Many people criticize the corporate world as a “rat race” – a meaningless, ruthless existence. But from what I can tell, the lifestyle of a social media professional can sometimes be even more grueling, competitive and stressful than that of a top corporate exec.
Social media never slow downs or takes breaks. It just keeps going. image: tatrattery
When it’s just for personal gratification, social media is lots of fun. But for those who want to make their ideas and campaigns explode on a mass scale (with any kind of consistency) – it demands an incredible investment of time, energy and attention. The pressure to find, consume, share and create new content is relentless. The complex web of social relationships and implicit obligations multiply quickly – many new backs and egos need scratching. Endless reading and learning is required in order to keep your position.
Publish, Ping or Perish
The academic maxim “publish or perish” applies just as much to the online world. Social media people have an incredibly short attention span and tend to forget about people and destinations that aren’t compelling and clockwork consistent. The fickleness is especially harsh on Digg.com – where people will drop you as a friend if you don’t digg their stories for just a few days. When people get sick or go on vacation – they change their username to something like “Gone to Hawaii for 5 days- PLEASE, PLEASE don’t Delete me!”
On Twitter, too, you have to hustle to keep people paying attention to your updates and links. Ping people, praise people, retweet people in order to stay “tight” with them – or many will flake and quickly forget you and get enamored with the hot new social media girl or guy.
Tips for Making the the Race More Manageable
1. Pay Attention in Small Doses – There’s no way you can read everything, answer every e-mail or @reply, or interact with everyone (and still get stuff done). So interact with more people on a limited basis. Think one or two word replies. A blog comment or a RT once every couple of weeks will keep the door open to a larger number of people – they won’t think you forgot them.
2. Focus and Specialize – Some people have focused really intensively on one particular site or scene, and they aren’t burdened with trying to learn everything. There’s people who just do green social media consulting. Or people who just focus on LinkedIn. Or on WordPress. That one section of the social media universe is more manageable.
3. Get Help and Support – Pro power users like Chris Brogan, Brian Clark and Guy Kawasaki have evolved past being “one man shows” and have assembled small, dedicated teams of support. Their virtual assistants and partners to help with some of the more tedious aspects of maintaining their presence – like editing posts, booking flights and finding fresh links.
4. Be Okay with Being Human – Not everyone can be an omniscient industry thought leader or Top 10 power user. Some people have too much of a balanced life, care too much about their spouse or kids, or have important tasks that need their focused attention for several hours a day. Don’t feel guilty for being human and not spending 18 hours a day online if it’s not for you. Make good friends with someone who does and download their notes.
Does social media marketing ever feel like a “rat race” to you? Or not? How do you deal with the pace and learning curve?
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Brett Borders, the author of this article, is a professional copywriter who specializes in increasing website sales and signup rates. I'm available now to write for your website and optimize it for maximum sales and profits. Please contact me now for a free consultation.