Thu, June 30 2011

Three ways to keep your sanity when it comes to social media

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Social Media •

When I was a foreign correspondent, I lived in constant fear that I was missing important news.  I’d be awake at night wondering if there were a business deal or political controversy or factory strike that I didn’t know about.  Someone else would have the scoop.  With a whole country to cover, I was sure to be unaware of something.  So I always worried and never, ever relaxed.  The only time I exhaled was at the foreign correspondent’s club when all my competitors were at the bar and I knew that even if something was happening, nothing was being reported.  At least we were all in the dark together.

When I quit wire service reporting, I remember feeling relief that those days were over.

Well, now they’re back.  And I don’t even work as a journalist anymore.

This is the dark side of social media:  it’s on all the time, and if you’re checked out you’re bound to be missing something: a critical Tweet about your organization, a burning question on your blog post, a news development development you need to understand.  Just like with reporting, responding slowly on social media has its hazards.  I’m on vacation this week, but I’m still online because the old reporter in me knows switching it all off has its costs. 

So what is a person with work-life balance to do?  Here’s my advice. 

1. Choose to do a few things well, rather than many things poorly.  If you don’t have a lot of time, pick one or two social media presences and dedicate yourself to being a good listener, conversationalist and content producer in that space.  I focus my energy on blogging and Twitter. 

2. Make it a priority to be responsive in those spaces.  Establishing an online presence and then ignoring it is foolish.  If you fail to provide great content, it’s like building a digital ghost town that makes you look irrelevant - or dead.  if you neglect to actively listen, it’s like going up to someone at a party, telling them about yourself, then walking away when that person begins to talk.  You have to commit more of yourself than that.  If you can’t sustain a conversation on social media, don’t start one.

3. Pass out the slingshots.  I was on a panel with Joe Trippi last night, and he talked about empowering your champions to spread your message and do your work.  He said it’s like handing out slingshots to an army of Davids.  You don’t have to carry the burden of conversation alone like some Goliath social media guru.  That doesn’t work well anyway.  The more your supporters take over your engagement, the more effective your message—and the saner your life.

On that theme, any volunteers to guest post this week?  smile

  • Comment: (8)   


I so agree. So frustrating to find a wonderful nonprofit on Facebook, comment on their page about how great they are and then never hear from them. Or hear from them a week later. This is NOT snail mail. I just wrote a blog post about this called, “If you’re gonna “do” social media, then do it!” I think we are not alone in these thoughts because it got a lot of traffic. I am going to include a link to your post in my weekly newsletter. You said it so well. I LOVE the analogy of a ghost town. And getting volunteers to help is also a great idea. Nonprofits are just so afraid of losing control. But you want folks talking about your organization. So empower them to do so. Thanks for this great post.

Posted by Heidi Massey  on  06/30  at  08:14 PM

Hi Katya,

Great post as always. I read your blog everyday and I learn something each time. I’d love to volunteer to guest post to help your readers learn how great customer service can dramatically boost sales and donations, but my book is not completed yet. Perhaps once it is finished I can write a guest post. The book is for non-profits and for profits to help them stop doing what drives people away, and start doing what delights donors/customers. Like you recently said, service stinks, and I agree. Thank you. Kirt

Posted by Kirt Manecke  on  07/01  at  02:18 AM

Thanks, Kirt.  I can’t wait for your book! When it’s done let me know and we can post all about it here.

Posted by Katya Andresen  on  07/01  at  01:58 PM

Hi Katya, You are welcome. Thank you. I will let you know when my book is done. Thank you again. Have a nice Fourth!

Posted by Kirt Manecke  on  07/01  at  02:13 PM

This is sound advice – homing in on a couple of social outlets allows you to be much more comprehensive in the information you provide your audiences. It’s always important to make sure you don’t spread yourself too thin – thanks for this reminder.

Posted by Event360  on  07/01  at  04:36 PM

If a non profit brand has an existing audience, that has regular contact (staff, website visitors, donors, congregation) what is the % of all of these audience that will actively engage with a new social media presence i(f the new presence is promoted heavily) over the period of the first month.Reputation Management Services

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/06  at  10:31 AM

I for one know how annoying it is for your emails and posts to go unanswered. I once asked a pretty well known association for some contact details involving an online marketing project I was doing. Guess what? They answered a month later telling me it would be great to collaborate, but leaving out the information I had requested.. For goodness sake, they should have someone check their mail on a regular basis, not twice a year!

Posted by Restaurant  on  07/06  at  01:16 PM

Totally! I quote you all the time. BTW, I love your blog because it’s succinct. It’s not a tome.

Posted by Ruth Portnoy  on  07/06  at  01:25 PM

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