"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What's Your Social Media I.Q.? How to Align the Right Forum to Your Creative Goals

  
In an effort to reconnect and encourage repeat business, I emailed a former client to get a “status report” on what she had accomplished since we last spoke.
She excitedly told me that she had shut down her blog, and was instead using Instagram to build her platform and her fan base. She boasted that she had garnered dozens of followers to date.

Bad move. Based upon the goals that she had previously shared. But not uncommon for today’s writers and bloggers bombarded with an array of social media options and opportunities.


There’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIN, Pinterest and Google+. And new ones are cropping up all the time. Variety might be the "spice of life," but there’s a downside here. Not knowing how to align social media forums correctly to your creative goals, means you will waste time, hinder progress, burn out quicker, and rob yourself of countless hours that could be devoted to other marketing and money-making pursuits. Not managed correctly, it can be a real “time suck.” “And time is money.”

There’s a better way. Here’s a “cheat sheet” to determine the best use of your marketing time and efforts, to help you become more social media savvy and profitable in days ahead.
But before we explore, try this Social Media I.Q. Quiz, to find out where you stand.

TRUE OR FALSE?
1. All social media options are created equally.
2. In order to make social media work, it’s important to “engage” for two hours every day.
3. Social media is the only way to “win friends and influence people.”
4. FaceBook is the best forum for searching for clients?

If you answered False to All of the above questions, move to the head of the class.

Now for that CHEAT SHEET

THE PLATFORM:
TWITTER
BEST USED FOR:
This micro-blogging (140 characters) marketing tool is like the “fast food” of communications. It’s quick and convenient, and doesn’t require a great investment of time and money. It’s ideal for creating a buzz and sharing useful links; but not necessarily for creating meaningful dialogue, establishing your expertise, or making money. Used in tandem with other marketing tools, however, it could have significant impact. One social media guru shares: “If you Tweet something, it’s kind of like throwing a message in a bottle into the ocean, isn’t it? You don’t really know who will read it … or if anyone will. However, if somebody subscribes to a blog or YouTube channel, they are asking for your content. There is a good chance they will actually see it.”

THE PLATFORM:
FACEBOOK
BEST USED FOR:
FaceBook is perhaps the most popular of all the social media options. It’s ideal for showing your social side, sharing images, connecting with friends, creating dialogue and debating hot topics. Can also be used to place ads to market certain aspects of your business. It can be likened to casual dating. Easy, fun, with an array of opportunities and chance meetings. Not typically the best place to cultivate serious client relationships; although results may vary. One thing to consider here as well, is that you just never know what a friend, associate, “rival” or family member will post or disclose in your forum. I’ve seen some pretty raunchy and misplaced “conversations,” along with images that were in poor taste, displayed on other’s pages. And it’s not unheard of for folks to sometimes engage in “FaceBook wars.” Be forewarned.

THE PLATFORM:
INSTAGRAM
BEST USED FOR:
Designed for photo sharing, posting videos and social networking. Essentially, it allows users to share their images and creativity via multiple platforms, such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Used quite often by the “Generation Y” to keep in touch with friends and share “Selfies”. I am of the opinion that it’s more recreational than professional in nature. And as such, would not support many business goals. Has your experience been different here?

THE PLATFORM:
LINKEDIN
BEST USED FOR:
LinkeDIn is a great forum for freelance networking and showcasing professional achievements. Allows users to look for creative gigs, display their credentials, and even allows for peers and clients to endorse your services and provide testimonials. Additionally, it enables others to view your business connections and who’s within your “circle.” And as they say: “You are judged by the company you keep.” Though I have not used it often, author and blogger Marcie Hill states that: “It is one of the best social networking tools” she has found for making money and achieving business objectives. It’s also great for joining supportive groups that share your particular interests or industry.

THE PLATFORM:
PINTEREST
BEST USED FOR:
Think of it as an online “bulletin board”. It’s very visually-centric. Participants post or “pin” collections of their favorite things, which can range from: recipes, crafts, links to articles, and other goodies. It’s great for growing an audience and sharing creative ideas. Can be successfully used by hobbyists, as well as entrepreneurs. For a more detailed account on social media and how to approach it strategically, check out this informative post at the Businesses Grow site :

http://www.businessesgrow.com/2015/06/01/best-social-media-platforms/

Additionally, to optimize your efforts, you should have a Social Media Marketing Plan in place that establishes how many hours you will devote to your goals on a weekly basis, which platforms you'll incorporate, and what you hope to achieve.

Your turn...

What are your thoughts here? What's your favorite social media platform?
Do you agree or disagree with this social media assessment?

8 comments:

  1. This is helpful because I am not up to par on all of the social media possibilities. Sometimes it seems overwhelming.

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  2. Thanks for the insight and tips, Jennifer. I probably use FB the most, with Twitter coming in second. I need to step up my game on LinkedIn.

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  3. Lin,

    I agree; it can be overwhelming for most of us. :-) Thanks for sharing your thoughts today.

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  4. Karen,

    I've heard a lot of positive things about LinkeDin. I plan to use it more aggressively in 2016. I appreciate your time and feedback.

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  5. Hi Jennifer -

    Thanks for the summary on the benefits/drawbacks of several social media platforms. Most of my Social Media time is spent on Facebook. I throw in a smattering of Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Goodreads. I also blog twice a week.

    All of them can eat up hours, but Facebook is the one that's dangerous in that area because I enjoy it so much. Keeping the social media and writing in balance is a daily struggle.

    Thanks,
    Susan

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    Replies
    1. Hi Susan,

      Thanks for adding to the mix here. We have to be careful that when social media "eats up hours" that it contributes to the fruits of our labor. :-)
      As for me? I have never quite understood the fascination of FaceBook. Though I do "indulge" from time to time.

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  6. Hi Jennifer - such a useful post ... and I'll be using it to refer to ... I don't do a lot - but will move in that direction soon ...

    Cheers Hilary

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  7. Hi Hilary,

    How lovely to hear from you today! Thanks so much for your time and feedback.

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