Mel Ripp has managed social media accounts for companies and nonprofit organizations of all sizes for 14 years. And she’s had a lot of time to think about the effect social media has on her mental health.
“Especially in the past two years, it’s been tough,” said Mel, owner of Peapod Marketing & PR Consulting. “How do we continue to do this work we love, and keep our mental health at the forefront at the same time?”
She shared practical self-care strategies for social media pros at the April Social Media Breakfast online event. Because it’s difficult to separate your personal from professional life on social media, having a plan to unplug is key when it’s your job to be online.
View the event replay on the SMBMad Facebook page. Here are some top takeaways:
Shift your perspective
Remind yourself that what people share on social media is a highlight reel. Few share their struggles and challenges, even though everyone goes through personal and professional strife.
“Around the beginning of the pandemic I started to check-in with myself and ask if I was doing this for me or for social media or the ‘gram,” she said about the content she was posting. “It helped me pause and reflect on whether what I was posting was making me feel good.”
Feeling guilty about what or when you post is not productive. “No one is owed a window into your life,” she said.
Recognize burnout, establish boundaries and take breaks
Learn to spot burnout warnings. They include having an unmanageable workload, lack of leadership support and little to no work-life balance or blend.
Avoid burnout by setting digital and physical boundaries. You don’t have to be online all day, every day. Mel uses the Pomodoro timer to set time limits on tasks such as answering comments. You can also block times in your day for social tasks and keep a comment log to have customizable answers ready for comments back to customers.
Establishing physical boundaries that work for you can make a big difference.
“Make a list of all the places that you consume social media and work to physically remove a few,” she advised. “Any time you can remove social media from your personal situation you’ll be amazed at how you don’t think about it.”
Take breaks after tough tasks, like answering an angry comment. Some quick break ideas: Take lunch away from your desk, enjoy a two-song break, grab a cup of coffee, watch a short and fun video, and breathe for 10 minutes using a medication app.
Audit your feeds
Going though your social accounts and weeding out people and brands you no longer wish to follow takes time. But, it’s still a great tool to cut down on the noise.
“We as people change over time,” explained Mel. “Ask if you’re currently interested in what the person or brand is sharing.”
You can tackle your list in small bites with Mel’s Rule of 10. Look at the first 10 posts on any of your social accounts. Ask yourself if the post contains content that gives you an uneasy, uncertain or uncomfortable feeling? Is the post overwhelming or is the person or brand oversharing? Are you interested in the content? Listen to the cues to unfriend, unfollow or mute.
Remember the good
You got into social media work for a reason. It’s still a way to connect with people, create great content for brands that you believe in and tell meaningful stories.
When you have a rough day, look back at your accomplishments. Create a social wins file with screenshots of posts that performed well or comments that give you pride. Connect with colleagues on the Social Media Masterminds group or Sprout Social’s Social Marketers Exchange.
Wisconsin Youth Company supports children, working families, and the community. The organization provides after school, before school and summer camps in both Dane and Waukesha counties, and operates the Elver Park Neighborhood Center and Theresa Terrace Neighborhood Center. It’s hosting its first Thrive in Stride fun run/walk on May 21 at Orchid Heights Park in the Pheasant Branch Conservancy. Find Wisconsin Youth Company online at wisconsinyouthcompany.org or connect on: Facebook: WisconsinYouthCompany, Instagram: @wiyouthco, Twitter: @wiyouthco, TikTok: @wiyouthco or LinkedIn: wisconsin-youth-company.