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  • Writer's pictureJean Dion

3 tips for off-the-clock social media managers

We all know social media conversations don't stop, even when the sun goes down and the poor social media manager wants to take a break. If you're hired to help manage a vibrant community, you could be tempted to stay on the site all day long. You could think it's just part of doing the job well.

Here's the thing.

Effective social media managers have healthy, happy, vibrant lives that extend past our screens. We're out in our communities, looking at the world around us. That inspires us to create better content. And, the replenishment we experience makes us more compassionate with our social fans (which can be snarky, unfortunately).

So how do you make it happen? I have three tools.

On My Computer: Self-Control

Full confession: I freaking love this Apple app. It sits on your computer, independent of the browser, and it blocks your access to the sites you specify for a time period you input.

If I'm not scheduled to manage a client's account (and I'm not authorized to bill for extra hours), I turn on this tool. I block my access to all social accounts, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I don't have to resist the temptation to check back, as the sites simply won't load.

If you find that you can't get your writing done because you're falling down the social rabbit hole, I highly recommend this tool. It's a deadline lifesaver.

On My Phone: App Deletions

I'm cheating a bit by calling this a tool. More accurately, this tip involves the absence of tools. If I'm not scheduled to host a Facebook live or a similar app-only event, I delete the programs from my phone.

This is an ideal situation for me, as my computer is in a workspace that isn't connected to my house. If I'm desperate to check social, I have to walk outside and unlock my workroom to make it happen. That's typically enough deterrent to keep me away from following through.

Removing apps from your phone also helps cut back on the itch to scroll during idle moments out. While waiting in line, I can't check a client's accounts (or my own).

Instead, I've been reading up on industry news, chatting with the people around me, or (gasp) doing nothing at all. You should try it!

On My Phone: Screen Time

When Apple released this program, I was skeptical. I understand that developers think we just don't know how much time we spend on our phones, and if we did, we'd cut back. I thought I had it all figured out. But my first report was pretty eye-opening.

I've set my downtime to start at 10 p.m. and end at 6 a.m. most weekdays. On the weekends, I don't give myself any open moments at all.

Of course, you can override controls with a quick swipe, and it's really easy to do that. But I make myself count to 20 before I swipe away. Often, I only get to about 5 before I put the phone down.

Why Does This Matter?

As social media managers, we want people to spend time with our content and check back often. That's how we gauge success.

But we're also aware of how the technology works and the damage it can do. If we're not good stewards of our own use, how can we hope to help anyone else?


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