Small business owners tend to find social media useful as a way to stay in touch with their customer base. Social media engagement, however, often leads to stress. Many business owners take care of their social media on their own and tend to feel inadequate, or not fully capable in that capacity. Managing social media alongside of all the other responsibilities that go with running a business often causes business owners to experience stress and panic; predominantly caused by the fact they know it is something that (desperately) needs to be done, but the beforementioned issue around capability plus and the lack of time, is a genuine deterrent.

This is often coupled with the fact that many owners would prefer to outsource this aspect of their business, but unfortunately many have  been ‘burnt’ by ‘so – called marketing’ companies, and the thought of going through the process of finding and explaining your business’s needs to them, is often more ‘painful’ than simply) trying) to do it oneself. The compromise is often to find a staff member and get them to do some of the social media work, like doing the posts.

Often the outcomes of the time and work spent on social media is not reflected though good outcomes (likes, clicks, comments etc) and this causes additional anxiety for business owners – including a loss of confidence in the ‘whole social media thing’ (as it is often described). When, for example they find it hard to increase their follower count, they often take it as a sign that people are not interested in the products they offer. This often leads to disenchantment which causes (particularly small businesses) to either retreat or becomes obsessive with marketing activity to try to get the metrics up.

If the idea of getting ready for your next social media post fills you with dread and if you feel anxiety, rather than focus and engagement, it’s important to pay attention to these feelings – it should serve as a ‘warning’ that this aspect of your business, or responsibilities, needs to be examined. What do you do if you find yourself in this situation? Trying the five steps detailed below may help.

Take a break

When you feel overwhelmed, it is not a bad idea to step away from your social media commitments for a while. Doing this does not usually mean the end of your business, or its social media relationships. Social media is not the only way to connect with your customer base. There are other marketing and sales ways of connecting, and they can be creative, your business to your customers. People want to connect with your business for the good product and services it produces, and social media is not the only manner available to you, and them. It is also important to not overly ‘obsess’ over your social media following. As for the ones who leave, where they a good  fit for your company, anyway?

Pick and choose the right social media platforms

If you manage your social media on your own, it is important to understand that it is exceedingly difficult to successfully juggle numerous social media accounts simultaneously. It makes sense to pick one/two social media channel that your customer base prefers, and to focus on making meaningful connections through it. It also has the additional advantage of allowing you to become very good at the social media you are doing, since you are focusing on being good at one or two things only. This knowledge will come to you over time, but you need to keep at it. In time, as you improve, you are likely to notice good customer engagement, as well as a drop in your anxiety around the social media process.

Choose quality over quantity

You do not need to post once every three hours (!) to get the social media algorithms to recognise you, or because you believe your customers or followers are waiting/expect these post. Setting yourself up to post many times a day can bring pressure, and lead to a loss of quality, as well. It makes sense to only post when you have something of interest to say. It is much more meaningful to have a small network of truly committed followers who stay with you even if it means waiting a while for your thoughts, articles or information about your products. The benefit of a (smaller) committed followers is that they tend to be less prone to social media negativity.

Be who you really are

It is far better to be on the correct platforms that represent who you and your company are, including your services and products, that pretending to offer something that is not a true reflection of your business or persona.  Social media presents you with a wide range of opportunities. You do not need to be on anyone’s bandwagon in order to succeed. You and your business can be who you are, and still gain a meaningful following with which to grow your business. Going back to the heading of this article, if your social media engagement has a negative effect on your (mental) health or is a bigger distraction than it needs to be, you need to examine the process and come up with a better or smarter way of engaging with your social media – after all, it’s here to stay.