One of the toughest challenges of building a brand in the digital age is that it’s absolutely necessary to have an online presence—which, if you’re in the business of doing good or helping better the lives of others, can be tricky as there are obvious benefits and very clear downsides of social media.
Social media can be time-consuming and exhausting for anyone, which makes it even tougher and more complicated when it’s a job. In our connected age, work-life balance is rarer to achieve when everyone is reachable at any moment and when we can all access work emails with a few flicks of the thumbs. And while social media was once a purely recreational platform, it is now as much for businesses and brands as it is for photos of your lunch and baby nieces. For someone who actually works in social media as a career, it can be more challenging to really maintain boundaries between working all the time and really turning off.
We caught up with social media managers at some of our favorite brands to get their take on how they maintain work-life balance as professional #hashtaggers:
Name: Greg Rose
Title: Head of Content at Virgin
Personal account: @gregorylewisrose
Company account: @virgin
Social media philosophy: The medium isn’t as important as having something interesting to say on it.
The most challenging aspect of job: Juggling a lot of different stakeholders, responsibilities, and priorities.
The most rewarding aspect of job: Working with brilliant people, for a business and founder I genuinely believe are trying to make life better.
How do you find a work-life balance between the constant connectivity of social media and just being present? I find it challenging. I make sure I read lots of physical books to get my eyes away from screens for a while.
How do you envision the future of social media? Fewer log-ins, fewer separate channels, even more ubiquity but also more control. And eye devices, of course.
Name: Kelsey Vanderlip
Title: Head of Social Media at Away
Personal account: @kelsey.vanderlip
Company account: @away
Social media philosophy: Be authentic! Social media is about interacting with people in an authentic and personal way. When you tell your story in a way that people can relate to, they are more likely to engage with your content. We wanted the Away voice to feel like you’re talking to a close friend, and that has translated to great engagement on our channels.
The most challenging aspect of job: It’s always a challenge to find the balance between building out a planned content calendar, and also being flexible enough to respond to things in real-time. For brands and influencers, building out a social media calendar should be methodical, and the general framework should be planned in advance, but it’s often the spur-of-the moment boomerang, witty retweet, or last-minute live video that unexpectedly creates the most authentic moments.
I love that social media allows people to break down barriers and experience new cultures.
The most rewarding aspect of job: At Away, it’s been incredibly rewarding to see the amazing and unique locations that people take our products to and the connections they’ve made along the way. I love that social media allows people to break down barriers and experience new cultures, and it’s so exciting to see people engage with our stories and share their own travel recommendations!
How do you find a work-life balance between the constant connectivity of social media and just being present? I’m lucky to work with a talented team that I genuinely enjoy seeing every day and for a company that encourages employees to take time off to travel when they need to unplug. Away even plans an international trip every year with the entire team—follow #AwayOOO on Instagram to see where we go next! The first year, there were twenty of us and we went to Puerto Rico, and then there was forty people in Nicaragua last year. The team has grown even more now, and I can’t wait to find out where this year brings us! Personally, I try to preserve a bit of time for myself every day. It’s so important to disconnect and trust other members of your team to take the wheel—I actually just got back from a week in Aspen!
It’s so important to disconnect and trust other members of your team to take the wheel.
How do you envision the future of social media? Social media continues to trend towards live sharing and real-time conversations. Brands and individuals alike are spending less time editing content and more time being in the moment. Whether it’s participating in live video content, or responding to our customers as quickly (and thoughtfully) as possible, brands who are doing well aren’t afraid of the quick pace, even if it means a bit of imperfection. In fact, I think that imperfection is what gives you some credibility. No matter the latest platform or trend, I think continuing to share great content and having an authentic conversation with your community will always be the key factor for success.
Name: Celeste Wilson
Title: Social Media Manager, Four Sigmatic
Personal account: @thetruespoon
Company account: @foursigmatic
Social media philosophy: Treat every single point of contact with your following like you’re speaking to your mother :).
The most challenging aspect of job: I run a 100k + account and it can be challenging to genuinely respond to every single person who appreciates our brand/account, but it is so important to me.
The most rewarding aspect of job: Seeing how our products are so integral to so many individuals daily rituals. It’s so touching to know we create products that bring joy to millions of people.
How do you find a work-life balance between the constant connectivity of social media and just being present?
It’s a constant struggle but putting time boundaries on work really helps me. I try not to look at social until after I meditate in the morning and I try to stop looking after my fiancé comes home from work….it’s a constant practice to respect those boundaries.
It’s a constant struggle but putting time boundaries on work really helps me.
How do you envision the future of social media? I see only video content being relevant. Also, I see VR being utilized!
Name: Emma Nemtin
Title: Senior Manager, Brand Partnerships at Headspace
Personal account: @emnemtin/ @sideofguac
Company account: @headspace
Social media philosophy: Stay true to your brand and don’t follow in other people’s footsteps. Be authentic, be honest. Test different formats, get playful with copy, be adventurous and add some realism to your photos and videos. Ultimately don’t strive for perfection and leverage social media to construct a better world and not perpetuate false realities.
I’m always searching for my next upcoming trip or adventure, so my personal social accounts are largely focused on travel (and delicious snacks) and highlighting local experiences and being able to showcase hidden places. When I’m traveling I try not to be too engulfed with getting perfect shots for social and enjoy what’s in front of me. It’s important to strike that balance of being present while also capturing the moment.
When I’m traveling I try not to be too engulfed with getting perfect shots for social and enjoy what’s in front of me.
The most challenging aspect of job: The most challenging aspect of my job is saying no to awesome opportunities that come across my desk. I wish I were able to tackle everything but I have to be relentless in prioritization and what will have the biggest brand impact.
The most rewarding aspect of job: I would say getting to work with so many incredible brands who are focused on holistic health and finding ways to provide people with tools to lead healthier and happier lives. I love seeing brand partnerships come to fruition and creating memorable and impactful brand activations – especially when I’m given the opportunity to introduce someone to meditation and or mindfulness for the first time. It’s not every day you get to work for a mission-driven company that perfectly aligns with your own values. I feel incredibly lucky to work with a company like Headspace.
How do you find a work-life balance between the constant connectivity of social media and just being present? Since I don’t work day to day in social, I’m off the hook luckily with not having to be constantly tied to my phone. However, I do have to make a concerted effort and constantly remind myself to maintain a healthy habit with my phone and Instagram. I’ve also tried changing my phone display settings to greyscale to make it (and social media apps) less enticing and less clickable.
There’s a huge shift in our dependencies on our devices so I think we are going to see a lot less time spent on social media and when we are posting or capturing content it will be much more deliberate.
How do you envision the future of social media?
There’s a huge shift in our dependencies on our devices so I think we are going to see a lot less time spent on social media and when we are posting or capturing content it will be much more deliberate. I believe there will be a push towards fostering healthy relationships and will see the fostering of intimate communities on social.