Social Media Burnout: 8 Tips to Avoid It Altogether

Bhavya Aggarwal

March 11, 202414 min read

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Keeping up with social media trend cycles and algorithms is not for the faint-hearted. Of course, there are plenty of avowed social media fans who thrive on the mile-a-minute pace. But there's an equal number who are filled with dread at the idea of running active social media accounts and creating content. 

If you fall into the latter category, you've got yourself a burnout problem.  

Though social media burnout can affect anyone who uses social media in excess, the people most at risk are social media marketers and managers. You all have to keep customers engaged, grow an audience, run campaigns and manage the expectations of business leaders — a staggering set of responsibilities that can become overwhelming if you're not careful. 

Also, because social media plays such a critical role in a brand's equity, perception and outreach efforts, social media burnout is just as harmful for your business as it is for the employees who suffer from it.  

This blog explains the ins and outs of social media burnout. It tells you what signs to look out for and gives you practical tips to minimize it.

Table of Contents

What is social media burnout?  

Social media burnout is a condition or syndrome where individuals experience emotional and mental exhaustion due to the prolonged use of social media platforms. 

In this state, people may feel overwhelmed, drained or completely disconnected from their social media activities. For instance, they might find that scrolling through feeds or watching reels that once brought enjoyment no longer holds the same appeal.  

Individuals suffering from social media burnout often report feelings of fatigue, irritability and unproductivity. This emotional state stems from the very nature of social media platforms — designed to provide instant gratification through constant dopamine hits to the brain. 

The findings from a recent McKinsey survey show how universal this problem is. 

A bar chart showing the level of burnout felt by employees in Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and the US

Source 

However, when users become accustomed to these constant dopamine rushes, they develop a resistance to it. And then the social media experience starts to feel bland and unrewarding, thus, making users feel less satisfied and more disenchanted with social media. And before they know it, they're struggling with burnout. 

So why does it happen?  

3 common reasons for social media burnout  

As we mentioned, social media burnout is intrinsically tied to how social media platforms are designed. Understanding how this factors into social media burnout can help you use social media more sustainably. Below are the most common reasons for burnout:  

1. Need to stay up to date with constantly changing algorithms 

Keeping up with constantly evolving social media trends algorithms can be exhausting. Platforms like Instagram and X (formerly Twitter) frequently update their algorithms, which affects how posts are displayed and prioritized in the user’s feed. This means that social media managers are under constant pressure to adapt and reinvent their social media content strategies to maintain high levels of visibility and engagement. It's like a race against the tide. 

For instance, a creator might find their well-performing content suddenly lost in the algorithm shuffle, leading to frustration and a sense of futility. They might feel like they're locked in a never-ending game of catch-up, pursuing relevance as the goalposts keep shifting. 

Time to Learn: Two Steps to Beat Burnout, with Neha Saxena 

2. Exposure to negative comments and cyberbullying  

While making yourself (or your brand) visible on social media, you also expose yourself to the unfiltered opinions of others. Sometimes, these opinions take the form of negative comments, cyberbullying and harsh feedback. It's an unfortunate fact, but the anonymity of social media emboldens some users to share opinions that are offensive or rude. This is the darker side of social media interactions, and they can extract a significant emotional toll on the person at the receiving end.  

For example, a user sharing a heartfelt personal post might receive hurtful comments, leading to feelings of vulnerability and self-doubt. The constant barrage of negativity can erode a user's self-esteem and create a sense of dread or anxiety associated with social media, leading to burnout. Similarly, your innocuous company post may become inundated with negative comments about events or experiences that have nothing to do with you or your post. The comments section can quickly turn into a place for people to vent, for no fault of yours.  

The impact of these negative interactions is profound. Users who have to deal with it regularly can struggle with demotivation and emotional fatigue.  

3. Fear of missing out (FOMO) on essential events or news 

FOMO, or the fear of missing out, particularly in the context of social media, refers to the anxiety that arises from the feeling that others are experiencing more fulfilling events. This phenomenon is exacerbated by the constant stream of (usually positive) updates and news shared on social media platforms.  

For instance, seeing your competitor winning an award or bagging marquee clients can trigger feelings of exclusion and inadequacy. It's important to remember that social media often serves as a “highlights reel,” and what you see on social media is not always representative of the poster's realities.  

The pressure to stay constantly engaged and to showcase non-stop achievement leads to an unhealthy attachment to social media platforms. Users feel they need to keep up with competitors, which creates a cycle of continuous checking and scrolling, directly leading to burnout. Further, the persistent worry about not being “in the loop” can lead to increased anxiety and stress, further exacerbating the risk of social media burnout. 

Social media burnout helps no one. It's better to detect early warning signs and act on them before burnout becomes a team-wide issue that impacts your business. 

