Social media usage amongst millennials is a given, if you don’t embrace it you fall behind – fast!
It is also becoming a very necessary marketing option for South African business to engage their market and build their brand in the digital space.
However, the plethora of social media platforms has made it very easy for individuals to become overwhelmed, distracted and lose focus both in their personal and business space.
Paying attention in a frazzled world
Ronel Gerber, Social Media Manager at specialist digital marketing agency Black Snow Digital says, “Social media is a great communication tool enabling business to have greater access to a wider audience 24/7. However, that exact audience that is engaging with social media around the clock is also supposed to be working. It is very easy for employees to become so caught up in the different social media channels during working hours that they lose their focus and workplace productivity suffers.”
Hennie Vorster, Executive and Business Coach at people development company Align Solutions agrees, saying that it has become more difficult to maintain focus in the digital era.
“With numerous work and life pressures, coupled with a vast array of digital distractions on a daily basis, it is easy for one to experience cognitive overload and a feeling of being frazzled. Everyone is a multi-tasker these days without realising it and it can be hard to direct attention effectively.”
“The bottom line of attention is that the more distracted, the lower your ability to concentrate and the less you get done,” says Vorster.
Social media pros and cons
On a positive note, social media has reduced communication barriers, allowing people to connect conveniently with others all over the world at any time while having instant access to information. This can make individuals feel in touch and empowered.
On the down side, social media can also lead to addiction, lack of productivity and isolation as a result of a reduced level of face-to-face interaction.
Tactics for balancing social media with workplace productivity
According to Gerber, organisations can block certain social media sites, however, this doesn’t stop employees from using their mobile devices instead.
“This approach can also make staff feel isolated and resentful so it’s a better idea to have a social media policy in place which stipulates usage – i.e., allowing usage before and after working hours or during set lunch break times.”
Employees are the eyes and ears of the organisation
“By encouraging them to make productive use of social media, organisations can also use their staff to alert them to industry issues they pick up in their social circles that may have a direct impact on the organisation,” says Gerber.
“Another useful tactic for social media management in the business space is to implement performance reviews and time sheets. This can be an effective method of keeping employees on track during working hours, making them accountable for their outputs and work.”
In your personal capacity, to prevent overload and mental angst, Vorster advises that you be conscious of your social media usage and set boundaries for yourself.
“Being more mindful of when, where and how you use social media will enable you to remain connected with the world, yet allow you to know when to break away from overuse and mental overload. This, in turn, will help you to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships with family, friends and work colleagues and ultimately allow you to get more done with your time.”
Tools to focus in the digital world:
- AWARENESS instead of cruising on autopilot
- Give your BRAIN a break and manage your energy
- Engage in IMMERSIVE experiences
- Revisit TIME management principles and apply them every day
- DESTRESS – start moving and eating for optimum energy
To learn more about how to maintain your focus in a digital world, Black Snow Digital and Align Solutions will be hosting free workshops on the topic. Get a more in-depth understanding of the social media realm, what it entails, the pros and cons and learn tactics to maintain focus and positive mental health in today’s digital era.