Finding Balance With Social Media
Trying to balance blogging, home life, and work is a tough enough prospect. Add in the all-encompassing beast that is social media, and balance becomes even more difficult.
Considering the fact that a social media presence is a necessity for bloggers who hope to reach a wider audience, it’s impossible to simply remove yourself from the Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/Pinterest/Instagram equation. But using these social media outlets can be the beginning of losing untold hours each day to the black hole that is the wider internet.
This issue is one that worries many finance bloggers. Several were kind enough to chat with me about how they manage to tame the social media pressure they feel and find the sweet spot between just enough and far too much.
Kelly Whalen of The Centsible Life doesn’t draw a line between her personal and her professional presence online: “My presence is one in the same. I don’t feel the need to have separate accounts in social media. My friends and family understand that it’s what my job is and most don’t mind. I aim to keep my personal Facebook profile a little more about life, and rarely use it to promote my work.”
However, Kelly does make sure she separates her working day (including social media updates) from her family time: “Social media fatigue is a very real thing. I shut down every day from the time my kids arrive home until after dinnertime. That way I am fully present for homework help, cooking a healthy dinner, and just hanging out with the kids.”
Mandy Knight of Money Master Mom agrees about the importance of shutting down the computer for family time: “Social media is a great distraction when I’m not feeling motivated to write. It’s a great procrastination tool because you can rationalize you’re working to grow your blog, although there are some serious holes in that argument. I know I’ve gone overboard when my kids are getting jealous of the computer. A few weeks ago my three-year-old came to the computer while I was working and started pulling on the chair saying “Mommy, no touch!” I knew I had passed the sweet spot for balance at that point, and I cut back on the social media as a result. Some days I have to remind myself that my kids need a mom more than the world needs a blogger. That helps put things into perspective.”
Andrea Travillian of Take a Smart Step has found a way to schedule and strategize her social media time in order to get the most impact for her time: “Over the years, I have fine tuned a plan that works for me. I do one big day on social media (Tuesday). This is the day that in addition to posting, I will also do any housekeeping items such as following new people on Twitter or spending extra time on LinkedIn and do some pre-scheduling for the rest of the week. This will typically take me about two hours. Then the rest of the week I spend about 20 to 25 minutes checking and responding, RTing, and some posting. The rest of my time is for writing and product creation.”
Miranda Marquit of Planting Money Seeds has another method for making sure that social media doesn’t overwhelm her writing time: “I hired a virtual assistant to do most of the social media submissions. I still handle my own tweets, and since they are automatically posted to my Facebook account, I don’t have to worry about doing both things.”
Tushar Mathur of Everything Finance Blog has similar concerns about how much time to spend per day: “I spend about an hour a day promoting, commenting, and interacting on my social media channels. I sometimes feel I should do more.” However, he finds it easy to pay it forward: “Promoting other people’s work is great. I love it when I discover a good read written by someone else. There’s no strategy there.”
Doug Nordman of The Military Guide also recognizes how difficult it can be to keep social media creep from taking over your life: “Over the last couple of years I keenly appreciate how much time I can waste on social media, so I’ve tried to limit myself to the things that I believe will raise blog traffic (or book sales). I’m still skeptical that most of the popular techniques have a verifiable payoff. That means I try to excuse myself from feeling pressure to be on social media. All of my blogging, publishing, and social media goals are self-imposed and I shouldn’t enslave myself to them. I try to follow/friend as few people as possible and only check in a few times a day. I don’t feel as if I’m ‘missing out’ because my connections will keep my informed of the truly important things.”
Todd Tresidder of Financial Mentor doesn’t have a problem getting sucked into social media, but that doesn’t mean it’s not problematic for him: “I consider myself to be a bit of a social media curmudgeon. I honestly don’t get it. As a result, all my social media work takes a back seat to my web site and my stats reflect this. My site stats would place me in the top blogger category, but my social media stats place my site in the ‘everyone else’ category.
Consequently, my balance issues on social media are the opposite of most people’s. I have to force myself to work the social media side of my business and I actually have to carve out time and discipline myself to do it. Contrast that with how I love working on my site.”
For some, like Dominique Brown of Your Finances Simplified, technology can help to make balancing social media much simpler: “If you look at my social media timelines, it would appear that I’m online all the time, but I’m not. I use technology like Tweet Adder and Buffer to give me the appearance of being all over the place. The only time I’m really on social media is to try to network (if I don’t have an email) or some fan/reader engagement.”
Andrew Schrage of Money Crashers has a unique position in terms of social media, in that he makes a clear distinction between his personal and professional accounts: “I have always maintained personal social media accounts that are entirely separate from my business page. I use my personal accounts strictly for socializing, and my business accounts for professional promotion and networking only. Consequently, I don’t have any of my personal information posted on my business social media accounts. I feel that it’s better to keep my business accounts strictly professional. I do share a small amount of my personal information on my personal accounts, but I use it more as a way to keep in touch with college acquaintances and other friends.”
How do you maintain balance between your social media presence and your blogging? What do you struggle with the most when it comes to social media?