Every new social media platform seems to bring an ever-greater amount of hype along with it.
These tools will revolutionize how we connect with one another as a species. – Every social media critic, ever
Some of us have been using social platforms to hang out on the web since the late 1980s, and the thing that’s been most striking is how not revolutionary they are.
They all allow you to expand your potential audience with surprising speed. They’re all a battle for your audience’s attention, with dozens or hundreds of competing messages floating by in any given session. And they can all suck every moment of your day if you aren’t careful.
So today we’re going to talk about how a smart content marketer uses social media — and how to put up some boundaries that will preserve time to get your work done, spend time with your family, and all that other important stuff.
1. Social media is a sharing platform
Smart people on social sites look smart because they share a lot of good stuff. That means you need to make sure your content is the kind of thing smart people will want to share.
What makes for shareable content? It’s a lot of what we’ve talked about already.
- It has a killer headline. Believe it or not, lots of folks online will share a piece strictly based on whether the headline makes the promise of a good read.
- For most sites, it has a great post image. Images are prominent on most social sites, like Facebook or Google+. On Pinterest, of course, they’re the main event. Strong post images will help your content get read and shared.
- Clean, good-looking site design with highly user-friendly formatting makes for a great reader experience — and that will increase your shares.
- Sites that get rid of plagues like slow load times or obtrusive pop-ups often see social sharing go up.
- And of course, all of the other elements of high-quality content that we’ve already talked about.
Most important, make your content remarkably useful and reasonably entertaining and reader-friendly. That’s the kind of content that influential social media mavens like to share.
2. Social media is a curation platform
One use, of course, of a social media account for your business is to share your own content on a platform your users are likely to be using.
But don’t just share your own content. Share anything you think is likely to be useful to your audience on that platform.
Look for the same useful, entertaining mix that you strive for on your own site. You can also share a few things just for a smile, or an “aha!” moment of inspiration. Share what your audience will enjoy, and will re-share themselves.
Look for content that triggers high arousal emotions that are more likely to go viral (in other words, to get widely shared). And if you have a talent for such things, you might use a meme generator to create a few images of your own. It’s a good idea to include your website name (not your Facebook or other page) on any meme images you create, so the attention you attract can be directed back into your business.
3. Social media is a connection platform
This is the way that most social media gurus think you should be using the social web — and it has a few advantages. It’s fun, and it helps your audience see that you’re a real, caring human being.
The problem is, it’s a horrifying time sink. And sadly often, it’s a waste of your time. Schmoozing on social media feels like work, but unless you’re connecting with someone who can actually move your business forward, a little goes a long way.
One connection strategy that can be quite useful, though, is to use social media platforms to strengthen connections with other web publishers in your topic. Most bloggers have a bit of a social media addiction. (Twitter is the most likely hangout for bloggers in most topics, but look around and see what holds true for your niche.) Social media hangouts are a good place to let those publishers know you’re smart, a cool person, and someone they might want to work with.
Your sanity saver strategy #1:
Always remember that social media is a secondary activity. Most of the time, you don’t want to spend hundreds of hours or thousands of dollars creating a big presence on a social media site.
Instead of focusing on how many Google+ circles you’re in or how many Facebook Likes you’ve collected, focus on your business, your email list, and your primary site first. That’s particularly helpful when your social media site makes an annoying change — which they always seem to do eventually.
Your sanity saver strategy #2:
You want to set fairly crisp boundaries around your social media time. It’s the nature of these sites to invite “just one more refresh” — and before you know it, the most productive chunk of your day is gone forever.
The best boundary-setting tool is a simple timer — it can be one on your computer, your phone, or just an ordinary kitchen timer. Decide in advance how long you’re willing to devote to each social site you use. Also decide what time you’ll do that (avoiding your peak productivity hours).
When the timer goes off, close the window and move on. Don’t keep a social media window open all day — at least if you ever want to get any real work done.
– The Copyblogger Team