Social Media Burnout and How to Avoid it

Social Media Burnout

Over the last few months, there has been a pretty consistent theme arising with my consultancy and mentoring clients – social media burnout. It sparked something in me because I think I have been feeling quite similar myself lately.

So, what is social media burnout?

According to Sprinklr (2024) social media burnout is a condition or syndrome where individuals experience emotional and mental exhaustion due to the prolonged use of social media platforms. 

How do you know you have it? 

Oh, you know….you definitely know! But in case there’s any doubt, here is what you’re most likely feeling:

  • Overwhelmed, drained or completely disconnected from social media activities.
  • Scrolling through feeds without any real interest or joy.
  • Feelings of fatigues, irritability and unproductivity.
Social Media Burnout

These symptoms can often stem from the very nature of social media platforms, which are designed to provide instant gratification through continuous dopamine hits to the brain.  When we become used to these hits, the shine tends to start to wear off (sounds familiar, right?)

Our social media experience can start to feel bland and unrewarding, making us feel increasingly disenchanted with our once-loved social platforms.

But why does social media burnout happen and what can we do prevent it?
CONSTANTLY CHANGING SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS

The need to stay up to date with the hundreds of annual updates across the different social media platforms is EXHAUSTING.  And, just when you think you’re there, something changes again….aggggggghhhh.  

And what is it with the constantly changing algorithms? I mean, it’s not broke, just leave it!  This need to constantly adapt content to suit whatever that day’s requirement for visibility and engagement is, is like trying to empty a sinking boat with a teaspoon…it’s hard, right?

Prevention tips: 
  • Conduct regular audits of your social media accounts and website analytics. 
  • Know what works and what doesn’t.  You should see patterns of what’s working best for you in terms of types of posts, timing, days, etc. 
  • Don’t waste your time trying to be everywhere.  Pick 2-4 platforms that work for you and just stick to those.  
  • Create a realistic strategy for posting – 1 to 2 posts a week is perfectly fine for most small businesses, and don’t be afraid to recycle previous posts.  
  • Mostly, don’t put yourself under pressure – social media should be (at least a little bit) enjoyable!!
EXPOSURE TO NEGATIVITY

Social media is very personal, especially when it’s your business.  By building your brand and making yourself visible, you expose yourself to the unfiltered opinions of others.  These can take the form of negative comments, harsh feedback or, in the worst cases, cyber-bullying. 

There’s also the negativity that can be felt when nobody says anything…quite literally.  You post something, and not one person responds or engages.  It can feel like a slap in the face, and it’s hard not to take that personally sometimes.  Because, if we’re honest, deep down we all have a need for validation and social media can be brutal.

There’s also another form of negativity that impacts us through social media too.  It’s what often feels like the constant stream of bad and disturbing news and images.  Especially right now, when we’re living in a word that seems to be tethering at the brink of humanity. 

It can be hard to digest, and very often, just too much.  I think this has been a huge factor in many people turning their backs on social media, that feeling of over-whelm.

Prevention Tips: 
  • Set your boudaries– why are you on social media and what do you want to get from it? 
  • Don’t do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, even if your competitors are doing it (live stories tend to pop-up for most people here!).  
  • Make sure your privacy/security settings are set to what suits you. 
  • Turn off notifications if you need a break. 
  • Have a strategy in place to deal with any negative reviews – this will help you to keep your cool and respond professionally if it does happen. 
  • Don’t be afraid to block people if they deserve it!!
FEAR OF MISSING OUT (THAT’S FOMO TO YOU COOL KIDS)

This refers to the anxiety that arises from the feeling that others are experiencing more fulfilling lives/business journeys than us. It’s a phenomenon that is exacerbated by the constant stream of updates and news shared on social media platforms, most of which is generally very positive. 

It’s easy sometimes to feel like our competitors are nailing it, while we’re sitting around looking at the hammer.  But it’s important to remember that social media reflects a ‘highlights reel’ and is generally edited to be a positive reflection on the person/business. 

Very often, it does not reflect reality. But even if it does, so what. Don’t compare yourself to others and don’t begrudge them their wins.

Prevention Tips:
  • Stay in your own lane (a good friend of mine gave me this advice lately, and it rings through in all areas of life).  Let everyone do what they need to do.  You do you.

And put down the hammer…

Karen Twomey MA BSc works as a freelance Digital Marketing Consultant, Trainer & Mentor. For more information see www.communicationshub.ie
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