By Luke Pickering
I wouldn’t say that it is too far of a stretch to say that many of us are in some way addicted to social media. It makes up a large part of our day for most of us, it’s the first thing we do when we wake up and is quite often the last thing we do before we go to sleep. With the average user spending 144 minutes a day on social media, it takes up a larger chunk of our day than many of us would be happy to admit. Despite all of that we still love social media, but unfortunately, there is a dark side to it that needs to be acknowledged. The rising amount of bullying on social is disgraceful, the anonymity has allowed “trolls” to harass, abuse and dox people across the internet. And with it being mental health awareness week this week we think it’s time you make time for yourselves and start thinking about how you can make your time at work better.
For those of you that are working as social media managers and have to look after a business’ account. You are going to find yourself on the receiving end of everything from customer complaints, racist and sexist comments to, unfortunately, death threats. And for many of you, you aren’t able to walk away from the account like you can if it is your personal social media, instead you have to grin and bear the harassment. There is no doubting that this job has an impact on your mental wellbeing, so it’s important to not only look after your mental health for workplace productivity but actually protecting your sanity and overall health and wellbeing.
For most of us, we went into social media marketing because it is something that we enjoy and are passionate about. Unlike many jobs, it gives you a chance to be creative and create relationships with your audience. With more and more people getting in touch with a brand or a business on social media due to the immediacy it’s meant that these accounts are getting more and more attention and therefore making your job busier. We all know sometimes when you’re busy it is hard to stop and appreciate the position that you’re in and what you actually enjoy, the feeling of a tweet taking off and resonating with people online is a brilliant feeling. But at the same time, it can be so difficult for a marketer to actually disconnect from their job at the end of the day. If someone is angry at the brand but you’re having to deal with it, it can very often feel like it is being aimed at you.
Something else that often causes marketers a lot of stress is the thought of having to be “always-on”. While you may only work from 9-5 Monday to Friday, the notifications on social media can come at any time. While you want to provide your customers with the best service possible you do sometimes have to put yourself and your wellbeing first.
You can’t control how the users on the receiving end are going to react but you can control how you respond to certain situations that you may be put in. For example, do you have a plan in place for dealing with trolls or abusive language? Do you have someone you can pass a situation onto if you need to step away? When your work starts to overwhelm you it’s important that you take that deep breath and pause for a few seconds. There are a number of things you can do to help how you’re feeling, whether it’s a quick walk around the block or some meditation exercises, it’s important to find what works for you. We’ve put together some coping mechanisms for you, so try them out and see which ones can help you:
A good way of alleviating the stress of your job is having a system in place for when you get messages from trolls, for example only replying once and that’s the end of the conversation. Or if someone is harassing or threatening you then identifying a manager who is able to step in and support you when this happens.
There are a number of social media safety tools the platforms have released so that you don’t have to deal with these kinds of messages. So using the likes of Instagram’s Manual Content Filter or Twitter’s Advanced Muting Options to filter out abusive or harmful content. These are great ways of avoiding the messages in the first place but if someone is persisting to attack you don’t be afraid to block accounts.
Seriously! Shut your laptop, close down your phone and walk away from your desk. At times the work can become overwhelming and it is no good for you or the business so take that bit of time. Take an uninterrupted 20-minute walk and some light stretching, it is going to alleviate the tension help you clear your mind.
It’s important to remember that you are still a human and you are not the brand.
Sometimes a lot of the stress that is put on social marketers actually comes from colleagues and managers and their perceived expectations. When a team member who doesn’t directly work with social media requests something such as asking for a “viral” tweet it can put a lot of unnecessary stress for the individual. Likewise asking a social marketer to do all aspects, content creation, ideation, reporting and customer service it’s a lot. More than likely you’re just going to burn out incredibly quickly and it’s no good for your mental welfare. In order to combat this from happening it’s important that you educate the other teams on your strategy and what is and isn’t feasible for social media.
This is such a simple but important one. You’re going to see the best and the worst of people come out on social media so it’s healthy for you to take your time away, put your phone on do not disturb. It’s so important that you put yourself first! Take time for your mental, physical and emotional health.