My 12 steps to avoid Community Manager burnout

This might be a strange exercise to do in this format but after going to a Community Management workshop recently and hearing a stat that Community Managers usually burn-out after 18 months, I realized that I’ve been doing this for 3 years and either coping remarkably well or have burnt out and just don’t know it. Although I thought burning out meant you couldn’t function much any more or spent a considerable amount of time in the corner or under your desk crying or eating way too many Advils. I thought about some of the things discussed at the workshop and how some traits of the job which turn out to be common to Community Managers all over the world define us and some mechanisms for coping.

12 steps to avoid Community Manager burnout

  1. admit you are doing it all on your own, that you have been for too long, and that this might not be the best thing for your company. Dedication to your job doesn’t have to equal no sharing and unhealthy, unsociable, stressful behavior
  2. try to do one thing at a time, like dealing with emails in turn, oldest to newest, people will phone you if it’s urgent
  3. see the funnel, be the funnel … realize that it’s OK to not know all the answers to all the questions, your job is a funnel or more likely one of those Willy Wonka contraptions for collecting and getting information from one place to another and connecting people or questions with the right people or answers
  4. create a system for keeping up with who you’ve asked for more information from
  5. believe, really believe, that asking for help or an assistant is not admitting failure, and ask for it
  6. look at your book or your husband as the last thing you see before you go to sleep at night, not your iPad
  7. identify something you can do for yourself – actually doing it probably occurs in the next 12 steps! But identifying it is half the battle.
  8. walk to work or walk to get your coffee, fresh air is your friend
  9. make a connection or friends with another Community Manager
  10. call your mother
  11. accept that just because you don’t get praise very often that you’re still doing a good job, your peers just honestly can’t see all the work that goes on behind the scenes to keep a community busy and happy
  12. book at least one day’s vacation, even if that’s a weekend day.


#1 Simone on 05.12.12 at 3:43 pm

Great post Catherine! I have heard about community managers for FMCG brands who completely burn out after a very short space of time – so it probably depends a lot on the company you work for and whether you are a lone voice in the hubbub or whether there is actually support for you and the customers you represent. Makes a big difference if you can see change and results rather than just handling the same complaints over and over.

Also – you are doing a fabulous job!

And take the day off!

#2 OrangeGirl on 05.12.12 at 4:50 pm

Thanks Simone! Compared to some I’ve met I definitely have support in my role, I guess once you appoint a Community Manager you’ve taken that step to realize that social media isn’t just something that someone in your organization does if they have time and know how. However I’m also learning that what I do only scratches the surface of what the role could be based on what I hear my counterparts are doing – so I’m thankful for that right now!

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