When Comment and DM Overload Strikes!

Jesse Clemmens
Jesse Clemmens
Co-Founder @ HiBeam
Cover Image for When Comment and DM Overload Strikes!

You've worked hard to build up your presence, doing all the right things to keep your audience engaged, right? You set up the perfect Link In Bio landing page, armed yourself with a veritable arsenal of tools to make your job as a creator easier, and you've finally reached the promised land. A growing, vibrant account with seemingly endless opportunities afoot. 

There's only one problem. 

You can't keep up with the tidal wave of DMs and Comments that are now the norm. Is there anything worse than getting to where you've always wanted to be, only to find it's not the final destination but just another step in the seemingly never-ending climb? Guilt, even burnout, can follow, leaving you to hide your head in the sand.

If any of this rings true, you might be dealing with message overload. It's important to remember you are not alone in the struggle with message overload. Many creators or influencers have been in the same boat.

While the word "burnout" is scary, there are ways to balance between engaging smarter and not harder. There is also the risk of missing game-changing opportunities. Your dream brand could be in your DMs now!  

Here are a few ideas to keep you from engagement overload. 

You Are Heading in the Right Direction 

Keep in mind that DM and Comment overload can be a good problem to have for two reasons: 

  1. You have an engaged audience who cares about what you're creating enough to engage with you.

  2. It's a solvable problem. While the constant flood of notifications (especially with multiple apps!) is anxiety-inducing, you can transform the cycle of responding endlessly into something that feels deeply worthwhile and authentic with a few simple boundary shifts. 

Keep an Eye on Creator Burnout

Creator burnout is a real thing. You probably started with high energy and a feeling of excitement, but somewhere along the way, you have had a few hard days where you dreaded even the slightest interaction. No matter what industry you work in, humans are susceptible to burnout. Burnout is important to be cognizant of in terms of keeping mentally healthy. Almost any creator is likely to relate to some of the feelings connotated by the term "burnout." If you think you might be facing burnout or exhaustion, these are just a few common signs. 

Important: If you feel severe signs or symptoms of burnout or other mental health concerns, please consult a mental health professional. 

  • Neglecting your own needs. It's necessary not to neglect essential activities in your personal or professional life. If you prioritize your audience interactions over these activities, it might be time to re-evaluate your engagement strategy. While having focus and goals are healthy, you must have sustainable and healthy boundaries.

  • Heightened anxiety. Excessive stress from not responding to a message, to a content idea that flopped, to even nasty comments. The boundaries you create will help keep heightened anxiety at bay.

  • Lack of enjoyment. Every job, hobby, or calling has its ups and downs, just like the rest of life. However, if you're feeling a complete lack of satisfaction from moments you used to celebrate as a creator, it could be a sign that you might need to revisit your boundaries. 

  • Abdication. A fancy word for going AWOL from your community or accounts. Don't get us wrong, it's vital to take breaks, but you should be doing so from a position of thoughtful rest instead of waiting until you feel like you can't peek into your inbox without experiencing increased stress. Communication is a critical part of engagement, and if you're consistently checking out because you're overwhelmed and burnt out, you could be holding yourself back. 

While this is not an exhaustive list, keeping an eye on yourself and your mental health is key to building long-term success and happiness. 

Avoid These Traps: What Not To Do

Dealing with Creator Burnout and the underlying causes is the first and most important step in getting your work back to a place of enjoyment and fulfillment. We will talk about some of the best ways to get back on track, but first, let's discuss what not to do. The reason being, these methods are more likely to lead to more stress and anxiety in the long term. 

  • The As-It-comes method is when you post, check, and re-check your app every few minutes as new comments and DMs roll in. While this may be fun at first, eventually, you'll run out of energy - or worse yet, be distracted from accomplishing other tasks with the constant stream of context switching. 

  • The Skim-The-Top method is where you pop open a post and put a few replies on the top comments. Tempting, but remember that what is chronologically first (or what the platform algorithm has put first) is not always the highest value interaction to YOU. 

  • The VIP method is where you keep track of top commenters or big accounts, swooping in to take care of these audience members first. This can give you the best bang for the buck, but it ignores the additional value you might get from content suggestions, questions, and other places to learn what is on your community's mind. 

  • The "If It's Important They Will Email Me" method is when you use your email in your Link In Bio as the best place to get in touch. This can work well to sort people by intention; yes, those that need to email you will reach out, but this method excludes opportunities that you might find important such as that quick comment, reaction, or interaction from a peer. Why run your life by the priority of others?

What to Do: Hire, Systemize, or Use Technology

Short-term thinking leads to solutions like the methods described above. Yes, they might help for a bit, but they are typically not sustainable or suitable long-term. Luckily, below are more sustainable routes to get your DMs and Messages under control as a creator. 

  • Systematize: A "systems mindset" is one in which you invest additional time up front to save yourself time in the future. You might already be doing this. For example, are there 10 questions that you answer over and over again? Do you have the responses saved in a notepad to copy and paste into messages? Or better yet, saved replies set up? This is a simple version of a systems mindset applied to DM or Message overload. There are likely other things you can do to systematize your message management process.  

  • Delegate: Often, the hardest thing for a creative person to do is delegate. After all, you are uniquely you, and handing your work off to another person can feel inauthentic or even downright scary. But with careful planning and clear boundaries, you can bring in help. Platforms like Upwork make it relatively easy to hire; make sure you do your full diligence and implement the proper permissions in your inbox. 

  • Technology: Technology can help you save time and make responding to messages more manageable and productive without delegating. Getting set up with a great tech tool or software also happens to be a form of systematization or even delegation. Using a tool like HiBeam, you can filter and categorize messages across multiple apps, allowing you or a team member to quickly identify and respond to the items that matter the most.

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Engaging with your audience can be the most enjoyable and fruitful part of being a creator or influencer when done right. Keep these tips in mind, and you'll be able to scale your business and avoid burnout and feeling overloaded by messages. 

  • Don't fly by the seat of your pants and try to answer everything as it comes in. This can quickly become overwhelming.

  • Don't only answer the most "important" audience members as measured by follower count.

  • Don't start from the top and work your way down until you give up.

  • Don't shut down or ignore DMs or Comments and solely rely on email.

  • Do invest time in a "systems mindset." How can you put in a little extra work to save time later?

  • Do delegate if you can safely; some of the best and biggest creators have operational staff behind the scenes.

  • Do consider using purpose-built apps like HiBeam to manage your message and comment workflow better.

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