Managing digital overwhelm

Posted on 16 Mar 2016
Reader Question:

Doctor Digital, my business is drowning in a sea of likes, follows, updates, shares, blogs, hashtags tweets and groups. HELP!

Doctor Digital Says:

Digital overwhelm is that sinking feeling many small business owners know all too well when the day-to-day running of the business feels like it is doubled with the inclusion of a new suite of must do activities relating to managing your digital and social media channels. With the constant evolution of each network, SEO changes, new user experiences for your website and keeping your content fresh, it can seem as through you are always at the bottom of the mountain and out of ideas.

Time to leap up to the peak and leave the overwhelm behind. The first step is to revisit your digital and social media strategy. If you haven’t written one yet, this could be part of the overwhelm. Have a look at the Digital Ready factsheet for some tips here.

Ok, so now you are all up to date with your strategy, lets manage the overwhelm. Scheduling your time to work on social media is the number one way to stop feeling as if you can never keep up. Your digital strategy should give you clear guidance on what your main channels are. Remember: you don’t have to be everywhere, just on the social media sites that are where your customers are and where you are most comfortable and authentic. Decide on the frequency of your posting, you want to aim for once or twice a day (this can also include sharing and commenting on others posts). 

Diarise a time to check your feeds, respond to comments and share others content. This should take no more than ten minutes twice a day. Make it a regular task and commit to doing it around the same time, make an appointment with your social networks and keep it. This doesn’t mean reading endless feeds, just check where your business is mentioned, what your key influencers are saying and work on those posts.

Use a scheduling tool if you are dealing with multiple channels and schedule out content. There is info on both Hootsuite and Buffer here, these tools will help you be able to see what is happening across your portfolio at a glance, and schedule out your posts in advance so you can be proactive with your content as well as reactive to current trends and events.

Your website should be more static than your social media channels, and should only need updating when inventory changes, or you put up a blog post. Blog posts can be strategically mapped out against a posting schedule so you can write them in advance and have them lined up ready to be published while you are busy making sales. Plan your post topics around your business, seasonality, trends, customer queries and product/service information.

It won’t take you long to think up a list of topics and get a couple of blogs written and ready to go, like money in your digital bank, make time to write when you are feeling creative and inspired, not when you are panicking. If you have your blogs scheduled regularly, you won’t need to worry about missing your update.

Your digital tools are an important asset to your business. You need to understand where they fit in your work tasks, and also consider where you can outsource content creation to others if your skills are more high value elsewhere in your management mix. Scheduling content and making regular times to check in rather than constantly checking your feeds will help to alleviate the anxiety of being ‘always on’ and also give your customers a sense of flow and constancy about your communications.