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Check out our social media competitor analysis guide for 2024

Why detecting burnout early is important 

Social media is crucial for businesses, and when you or one of your colleagues suffer from social media burnout, it can have a serious business impact. Here's why it's important to detect burnout early: 

1. To prevent a decline in audience engagement and reach 

With so much content vying for people's attention, it can be an uphill task to improve audience engagement on social media. Burned-out social media managers might not have the enthusiasm and energy required to engage actively with their audience, resulting in content that feels uninspired and tired. 

For instance, an ordinarily vibrant and interactive social media page may start featuring posts that look mundane and insipid. Followers might find their attention drifting and you'll soon notice fewer likes, shares, comments and overall engagement. Sub-par content can have a strong negative effect on your brand's visibility. It also reduces the effectiveness of your social media marketing efforts. 

2. To protect your brand image

Social media burnout can lead to lapses in judgment or oversight in content management, potentially tarnishing a positive brand image. Burned out social media managers might post content that is off-brand or inadvertently insensitive, leading to public backlash. Such employees can also easily become disgruntled and cause further damage to the brand.  

3. To preserve employees' health and well-being and build a good workplace culture 

Early detection of burnout is essential to protect employees' mental and psychological health. Burnout can lead to chronic stress, resulting in issues such as anxiety, depression and even physical health problems like fatigue and headaches. 

For example, a social media manager experiencing burnout may be unable to disconnect from work, leading to sleep disturbances and reduced personal time. This can disrupt their work-life balance and worsen stress-related health issues. Recognizing and addressing burnout early helps maintain a healthy, nurturing and productive work environment. 

So how do you detect burnout early?  

4 signs of social media burnout 

Denial is usually the first stage of social media burnout. You are not doing yourself and your team any favors, if you dismiss the early signs as something temporary and not important enough to address immediately. 

Here’s what those signs look like. 

1. Feeling irritated and overwhelmed with your work 

Tasks like planning a content calendar and conducting competitor analysis no longer excite you. You don't feel buoyed with enthusiasm and creative energy. Instead, you feel a sense of irritation and fatigue. Each notification is like an added burden and creatively engaging with your audience seems daunting. These feelings can be early warning signs of social media burnout. 

2. Lacking the motivation to create content and engage with your audience 

Social media marketing and social media management are for people who love watching content, brainstorming ideas and executing them. But, if your work has begun to make you feel empty and creating your favorite content feels like a chore, it's a telltale sign that you are burned out at your social media job. 

3. Experiencing emotional and physical turmoil, leading to poor concentration

Observe yourself a little.  

  • When you wake up, do you feel tired just thinking of social media? 

  • And when you try to focus on creating social media post content, do you find yourself reading the same sentence over and over? 

 These could be the signs of brain fog and a lack of mental clarity, typical by-products of social media burnout. 

4. Neglecting your personal needs and priorities 

You've been so absorbed in social media tasks that you've skipped meals, foregone exercise and ignored your hobbies. You find yourself reaching for quick fixes like caffeine or junk food, just to keep going. If you're neglecting your personal needs and skipping your self-care routine, you are heading towards burnout. 

The above symptoms indicate that the demands of social media work have started to eclipse the basic requirements for your well-being. When you're too busy to take care of yourself, it's a clear sign that the balance between work and personal life is off-kilter, and you're on the path to social media burnout.  

8 tips to avoid social media burnout

If you can relate to any of the signs above, it may mean that you're careening towards social media burnout. But there's hope. You can pull back from this destructive path and get back on track with a few practical steps: 

1. Audit your social strategy 

It's easy for brands to fall into the trap of trying to do everything. But doing so often leads to burnout among team members. The solution: Prioritize your social media tasks.  

Regularly audit your social media strategy to identify which activities are the most beneficial for your brand and audience. Assess what works, what doesn't and then focus your energies on value-added activities.  

It's not just about doing more; it's about doing what's right for your brand. This strategic approach helps streamline tasks, reduces unnecessary workload and prevents the feeling of being overwhelmed, which often leads to burnout. 

You can use Sprinklr's social listening tools to complete this audit — they leverage AI to analyze millions of terabytes of customer data to give you actionable insights. Collect these customer insights, gauge customer responses to your social media tactics and improve your strategy to focus on actions that matter.  

Sprinklr can help you listen to conversations on social platforms and gather actionable insights without burning yourself out

Also Read: How to run a social media audit: A beginner's guide 

2. Build a quick response protocol 

Handling customer interactions on social media can be challenging, especially when responses must be fast and accurate. Social media managers often struggle with the pressure of on-the-spot replies, which can contribute to burnout. 

Establish a quick response protocol to alleviate this stress. This means having a set of guidelines or templates for common queries and complaints. Doing this ensures consistency in your brand's voice and saves time, as you won’t be starting from scratch for each response. 

