Friday, May 01, 2015

Struggling to Find Your Social Media Groove? It Could be an All or Nothing Mindset

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I’ve been teaching writers how to use social media to grow an online platform for years. I’ve developed this blog, spent years teaching at conferences, as well as consulting with groups and ministries. 

Unfortunately, the one thing I see over and over again, is excited people who try to take everything I teach and apply it in a crazy-short amount of time. 

In every class I teach, I warn against spending more than 30 minutes a day building an online platform, but I can’t seem to combat the rush of enthusiasm that infects some.

Then, these excited, energized folks become the victims of the destructive cycle of all or nothing social media. Today, I’d like to expand on this concept and explain what can happen if you find yourself caught in the whirlpool of this mindset. I’ll also offer some ways to help you regain your equilibrium.

Beware the Trap of Too MUCH Social Media
This cycle usually begins when someone is trying to become comfortable with a new platform or way of approaching social media. They’ll spend hours on end, over the course of a few days, or for the hardier souls, the course of a few weeks. At first, the results multiply and that taste of victory spurs them to more intense work.

But true platform building with social media cannot be rushed.

Just like a builder must wait for a poured foundation to cure, social media interactions must be allowed room to breathe. Here are just a few reasons it takes time to gain traction:
  • When we follow someone, it takes time for them to find that we followed them and follow us back.
  • Not everyone is online at the same time. So a concentrated burst of updates within a few hours will net us fewer views than a few updates over the course of twenty-four hours.
  • Everyone manages social media differently. I check my followers 2 – 3 times a week. That’s when I decide who to follow back and interact with on a deeper level.

Beyond the downside of the above-mentioned issues, there’s also the very real issue of burn-out. After that first heady rush of platform building victory, there’s very little movement on the momentum front and frustration begins to take over.

I see the mindset of:
I invested all this time, and only have this to show for it.

Truthfully, if this poor soul had invested the same amount of time over several days and/or weeks, the growth would have been phenomenal.

So how do we stop the cycle?
1. Set a time limit—and stick to it!
2. Set goals—reasonable goals.
3. Take on a single platform at a time. Get started and established before tackling another.
4. Use a scheduling program like Hootsuite or Buffer, to multiple your exposure and limit the time you spend.

One of the gems those successful with social media learn early one is that the when is almost always more important than the how much.

But isn’t there ANYTHING to do with all that excitement?
Yes, actually there is. But be very careful not to spend too much time on even the tasks I’m about to mention. Burnout is still a very real side affect of even these jobs.

Things We Can Spend Time On
1. Composing your bio/about me section of each platform. These section is a key place others use to gage whether they want to interact with you. I simply cannot stress the importance of getting this right.

2. Check your consistency. Beyond getting it right, you also want your bio to be consistent from platform to platform. This can be tricky because the word count of your bio is different on each network. So you have to play around with it a bit.

3. Generating a good cover image for all your networks. Here’s a link to my Twitter homepage. You can see my cover image is my upcoming book. I use the same cover for all my networks.

4. Choosing a consistent avatar image for all your networks. My image isn’t exactly the same for every single network, but it’s very recognizable, even in the thumbnail size. That’s critical so people can connect with you in different places. They may discover you on Facebook, but they prefer to interact with people on Twitter, so they’ll search for you there. If you can’t be found, you’ve just lost a lot of potential interaction.

5. Research. Take a look at people who are where you want to be on a given platform. Study the way they interact. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Instead learn from those who are where you want to be.

Bottom Line
The biggest thing to remember is that when it comes to building a platform—just like anything else in life—you get what you put into it. There are no free rides or short cuts to building a solid online presence.

Now it’s your turn. Have you been bitten by the all or nothing cycle? How do you combat the temptation to spend too much time on social media?

Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains ChristianWriters Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for SouthernWriters Magazine and the Senior Editor for Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. Don't miss her new book from Worthy Inspired, coming in May WHILE MY SOLDIER SERVES.


Ane Mulligan said...

I've learned not to spend too much time on social media, but I'm still not doing Twitter effectively, I don't think. I tend to do a few things in the AM, then I only see the emails I get from Twitter about new followers. That's one I think I need to set a time for and do some RTs or something at noon and in the afternoon, maybe.

Thanks, Edie. You're going to get us all up to speed one of these days! See you at the BRMCWC!