It started from my career as a community manager. You learn that in order to be as effective as possible, you need to be constantly tapped into to what’s happening and what people are saying about you. The Internet never goes dark. What if someone posts a major complaint, PR issue, or something else during dinner? What if a firestorm starts at 3am? What happens if you can’t get ahead of the issue because you were at a movie with your phone off?
When I started focusing more on strategy and less on community management, I discovered the depth of my phone addiction brought on by my years on the front lines. I couldn’t put my phone down for dinner without intense FOMO. I couldn’t—can’t—travel anywhere without a fully charged phone AND backup charger. My need to keep a finger on the pulse meant that I missed out on so many things right in front of me.
There’s constant pressure on community managers to be “on” round the clock. Even if the pressure doesn’t come directly from the boss, the very nature of the job makes it hard to take a step back and take a deep breath. However, that’s exactly what you need to do.
Here are five things to help prevent burnout for community managers:
- Get some help. If you have a community that is truly active around the clock (perhaps if your company operates in multiple time zones), you will need more than one community manager, or at the very least a moderator or two to help support your CM.
- If your customers are primarily active during specific times, make sure you are available at those hours. That may not be your standard work day, but if you can narrow down the times you absolutely must be available, it will help you make sure you’re as “on” as can be when they most need you.
- Post your availability right on your social media channels. “We respond to all customer concerns within 3 hours between the hours of 10am and 7pm. For all inquiries overnight, we will respond by the next morning.”
- …Obviously, make sure your boss/client is aligned to the above approach. Perhaps you can check in irregularly in the evening to look for major fires.
- Forgive yourself for being human. This is really key. Nobody can work around the clock. People need to eat, sleep, see friends and family. If you burn out, you’re no good to your company at all.
I’m taking it little steps at a time. I now eat dinner without a phone in my hand. I read books and newspapers on my daily commute instead of blogs. I have my phone out to take pictures at the playground instead of to check Twitter. I even went away for a romantic getaway with my husband last April and turned data off completely!
I’m not fully there yet, but now I’m plugged into things larger than the Internet, and my life is better off for it.
Looking for more tips on how to avoid burnout as a Community Manager? Watch the recording of our recent #CMGRHangout on Self-Care for Community Managers.
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