Alternatively, you can try a customer service platform like Sprinklr that integrates with your social media channels. It comes with AI-powered listening that can proactively alert your team and help you respond to each customer automatically before the issue escalates further. This means minimal pressure on you and your team and thus zero chances of burnout.

Sprinklr consolidates all your social media channels so you can stay on top of your customer issues

Suggested Read: Why you need to optimize your social media response time 

3. Reassess your social media content tone before publishing 

When you regularly reassess the tone of your social media content before publishing, it can help maintain your brand image and prevent burnout. How does this work? Because if your content is not in sync with current trends or aligned with your brand values, it can trigger public backlash or give rise to a PR crisis, significantly increasing the stress and workload for social media teams. 

A sustained level of stress can lead to burnout. So, examine the tone of your content closely to reduce the risk of facing these high-stress situations. Use Sprinklr's analytics and reporting tools with artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to ease the burden on your teams. Doing this will help you analyze the sentiment of conversations and content on your social channels. You can then work toward maintaining a balanced tone for your brand and dodge high-stress, burnout-causing scenarios.

Sprinklr helps you analyze user sentiment across social channels and geographies

Recommended Read: How to develop a memorable tone of voice for your social media 

4. Clean up and moderate your personal social media feed 

Curate your social media feeds to maintain your mental health and well-being. The content you consume daily is just as important as the food you put in your body. Both have an impact on your mood and outlook. 

By actively choosing to follow accounts that inspire, educate or uplift you and unfollowing or muting those that consistently bring negativity or stress, you can create a digital environment that supports your well-being. 

This selective approach to your feeds not only enhances your overall online experience but also serves as a buffer against the overwhelming influx of information and emotions that leads to burnout. 

5. Maximize productivity to minimize burnout

Maximizing your workplace productivity is a sure-shot way to reduce burnout. This involves scheduling tasks during your peak focus times and embracing digital detoxes.  

A social media automation platform like Sprinklr allows you to plan and schedule content in advance, giving you more control over your workload and in turn preventing last-minute rush. Moreover, allocating specific time for social media tasks and taking regular breaks can significantly reduce the deadening feeling of being “always on.” This will boost your efficiency and give you that much-needed mental space. 

With Sprinklr-s unified platform, you can publish all your social posts from one location

Also Read: Social media posting schedule: How to create using tool

6. Create a peer community or lean on your peers 

Create a support network within your team and among industry peers to share the struggles you face at work. Navigating the pressure and pace of social media can be isolating, especially when dealing with challenging scenarios. 

Support groups are a great way to share your experiences without the fear of judgement, seek advice from peers and gain different perspectives. They allow you to lean into your community and reward you with emotional support and practical solutions and coping strategies. 

Within your workplace, try to be the person who encourages open discussions about challenges and successes to build a culture where seeking support is normalized. This will enhance team cohesion and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed, a key factor in burnout. 

7. Be vocal about your feelings at work 

It's necessary to communicate to your managers about your workload to prevent social media burnout. Be honest about your capability and seek assistance or adjustments when necessary. This might involve requesting additional resources, adjusting project deadlines or even reallocating tasks. 

Having an open dialogue about workload ensures that expectations are realistic and manageable. This approach can be good for your mental well-being, plus it contributes to a more sustainable work environment. Remember, seeking support is a sign of professionalism and commitment to quality work, not a weakness. 

8. Limit your time online 

This might seem antithetical to someone who works in social media, but you need to set clear boundaries with regards to the time you spend on social media to prevent burnout. Getting caught in the endless loop of scrolling, posting and responding is easy, but it's going to do you more harm than good in the long run.  

By putting a cap on your social media usage, both at work and at home, you can avoid the mental and emotional fatigue of constant digital engagement. This might mean designating specific hours for social media work, using tools to track and limit usage or setting “no social media" periods during your day. Does that mean you might miss work deadlines? Not really. 

Let a generative AI marketing platform like that of Sprinklr's do most of your grunt work, so the only task left for you is to refine the quality of the post and add that creative, human touch. It can also bulk-generate posts, saving you from mental fatigue. 

With Spinklr AI+, you can generate channel-specific content across formats instantly

Final thoughts  

If you're leading a social media team or managing these platforms yourself, it's important to keep your eyes open. Not just on the latest trends or what your competitors are doing but be on the lookout for signs of social media burnout in yourself and your team and address them early to prevent any negative impact on your business. 

In addition to this vigilance, consider the benefits of investing in a comprehensive social media management platform. Opt for one built on emerging technologies like AI, endorsed by leading brands and that offers user-friendly features. 

If you’re curious as to how Sprinklr can help your fight against social media burnout with its state-of-the-art features, sign up for a free personalized demo and find out for yourself.  

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