Hullo, my name is Cherie and I’m the Founding Director here at TDP.
I’m also the lead strategist on TDP’s content, and the full-time community manager for the engagement our content marketing drives across our various platforms, and if I’m being honest? … I’d say I was approaching burnout with this situation around January [smack bang in the middle of the bushfire crisis]. Thanks to a wicked little combination of Founder-slash-entrepreneurial energy and ADHD, I ignored those early days signs of impending burnout … and I continued on with TDP’s community management [which averages 100-150 comments on our static IG content / 300+ daily IG DM’s / 20-30 comments on FB / 20-30 LinkedIn comments, and – when I last tracked myself – takes me roughly 12-15 hours to manage per week].
Now, the volume? … I can copy with that [approaching x13 years in the game, and me and volume? Well, I’ve managed pages with 1mil+ followers], but what I’ve been burning out with? People. Big stories. Stories shared in DM’s that should have content or trigger warnings [but don’t]. Nitpicking. Spell checking. Grammar policing. The “I wouldn’t have shared that”ing, and the weighing in of opinions [which is *so* welcome, but when you’re the one community manager managing it all, and – more specifically – it’s your business? … it takes a toll. #human].
Last week we shared a post to Facebook to “celebrate” receiving Jobkeeper [I say celebrated in inverted commas, because I’d genuinely rather have the 60.5% revenue loss that had us qualifying for JK in the first place, lol], but celebrate we did, because my team were dropped to .6 for just under x4 weeks during the biggest CV-19 impacted weeks … and they continued to work as if they were being remunerated at 100% [which as an empath leader, both broke me … and also made me weep, from their sheer loyalty alone].
Once the post went live, we received a comment that was referencing the suffering of those deep within the creative industries [film industry], and how they hadn’t qualified for JK. And the comment was fair. Warranted [sure]. And it broke my heart, because we exist to serve that community [amongst the many creatives we serve, day in and day out]. But the problem is, that comment [whilst completely reasonable] caught me at the wrong time.
I was tired [I’ve been working 7.30-8am until midnight-1am’ish for most of CV-19]. I was lacking resilience [I’ll even say it’s been non existent]. And I found myself typing replies to this person with silent tears pouring down my cheeks and saying things like, “I am so sorry you’re hurting” and “if I can help you with freelance marketing work, please just email me” and “I shared this post because I needed to celebrate my team’s above and beyond, but it was in no way intended to hurt a person” etc. etc.
We backed and forth’d, and then I left their last x2 comments go unanswered … because I had nuttin’ else. Actually, I walked out to my husband and said, “I am exhausted. I need to go back to bed” [it wasn’t even 9am].
And when I crawled into bed? I had this really big [and seriously necessary] cry, and it wasn’t over this particular incident [this incident was small, and pretty unimportant in the whole scheme of things], but it was instead just kinda releasin’ the sheer-feckin’-exhaustion I feel [and especially felt on that day], and then? I reached this really bluddy lovely realisation that … “I can’t do this any more”.
All of TDP’s community management, that is.
It’s too much. It is just … too much. I am so approachable. I am [without sounding arrogant] really “lovable” [I’ve been like this since I was a kid, i.e one of those lovable personalities that people do wanna be around], and it’s a beautiful thing [friendship circle-wise. I’ve got amazing friends], but … it can be #burnouttown when you’re managing a community of 50k’ish [across our various platforms].
And the [very] obvious thing is that a Founding Director shouldn’t be dropping 15’ish hours per week on this stuff, srsly. Community is important. I rate it as being up there as one of the most important elements of a successful social media marketing strategy, but … all o’ those replies? They don’t have to be from me.
And so I’m coming here today in the hopes that I might be reaching you as you approach a similar realisation yourself, i.e set boundaries for yourself [from a digital marketing perspective] so that you can serve your business the way in which you’re meant to [and subsequently move the needle on that business in the right direction].
Digital marketing boundaries for me [in relation to community management] look like; scheduling my content in advance [choose the scheduling platform of your choice. We’re all different, and so are therefore suited to different scheduling programs], because when I schedule in advance it means I can be phone down more. From there, another boundary for me is my “phone down” rule, which is as simple as arriving home from work and putting my phone on my bedside table in my bedroom first … so that I can be on [really on] with my kids / le huz.
Other community management boundaries I consider to be really important are setting up auto-replies [FB] and quick replies [on IG], i.e if we get a lot of similar messages? I’ll populate a quick reply in IG’s DM’s for TDP, which means I press x2 buttons and subsequently shoot out a pre-drafted reply [for us? We always get asked about where my glasses are from, as an example – #lol – so I pumped out a quick reply, and smash it out in x2 clicks every time someone asks where my glasses are from]. Getting a lot of similar messages in IG DM’s? Carve out x30 minutes drafting quick replies [ours are so humanised, and completely on brand for TDP. #zilch #robot #like], and you’ll have them there for as long as you keep them in quick replies.
Additionally, I have on and off times [i.e I spend 1-1.5 hours replying to IG DM’s from 8am’ish, and then I circle back to DM’s just before bed, but I really try to stay out of DM’s during the day … else it’s just too distracting].
And then finally? It’s ok to get help with community management. For me? That’s going to look like involving my team, but if you don’t have a team? … you might want to consider hiring a freelance community manager, i.e $25-30’ish per hour [and for smaller startups? It’ll likely be 3-4 hours per week, and then move up from there as engagement increases].
What do you think guys?
Did this speak to you?
Any other boundaries I missed that you might care to share in the comments section below?