Marketing Channels, Workflows & Processes

How to Avoid Social Media Overwhelm as a Small Business Owner

How to avoid social media overwhelm as small business owner
Photo by Will Francis on Unsplash

Did you know that in 2020, studies revealed that 45% of the global population uses social media? Research suggests that that statistic is only growing, making an effective digital presence ever more essential for your brand! But as small business owners, we’re at great risk of social media overwhelm.

From creating content to sticking to a schedule, there is a lot to juggle. And sometimes, social media can feel like a minefield and can easily take over your life!

In this post, I’ll discuss how to avoid social media overwhelm as a small business owner, in nine actionable steps!

STEP ONE: Stop Mindlessly Scrolling

First, let’s talk about the impact of scrolling! Social media is often a huge part of both our personal and professional lives, so it’s easy to lose track of how much time you’re spending on it.

A bit of scrolling can be fun, relaxing even – but it can also cause a lot of overwhelm. You can find yourself comparing your business to competitors, feeling like your content doesn’t measure up, or trying to change your style to “keep up”.

Step away from the phone!

Curate your feed to include only accounts that make you feel positive and encouraged. And set yourself limits. You can even go as far as setting a time limit on your phone for certain apps!

Whether you take that approach, or just take to leaving your phone in a different room for an hour or so at a time, take a break. You can’t feel at your most creative if you’re constantly focused on what other people are doing.

Photo by inlytics • LinkedIn Analytics Tool on Unsplash

STEP TWO: Pick Your Platforms

First things first – pick your platforms. I love this quote from marketing author Shiv Singh:

“Just as you don’t need to be on every single TV channel, I don’t believe a brand needs to be on every single social media in one big way.”

Something that can cause a lot of overwhelm is trying to be everywhere. There is a lot of pressure to juggle ALL of the social media platforms – and there are a lot these days!

Not only is that not realistic, but it also isn’t usually very productive. Take a good look at your business and outline your ideal customer. Are you going for B2B or B2C? What age demographic are you targeting?

Looking to attract 18-25 year old women interested in fashion? Instagram is your best friend. Hoping to connect with professionals in the finance sector? LinkedIn’s the place to be.

Pick one or two platforms, that research shows your audience is likely to be on, and focus on them. It’s much more effective to create consistent, truly engaging content for a couple of platforms than half-heartedly attempt them all!

In other words – don’t waste hours of your week trying to become a hit on TikTok if your customers are all hanging out on Facebook! 

STEP THREE: Create a Schedule

Another thing that can trigger social media overwhelm is knowing when and how often to post. The aim here is consistency. That’s not to say you need to be posting all day every day. But make a clear cut decision to post X number of times a week, at X time, on X days.

Even just three times a week, consistently on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5pm, is better than a full week on followed by two months off! Use each platform’s analytics to see when your audience is most likely to be online and plan your content around that. 

You’re also more likely to see a return from your social media when you stick to a consistent schedule with it. Customers get to know when to expect to hear from you, which can really help with your engagement!

Photo by Elena Kloppenburg on Unsplash

STEP FOUR: Create a Content Calendar

You’ve got your schedule, now for the content itself! Knowing what to post can be a big source of anxiety for small business owners on social media. Approaching it day to day can be tempting, but the problem is that without planning in advance, you can find yourself floundering.

Therefore, it’s worth setting some time aside to create a content calendar. It might feel like a big undertaking, but it’ll save you so much time in the long run! Check out my previous post for tips on how to create a content plan

Make your content plan for as far ahead as you’d like. Whether you’re prepared for the next 3 weeks, 3 months, or even further ahead, you’ll find approaching your social media much less stressful when there is a solid plan in place.

STEP FIVE: Create a Content Bank

Once you know the topics you’re going to be focusing on, it’s time to sit down and create the actual content. One of the most important things here is to be yourself, and let your brand personality shine through.

Don’t just try to mimic what other people are doing successfully – customers will see right through it! Authenticity is everything. 

