I’ve been thinking quite a bit over the last few weeks about social media – all that it means and can offer. As I work to grow my freelance business, social media presence continues to become more and more important as a networking tool, but also as a medium to spread new stories and share articles.
Lately, I’ve been backing off of a few different channels that I was pursuing in the past. For instance, whereas I was posting to Facebook a few times a day (particularly when a blog post was dropping), I’m now posting once a week if that. I’ve completely ditched Google +. Mostly, I’ve been focusing my time and resources on Twitter, which seems to be the most applicable place to share my thoughts, links, and opinions.
Social Media – Be Everywhere
Much of the current approach to social media involves using multiple channels to “cast a wide net” and reach as many customers as possible. This intuitively makes sense. Businesses need to meet their clients where the conversations are happening. If customers are logging onto Facebook and commenting about their product or service, they need to join the conversation (same for Twitter, Instagram, etc).
But, it also has some downsides as well.
First off, managing multiple social media accounts proves to be extremely time-consuming. For businesses, they may have a social media person dedicated to tweeting, posting, and liking. But, for the individual, every social media post takes away from their actual work with no guarantee on return.
Posting to multiple social media streams also dilutes an individual’s message. For example, I liken managing multiple accounts to being the host of a dinner party. Managing multiple networks is quickly moving through the party saying hello to all the guests and engaging in some small chit-chat but nothing more. Specializing in one social stream is akin to having a deep, thought-provoking conversation with a select group. Sure, your overall exposure is less, but the focused conversations ensure that you are remembered.
Benefits to One Network
A few weeks ago, I ditched many of my social networks and decided to concentrate on only one – Twitter. By focusing solely on one channel, I expected the following:
- Less hassle – more time to focus on projects and pitches
- More focused message – one platform, one voice
- Better analytics and tracking – messages are concentrated to one management tool
- Increased performance – goal would be to improve performance on that one network specifically
It’s definitely been less of a hassle to post consistently. Through using Buffer (more explained below), my analytics and tracking are now in one place (mainly). As for the increased performance and focused message, time will tell.
I wanted to briefly mention why I chose Twitter for the one social sharing tool. You may benefit from another network, but for me, the choice was rather easy.
- It limits folks to 140 characters so it’s quickly readable unlike some Facebook posts which turn out to be short blog posts.
- I can interact with literally anyone across the world – no “friending” needed. Twitter is much less intrusive.
- My “timeline” is easily sortable as I group nearly everyone in one of a few private lists. When I want to read about fitness, I just flip to that list. (For the record, I think lists are probably the most underutilized tool on Twitter.)
- Messages aren’t prioritized. Facebook increasingly uses different algorithms to show what they feel is most applicable or interesting to you based on your past actions. With Twitter, everything is presented in the order it was posted. This also factors in when I schedule posts ahead of time since they aren’t killed by EdgeRank.
Simplifying the Process
For those that are interested, my “strategy” for Twitter goes like this:
- Daily: Search through Twitter, RSS reader, and the internet for popular and interesting articles mainly covering health, fitness, productivity, and writing. To narrow down those topics, I used Twitter Analytics to see what my followers were most interested in.
- Daily: Plug those articles into Buffer, which is set to post six times a day at intervals that are predetermined. These intervals are based on when my particular followers are online (More on that here).
- Daily: Having Twitter open all day has proven to be a massive productivity killer. I turned off all notifications on my phone and computer for replies and retweets. Instead, I block off several five-minute intervals throughout the day to log-in and interact with the various lists I’ve set-up.
- Weekly: I check stats on either Friday or Saturday mainly consisting of the Buffer stats for each post and Twitter analytics for number of followers. Then, I make some adjustments for the following week based on which articles and particular wordings did best.
Picking One Place for Conversation
I recognize that conversing on one social media platform probably isn’t for everyone especially if you’re a business that has to meet the customers where they’re interacting not force them to come meet you. When I post blog posts now, I also rely on one social media stream to promote and have lost out on my most significant traffic source (Facebook). But, I have seen a steady increase in the amount of traffic from Twitter, and I expect that to consistently rise.
For me, it’s made life much easier. I haven’t deleted my Facebook, and I doubt I ever will (mostly to keep tabs on friends and keep track of events). But, for the time being, I’ve largely dumped it from my daily routine.
It’s important to realize that although social media is a necessary part of promoting yourself and amplifying your message, it can turn out to be a drain on your most important resource – time. Use it wisely.