I can’t believe it’s been almost ten years that Half Day PA has been in business and I can honestly say that it’s been some the best years of my life. Working for myself and meeting some inspiring and amazing business owners along the way.

However, working in social media does come with its own set of challenges at times! Reflecting on the times, I put together some of the ups and downs of this type of business, I’ve learned so much, we have had to adjust the goal posts a few times and we have celebrated some great successes along the way.  Here’s a few home truths I’ve learned:

sometimes we need to disconnect

You need to unplug occasionally

Doing social media is the job that never really sleeps. You’re connected 24/7 – which makes it hard to unplug but you have to remind yourself, you need to unplug occasionally. Chances are, you have multiple clients on multiple networks. When there’s so much going on, it’s hard to step away. I’m often monitoring client’s social media accounts (and there’s a few!) but seeing responses in multiple platforms.

But you also have to remind yourself that it is a virtual world out there and you need to stay connected to reality at times and unplug. I encourage others in this business to take time off to unplug and recharge, reconnect, especially with family. It just takes a little bit more effort, and perhaps some outsourcing, to make sure all of your clients are taken care of 24/7.

Create a flexible schedule

Working for yourself and from home means working whenever you want – mostly. And the truth is, it’s absolutely possible. I wouldn’t want to trade it for any office job again.

Working from my home office helped me understand when I’m at my most productive. I have been able to power nap at lunch time and recharge for another productive blast. I have had the flexibility to meet with clients at their convenience which sometimes was breakfast or running into the evening but that has made a difference to my business too.

Creating my own schedule has enabled me to also include some voluntary time for social issues. I can take the time off to work on personal development too. But most importantly, I can work more efficiently at home rather in an office with other distractions. Working in social media allows me to work on a client’s marketing in an intense and focused manner for a set period and then lock it in for the upcoming month.

The art of multi-skilling

Managing multiple social media accounts requires numerous skills. Not a day goes by that I don’t incorporate some copywriting, graphic design, photography, time management, research and more. Each skill is inter-locked with the other to create a campaign based on the client’s goals. The creativity that it takes to succeed is incredible, and I get to connect with others who will inspire me on a daily basis.

Managing the stress factor

When you’re sitting in front of a screen, managing dozens of different businesses and trying to keep it all organized, you’re probably going to get stressed out. It’s just human nature and we are all guilty of it at times.

So, what’s the key to combating this stress? Staying organized and taking time off. Every day starts off with a good walk with my dog and each evening we repeat it again. I also participate in some aqua aerobics and gardening to keep my body in reason working order. Mental wellness is as important as physical wellness. As my partner does FIFO work, we also invest in special time out together to ensure our emotional needs are met.

Keeping it real

There’s a certain buzz about watching some grow their Facebook community through the use of strategically planned posts and adverts, or watching the lives of the rich and famous on Instagram. And even better when a client is pleased with the content you created.

But it is just ‘social media’ and not a push for sales at every pitch!

So it’s important to realise that those images we see on social media are usually only the reflection of the good times in one’s lives. We don’t see the argument at the breakfast table, the toddler tantrums, the embarrassing moment you forgot your wallet at the checkout etc. Most of the time, we see the fun, luxury, holidays, happy pics of people sprouting their lives away. It’s important to also remember that they are still human and have the same ups and downs that we all do. Some of us just may experience it on a different level.

Social media is akin to a fantasy land but you also have to be authentic and keep it real. This is even more so relevant to your business accounts. You can’t tell wrong truths in business. You can’t steal someone’s else fame; you can’t simply lie. That’s just not ethical.

There’s a lot to keep in order

Let’s say you have a total of ten clients, and each of those clients has just two social media pages. That’s 20 accounts. And that’s not including your own. 20 accounts full of comments, messages, engagement and more. It’s a lot to keep in order and it can be tough to do so.

Working in social media means that you need to find ways to stay organized. It’s a lot to manage, but it’s definitely worth the time. Utilise free tools, such as Trello, make it easy for you to keep your content organized. You can create boards, to-do lists and assign tasks to different people. You can also attach files from Google Drive and Dropbox, allowing for a more integrated workspace. Even just a plain old Google calendar could work – everyone has a different style but all effective. And if you don’t have a scheduling system in place for your social media accounts, get one now. Hootsuite is free for up to three accounts and it is a lifesaver. Even Facebook publishing tools is an effective scheduling program within Facebook. They all allow you to stick to a schedule and see reports on what is engaging the audience and what is not.

Working in social media isn’t always as easy as it looks. But working in the industry allows you to constantly try new things in an ever-evolving industry. Today there really is an app for everything and that’s the key to getting organised and streamlining.

There is no overnight success

Sometimes we are an impatient mob! Social media takes time – just like SEO – to really have an impact on the internet. It takes a lot of patience, time, energy, some expense and a whole lot of commitment.

In this day and age of internet, having a social media account is just as important as a website for your business. Your clients are searching on multiple platforms and researching you before they even contact you. Why inhibit that contact?

But it won’t happen overnight. Stick with it, and give it all you’ve got.

I like to truly understand my client’s goals and reasons for using social media, we look at their competitors, we discuss the 30-30-30-10 rule (ask me about it if you are not sure), we factor in their budget and target market and start the creative side of social media.

Not everyone will understand what it’s like working in social media. And yes, if you’re going to put a lot of hours in, you will get a lot of return on investment and credibility with clients and potential clients. But at the end of the day, working in social media is something that’s fun, creative and incredibly rewarding.

Have any questions about working in this industry? I’m all ears. Shall we catch up and discuss your business?