We are often extolling the virtues of particular social-networking platforms or encouraging specific strategies to reach out to your audience(s) across these platforms. When moving through the ‘tubes’ of our social networks, it is easy to think that each post we prepare is the most important one ever and that if we don’t get to each post on our nonprofit’s wall we’ll be upsetting a potential volunteer or donor.
The fact is, you won’t upset anyone: followers of social networks can feel just as overwhelmed as the producers of content on social media. What can you do to unwind, and what might happen when you do?
First of all: take comfort in the fact that you are not alone, and there is a name for your occasional malaise. The term used since 2004 is “social networking fatigue.” The Techopedia site defines the social quality of the fatigue:
The earliest adopters of social media reported fatigue and the amount of time they spent on social media sites had declined. This decline may cause a negative chain reaction in social media because when users reduce the amount of time they spend online, this leaves existing users with fewer people to chat and interact with, which may lead them to spend less time on social media as well.
But what to do about it?
Rachel Strella has a convenient five-point plan to get started: “Don’t Try To Be Everywhere … Work Smart … Plan Ahead … Play To Your Strengths … Unplug When You Can”. Consider them all as you map out your charity’s activities for the spring, but we were especially struck by a couple of them.
Plan ahead. Sounds easy, and often this blogger does manage to do it. But sometimes other duties in the office take precedent and before I know it the list of 5-6 stories I had lined up are all written and the window to prep the next story is draped over by research and fact-checking. Creativity is the first casualty of haste, and the sense of fatigue to get that piece of time-sensitive information out engulfs not only the rest of the day but I find it creeps back into my shoulders when I start the next story. How much happier we war when we have a list!
Play to your strengths. We who work with clients on their communications and outreach tend to see the next great thing in every little development. But what particular tools are best for your organization − and for your audience? Rachel offers a fine practical example: If you like talking, send out your updates on short YouTube videos. If you prefer pithy notes, concentrate on Twitter. You’ll be doing what you are most comfortable doing, leaving energy for the planning and creative sides of things. Besides, with a few minutes spent linking accounts, your work on one will be disseminated on other platforms automatically anyway.
And yes, unplug when you can. If you can plan ahead and play to your strengths, you are likely giving good content. Your followers appreciate that content, which is why they are following your organization. They’ll be there after you’ve taken a little break − they’ll be glad to have one themselves.