Have you conversed on Facebook, tweeted your favorite articles, and checked into Foursquare yet today? What about pinned an image on Pinterest, bought or sold stock on Empire Avenue, and done whatever it is people are doing on Google+ nowadays? I won’t even ask about the number of blogs you’ve read or mobile apps you’ve used. Just thinking about these tasks can cause some to become overwhelmed—they experience “social media overload.”
New social networks and tools are introduced every day, which means new challenges and questions for marketing professionals, social media strategists, and average people looking to brand themselves online. Which platforms should I use? When should I use them? There are only 24 hours in a day, how do I find the time to manage all my networks?!
I’ll admit, there’ve been times I felt like I was stretched pretty thin trying to keep up with various obligatory social tasks. Thankfully, I no longer feel that way (most of the time). Here are a few of the steps I took that really helped manage the social media overload.
Which tasks are the most essential? Determining your priorities is crucial in managing your time online. When you are faced with a giant list of tasks that need to be done, invest your time and energy first where it will make the most impact, and later return to do tasks that aren’t as much of a priority. For me, responding to Facebook and blog comments ranks above tweeting my favorite articles, so I do those first.
If you always have hundreds of unread blog stories in your feed reader or you skip over a certain user’s updates on a routine basis, it’s time to get picky. There is such a thing as subscribing to too many things. After all, what is the point of following or subscribing to people if you never ever read what they are saying? I’ve cut down on the number of blogs I subscribe to, and it has helped a lot. There’s also something cathartic about trimming those lists, have fun!
Applications like TweetDeck and HootSuite can do many things to help you save time and feel less overwhelmed. It is easy to save searches for terms, see direct messages and mentions from Twitter at a glance, and collect information from multiple platforms so you can read it in one place. Signing up for one of these tools (I recommend HootSuite) will save you time in the long run.
We all have lives, right? This means we aren’t online all the time. Using a tool to schedule your updates means you can plan what to say and let the tool publish it for you at a specified time. HootSuite, TweetDeck and Buffer are all great scheduling applications to use.
If you have to take a break from the Internet for a few days to interact with real humans (which I promise won’t kill you), know that it will still be there when you get back. On the Internet, everything is archived. If you feel like catching up after being gone for a while, all it takes is visiting a few RSS feeds or scrolling down some Timelines. Then, jump back in right where you left off.
Part of the fun of social media can be trying different things and sorting through the chaos to find something you truly enjoy. If that chaos ever gets to be too much to handle, I hope these tips will help with your case of “social media overload.”
Have you ever felt like you were spreading yourself too thin with social media? If you have other ways of managing overload let me know in the comments below.