Do you enjoy using social media?
Those close to me know I'm a reluctant social media participant. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy meeting new people and interacting with family and friends. There are great benefits, from blogging and Facebook to Linkedin, Pinterest, and more, I've connected and shared with people all over the globe.
Social media is an excellent marketing tool, one that's necessary for freelancing, writing books, business, and all things related. There are dozens of potential benefits, many of which I've tapped into.
So despite these great benefits, why am I still not a big fan? The two main issues I have are:
The constant perceived demand on one's time. We've become a society, as a whole, that thinks everyone should be available 24/7. This translates into pressure for many people. And while it's our choice to partake, the draw and demand are still there. It takes personal discipline and sometimes a steel will to avoid getting drawn in, buckling under the pressure, and spending too much time meeting the demands, whether real or perceived.
The "TMI - ATT" syndrome. Too Much Information - All. The. Time. While not everyone is prone to sharing too much personal info, social media offers the perfect forum to do so. Call me old fashioned, but I think that there are details of one's life that aren't meant to be spread about everywhere. Some conversations are best left one to one, with family or a close friend. In many ways, I think this hinders a quality social media experience. And if you’re promoting a personal brand or business, I think it’s unprofessional.
If you are a big proponent of social media, please don't be offended by my thoughts here. That's not my intent. I value and understand the benefits. I realize that some people are more wired for social media than I am. They're outgoing; they enjoy, thrive on, and often need that interaction with others. I get that, and mean no disrespect to those who feel that way.
So this is where I'm coming from - I'm a shy writer who's never been a social butterfly, ever. One who's happier spending a quiet evening at home with her nose in a book than at a party of a thousand of her closest friends. My conscientious self wants to help everyone I can, but social media can set me on overload. And then some.
That said, what can one such as I do to better engage on social media? Where does the balance lie? Not exactly sure, but I suspect it's different for everyone, depending on whether promoting a business, books, freelance writing services, etc., or simply to engage in a little socialization.
Here are four tips that have helped me. And no matter what kind of social media fan (or not) you are, maybe they'll help you too.
Spread the Love by Sharing
If I enjoy the content of a blog or website, I usually share it with others by posting on Facebook, Linkedin, or Instagram, or pinning a link on Pinterest. Most sites have share buttons somewhere on the screen, and it only takes a few seconds to do. It boosts your visibility on social media too, while sharing good info with others.
Schedule Posts in Advance
Social media management sites provide free tools to schedule and manage tweets and posts on your most used outlets. My favorite is Hootsuite. I take a little time each month there, scheduling posts in advance. It's a big time saver, and provides exposure for whatever I wish to promote, whether it's friends' or my own work/services or other links and items worth sharing.
Work Smart - Make it Do Double Duty
Many social media outlets allow you to post through them onto other sites. For instance, I set up my Facebook author page's posts to automatically appear on Twitter too. Others, such as Pinterest and Instagram provide the same options. Check the settings to see what options are available. One word of caution - if you are, for example, a frequent pinner on Pinterest, and it's linked to Facebook, your feed can be flooded with posts. So, check the settings and see how much you want to share, or not. Much of course, will depend on your purpose and audience for such.
Joining groups on social media sites like Facebook and Linkedin is another way to make your social media do double duty. Although quality interaction is necessary for you to reap benefits, choosing groups in your niche can offer valuable info and insight as well as help focus your time online. There’s also the potential there to find work and other valuable connections.
Observe What Others are Doing
There are so many great ideas out there just waiting to help you with your social media adventure. Do your research and experiment to see what suits you best. For example, this post at The Write Practice by J.D. Edwin offers info on what’s worked for her, such as creating a Facebook business page to stay on her target audience’s radar.
Find the sweet spot for your goals, and go with it. In her article at Writer CEO, veteran freelancer Jennifer Brown Banks said,
“I don’t have one specific way of garnering clients or readers. It’s usually a combination of referrals, social media shares, and direct pitches to people and publications with whom I ‘d like to partner.”
By trial and error over the years, Banks has discovered what works best for her freelancing business. She’s flexible, ever learning, and knows that balance is essential and as individual as each of us are.
Whether you're a shy or outgoing writer, artist or other creative, or businessperson, there are dozens of handy tools available to strike your right social media balance. Stay the course, with a little effort, you’ll find the right balance.
Do you enjoy social media? Why or why not? What helps you balance social media time with other parts of life?
Image one credit - Free Images
Image two credit - Pixabay