For captions, using a simple app like your notes folder on your phone can be great for jotting down ideas on the go. Whenever something comes to you, make a point of noting it down so you don’t forget!

Set aside a non-negotiable hour in the week to go through all of these ideas and turn them into fully formed captions. This way you have a bank of engaging posts, ready to go, without spending too much time every day trying to think them up on the spot!

Also, make it a habit to take regular photos around the office, at meetings or events, and behind the scenes. You might not use them there and then, but having them saved for later makes a huge difference. No more scrabbling desperately for a piece of content to use last-minute!

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

STEP SIX: Create Content Templates

Now for the visuals! Graphic design not your strong suit? Don’t panic – this is where sites like Canva come to the rescue.

Canva is a graphic design tool (with a paid upgrade, but endless options on the free version)! This platform has templates for pretty much anything you could think of. Set it up using your brand colours and logo, and create a few templates for different types of post.

A few to get started on could be a Testimonial/Review, a Quote and a Special Offer template. Having these saved on your Canva account makes it incredibly easy to bulk create content and beat social media overwhelm.

Log on, amend the text, switch out the image and you’ve got a beautifully branded, professional new post. You could set aside one evening and create a month’s worth of content this way!

STEP SEVEN: Get Hashtag Savvy

If you’re using a platform like Instagram, hashtags are going to be really important. Let’s face it though – it can be frustrating typing out those lists after every post!

A couple of ways to save time here are to a) set up some keyboard shortcuts on your phone or b) save your most used hashtags in a note.

With a keyboard shortcut (in your phone’s keyboard settings!) you could set it up so that when you type #instareviewtags, all twenty of your hashtags for testimonial posts will come up. You can create multiple shortcuts for as many combinations of hashtags as you like!

Or just save each batch of hashtags in a separate note on your phone, and copy and paste them in.

How to avoid social media overwhelm as small business owner
Photo by Kate Torline on Unsplash

STEP EIGHT: Use Social Media Scheduling Tools

Ever get that nagging feeling you’ve forgotten something, only to realise it’s 11pm and the Facebook post you meant to put out at 8pm never happened? An all too familiar realisation!

Scheduling tools are a fantastic way to beat social media overwhelm, and work brilliantly alongside a content calendar. When you have all of your content planned in advance, it only makes sense to take advantage of the opportunity to upload it in advance, too.

There are a huge number of social media scheduling tools out there, including Hootsuite, Buffer, Planoly, Later and Sked Social. Facebook and Twitter, however, have their own built-in schedulers, which are free and easy to get to grips with!

The Facebook Creator Studio, found in the Publishing Tools menu of your business page, includes both Facebook and Instagram (grid and IGTV – no stories or reels, as of yet) scheduling. Tweetdeck does the same for Twitter.

Sit down with your newly created batch of content from Canva, and spend some time scheduling in your content. As a result, all you have to do is check your accounts a couple of times a day for comments and messages! The content, however, will post itself at the allocated time.

STEP NINE: Set your Calls to Action

Finally, make sure you are clear about how you want customers to contact you. If you aren’t one to spend the days frequently checking in on Facebook messenger, consider turning that option off!

There can be pressure to be available everywhere to everyone at all times. Don’t let that overwhelm you! If email is your preferred method of communication, set up all call-to-action buttons with your email linked.

And don’t be afraid to set an automated message to say you’re offline in the evenings or weekends. People are less likely to be frustrated by a delay when you clearly state that you’ll respond during certain hours.

Photo by SCREEN POST on Unsplash

So there we have it – my top tips for avoiding social media overwhelm as a small business owner. By using them, you can turn social media from a time-sucking minefield to a consistent and engaging part of your marketing strategy!


If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
4 Types of Social Media Content You Should Focus On
How to Create a Social Media Content Plan
How to Add Personality to Your Social Media Marketing
Social Media Timing – An Alternative Guide for Small Businesses

Denise Strohsahl brand and marketing consultant for small businesses

Hello, I’m Denise from sandstonecastles, a brand & marketing consultancy based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I help small business owners like yourself to find the right marketing that’s in line with your brand and values.