to the need for better data organization is the more recent demand that we manage the multitude of conversations and content in social media. We know we need to get a grip on the content we put out there and the content others are posting about us. The relief is right in front of us. Even as technology compounds the demands on our time, the right techtools can also relieve our pain.
- Use monitoring tools such as Google Alerts, Talkwalker Alerts, and Mention that alert you to critical messages. Not every message, post or tweet is important. Set up the tools that let you know when mission-critical conversations are happening.
- Use scheduling tools to your advantage to space out your posts and tweets and give yourself – and your followers – some breathing room. If you’ve read three articles in one sitting (I know, ambitious) that you’d like to share with others, use a tool such as Buffer to delay sharing the article until another designated time.
- See #3, #4, and #5 above.
If you are experiencing social media fatigue, step back, take a breath, and look for ways to pare down and simplify.
Narrow down your trusted sources of information. Resist the temptation to get caught up in data creation or consumption frenzy. Leverage technology tools that help you bring your social media under control.
What is causing your social media fatigue? How are you handling it?