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What To Do About Social Media Fatigue

By Richard Fouts | April 24, 2013 | 85 Comments

With the proliferation of social networks of every flavor, from professional to personal, users are simply getting tired of spending time and energy on every iteration of social media. This phenomenon has been aptly labeled social media fatigue.  For many social marketers, fatigue is an inevitable stage.

Angie Picardo, a staff writer for NerdWallet, knows a bit about the social media fatigue phenomena. As someone who writes about how to save money and become financially savvy. she has been using social media for some time. What follows is her guest blog post, containing insights and advice for how to deal with social media fatigue. 


How Real is Social Media Fatigue?

By Angie Picardo

For businesses that have spent significant time building a cohesive and comprehensive online presence, the idea of social media fatigue is frightening. The extent of social media fatigue amongst Americans has been examined by a few sources. The most noted study comes from the Pew Research Center concerning Facebook use. The results of the Pew survey show that 61% of surveyed Facebook users say that they have taken a break from the social network for several weeks or more at a time. Furthermore, the study shows that social media fatigue is not a passing phenomenon, as 38% of users plan using Facebook less in the coming year. However, social media fatigue transcends Facebook alone, and is of real concern in an era of content-targeted marketing. 

Can you get over the social media hump?

Go back to the basics

Consumers are inundated with targeted ads, flurries of emails, and mobile messages every other moment. Most ads are ignored and most emails deleted in the world of online marketing. With social media fatigue abound, the probability of your message being acknowledged by something more than the “delete” button is decreased.

To compensate for less people being on social media to actively “like” your sale announcement on Facebook or watch linked promotional videos, you can do things the old-fashioned way: by word of mouth. People who are getting weary of social media still remain social through the human network. What online marketing often lacks is a sense of authenticity and trust, a contributing reason for social media fatigue. Algorithms cannot compensate for a good local buzz surrounding a new restaurant, or personal testimony from a local celebrity about a specialty hardware store. Spread awareness of your business through traditional means by exalting great customer service and waiting for the trickle down process to bring customers in. 

Check out the competition

Social media fatigue is not an isolated incident. If you realize that less people are retweeting your announcements, see what’s happening on your competitor’s page. If they are getting hit by the fatigue phenomenon just as badly, you have less to worry about. If it seems like your competitors are putting all of their eggs in a basket on a particular form of social media, consider pivoting to a different medium for your business to capitalize on an untapped demographic.

Refocus and refine

There is a surplus of social media outlets from blogs, to Twitter, to a plethora of personal and social networking sites. Trying to actively promote a business on seven different fronts can spread your social media strategy thin really quickly. Think quality over quantity when it comes to social media. Go back to your social media metrics and analytics and figure out which networks get customers through the door or onto your site. Refocus your social media strategy on those elements, making them personable and thoughtful.

Slow and steady wins the race

You don’t need to bombard your customers with promotions, updates, and deals every other day. Thinking about optimizing timing is a good way to bring back in customers suffering from social media fatigue. Usually users will deactivate or lay off social media venues for a few weeks at a time. Keep this cycle in mind when planning a calendar for promotions and press releases.

Ground your social media strategy in reality

A great way to engage with customers with social media fatigue is to dedicate some effort to in-house marketing with social events, tabling, sample sales, etc. Talking to customers during live events allows you to make a more meaningful connection than any podcast ever would.

Jumping on something labeled “viral” may not be a good thing

Kitschy plays on viral trends and jumping on the social media bandwagon can leave a bad taste in some customers’ mouths. Maybe the best promotion for your artisanal bath and body shop is not the millionth iteration of “the Harlem Shake” video. The concepts of a viral phenomenon and it’s far reaching capabilities are appealing, but remember that authenticity will outlive trends online.

Make the fatigue worthwhile

Some social media fatigue is linked to the idea of “over sharing”. As people scale back on checking at every restaurant and shop they visit on their own accord, think about investing in location-based promotions. A free dessert or discount after checking in online, or signing up for a quick email-based rewards card are two ways  to incentivize active social media engagement.

You alone cannot combat social media fatigue. It is one stage in a cycle of technology adaptation that is sure to be around for a bit longer. What you can do is make sure that your marketing strategy is diverse and focused enough to keep customers engaged and coming back for more.

Angie Picardo is a staff writer for NerdWallet. Her mission is to help consumers stay financially savvy, and save some money with the best savings account rates.

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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