On Weekends in the Land of Social Media Management
Personal vs. Professional Boundaries: 3 Tips to Handle Social Media Marketing on Weekends
In this world of new media, social never stops. For all my social community managers out there, weekends no longer mean “having the day off” and holidays (including the big ones, like Christmas...and Black Friday) are riddled with post notifications and comments that require response in real time. Our digital age has changed the working landscape. There is no more 9 to 5; there’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks per year. People need content both posted AND created on the weekends, which may inhibit spontaneous brunches with friends who demand that your iphone not be present. Chanakauh and New Year’s Day is one part family, one part laptop.
Has anyone experienced this? Put a hand up if you hear me.
Content is constant at all hours of the day, every day. Fun fact: I receive texts from a client asking business questions at 3 a.m., and frequently wake up to texts before 7AM from clients who have content “a-ha!” moments with their morning cappuccino. Why? Because I have an iphone, and my clients are savvy enough to know that a text will get right in front of me before an email would. In an era of hyper communication, where does the professional boundary end and the personal boundary begin?
For anyone of you working in social media marketing like me, you know exactly what I’m talking about. We are expected to be by our email, phone, and text feed all of the time. If we don’t respond to a message within 60 seconds, our contacts on the other end may internalize that we are potentially “ghosting” them. We lose credibility, and are considered “bad communicators.” Whether you’re a freelance contractor, or a full time employee, response rate is crucial stuff. Sometimes clients or co-workers forget that we are humans, too.
If any of you are suffering from a lack of establishing digital boundaries, read on. In fact, most entrepreneurs who are embarking on the adventure of owning a digital business frequently don’t have digital boundaries in place (myself included, at first). That’s why we have put together 3 tips to help create a sacred digital outreach free space for yourself --and your sanity-- effectively and professionally.
List Office Hours
If you’re offering services, or a freelance contractor, one way to combat weekend social media stress is to indicate “office” hours on your website. You know that holistic doctor you have that only allows you to visit their office from 9am-5pm, two days a week? It’s sort of like that. By listing office hours on your website, you set parameters for clients. If you put on your site that you only work Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., you’re letting potential emailers and texters know you will only respond only during those hours. Make sure your clients know and understand when and when you do not work. Odds are you will get a client that will text you continuously at 5 a.m. every Saturday morning, but if you keep firm to your rules, he will get to learn your schedule and respect your hours.
Set Emails to Vacation Mode on Weekends
We’ve all gotten those “I’ll be in Mexico with limited access to email” auto-emails before, especially when you have a corporate job and are taking those two weeks of paid vacation time. But have you ever thought about using your own vacation email for the weekend? Brilliant idea. If you put an away message on your outgoing emails, clients will be reminded of your office hours and will do this great thing: respect your days off. A simple, “Please be reminded that I am off office email through the weekend. I will respond to all messages promptly on Monday at 10AM. I will have limited email access and will be slow to respond until that time” will work. At first, while you detox from your digital anxiety, you will be checking your email every two minutes, but your away message will set that boundary. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you must set that boundary. You also have the ability to pick and choose which emails you need to respond to, and designate which ones are urgent and which can wait until Monday. Try your best to wait to answer all requests on Monday.
Pre-schedule! Pre-schedule! Pre-schedule!
Long live tools like Buffer, Hootsuite and Sprout Social. Pre-scheduling social media software can save time and brainpower any day of the week (especially when you implement batching: more on that later). But for weekends, they can be heaven-sent. In fact, weekends can be spent entirely on social media….but for your recreation, not for your to-do list. Weekends are a great time to discover new products on Instagram and catch news articles on Twitter. This is where the pre-scheduling comes in. Take the time on Friday to write posts for Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, and schedule them for optimum times on the weekends. (Optimum times vary per platform, so you may want to do some homework on Iconosquare or through Instagram analytics.) Pre-scheduling does the work for you on the weekends, which means precious time for you to catch that yoga class and get a korean body scrub (Sorry, but Instagram only posts in real time-- but you can schedule a post notification on Buffer or Hootsuite which only means 10 seconds of work to import the content and press “post”). Also, do remember that news still happens on the weekends as well. If something outrageous or significant happens Saturday morning, you may want to switch up your posts to be timely and relevant.
Now that you have opened up some time, reserve your nights and weekends for creativity. Let your analytical mind rest, and awaken the artistic side of your brain. We’re not going to lie to you and tell you your weekend is going to be work free (because, when you own a business, it’s not), but putting these 3 tips into play will bring you peace. On weekends, focus your time on design, creative projects, and your OWN content and blog. When your email is a little more silent, your phone a little less text-y, you have more space to put yourself at the top of your To Do List.
What are some ways you unplug from digital content on the weekends? Tells us in the comments!