I wish I had a nickel for everyone who’s told me that Social Media just doesn’t work for them.
Let me suggest, respectfully, that you’re just going about it the wrong way.
These tips will help realign the time you spend on social media, giving it structure and encouraging interaction.
1. Go back to doing the basics. I teach that to have an effective social media presence on the Internet you need to do three things: Facebook, Twitter, and Blogging. The reason you must use Facebook and Twitter is because, no matter what or who you’re promoting, you’ll find almost one hundred percent of your audience on these two networks. There are other valuable platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, so those may be better choices in certain instances, but in general Facebook and Twitter are the gold standards.
You also need to be blogging someplace regularly. Notice I did NOT say you have to have a blog. I said you must be blogging somewhere, regularly. It could be a group blog or professional blog where you have a regular column. The idea is to have somewhere to send your audience so they can interact with you on a deeper level than social media. Think of it as a place to sit down and have coffee with them, to get to know each other better.
2. Quit trying to be fair. By this I mean you’re trying to spend the same amount of time on all the social networks you’re involved with. Each of us has differing personalities. I’m better at some ways of engagement than you are. For instance, I excel at Twitter, but not at Facebook. So, I spend most of my time on Twitter because I get a better return on investment. I don’t ignore Facebook, but I know my limitations and my strengths, and I work to those.
3. Stop trying to do too much. These days we’re all busy…crazy busy sometimes. So why make yourself even crazier by trying to do it all. I remember a commercial in the 70s that showed a beautiful woman holding a frying pan, singing a song about how she can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. The prevailing myth was women, as well as men, could do it all. Maybe some can. But I must ask, who wants to? Not me. Work on the basics, then just add what you can handle and/or what you enjoy. Remember, this is a means to an end, not the point of your existence!
4. Change your unrealistic expectations. Unless all the stars in the universe line up exactly right and spell out your name, with your blog’s URL and social media accounts, growing a following takes time.
5. Start—or Return to—being consistent. Blogging on a schedule for six weeks isn’t long enough to grow a following or even tell if you have an audience that’s interested—ESPECIALLY if you’re not also being consistent at social media. How long should you do it? Minimum of six months straight. Then come to me and tell me that social media doesn’t work. At that point we’ll have something to talk about.
6. Stop spending too much time on it. Yep, you read that right. After you come up to speed on social media, I recommend you spend NO MORE than thirty minutes a day on social networks and a one-to-two-hour block of time, once a week, writing your blog posts for the week.
7. Quit only talking about yourself. One of the biggest mistakes I see with social media is people confusing it with mass marketing. Let me ask you a question. Do you engage with people who are constantly trying to get something from you? If you don’t like to engage with advertisers, you can bet no one else will. Instead post things on social media that are valuable to those who follow or friend you. Talk about them, share interesting tips gleaned from others, promote other people. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but I guarantee you it works
Building an online presence isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. But when we have a foundation in place, we can build it into something valuable.
As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. She’s penned numerous books, including While My Child is Away a book of prayers for when we’re apart.
As a leading professional within the publishing industry, she travels to numerous conferences as a popular keynote, writing instructor and mentor. Her top-ranked blog for writers, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month, and she’s the Director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.
In addition, as a respected expert in social media, Edie has the proven expertise to teach others how to plug in without sacrificing valuable writing time. Her bestselling eBook on this subject, has recently been updated, expanded and re-released as Connections: Social Media & NetworkingTechniques for Writers.
She’s the Director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, the Social Media Director for the now retired Southern Writers Magazine, and the Social Media Mentor for My Book Therapy. She’s a member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, regular columnist for Guideposts.org, Just18Summers.com, and PuttingOnTheNew.com. She and her husband, Kirk, have been married 35 years and raised three sons. They live in the Upstate of South Caroline. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.