The Social Challenge
One of the challenges of social media is the fact that you are mixing a 24 * 7 * 365 medium with human limitations. You cannot be active all that time, your body simply won’t allow it. Part of the social challenge for the writer is when and how we connect with others.
I dread going back on to Facebook having been away for a long weekend, I know there will be many notifications to take care of. To be clear I don’t dread the notifications, just the volume of them. I make use of Buffer to automate many of my postings. It doesn’t however, handle the sharing or retweet notifications, likes and people following you. I would not wish it to either.
A writer friend recently wrote about how she had gotten bored of Facebook and what she regarded as a social challenge. Is there a persistent need to post on social sites? She was starting to question whether being active of social networks was the right approach. The seeming constant duty to write posts about your blog material can get overwhelming. Some writers seem to spend the whole day updating their social networks.
This is one of the reasons why I use Buffer. She is right, with social media our moods change day to day. Yesterday you may have been bright and bubbly, yet today you feel sad, lonely and un-original. Nothing has happened, the mood is different, that is all. Unlike a corporate marketing department, you cannot swap yourself out for a bubblier personality. Should you be posting at all if you are not in the mood to make a positive contribution? Could you be negating the good work that you have done before because you have a bad mood? The question should be asked.
The Blogger’s Story
As an individual writer, working alone, we must be cognizant of these facts and plan how to interact on social sites. For the blogger stopping their social interactions can mean losing a significant readership. According to Forbes, social media drives an average of 30% of traffic to all sites. My site statistics show a higher percentage, over 50%, but the nature of the blog is different to brand websites.
What choice does the blogger have? Social media, is their advertising medium. Part of the social challenge is persistently adding new posts. There are tools to help you save time in your social interactions. Some have free account options. These include:
- Buffer — post to Buffer, which add future social updates. Awesome plan allows 100 posts to 10 social profiles, costing $102 per year.
- Hootsuite — allows you to manage all your social interactions from one place. Schedule messages. Cost $9.99 per month.
- Likeable Hub — provides pre-canned post ideas. A marketing solution based on generating referrals and leads. Free service available, but VIP option is $19.99 per month.
- Social Oomph — schedule tweets, track performance. You can upgrade for $17.97 (for 2 weeks when you need it) which has a lot of options available.
- Mav Social — Add your RSS feed, builds a content library. Create and manage campaigns. Small business option is free.
- Social Pilot — Social media marketing tool. Basic plan is $4.99 per month and includes 250 posts in the queue, 50 posts per day.
Use of Tools
I am not making any recommendation about any of these tools. Personally, I use Buffer and spend 10 to 20 minutes buffering new social posts. I don’t pay for the service, but have often considered doing so. When Hootsuite had a free service, I used that.
When tools are available it is always sensible to leverage them to your advantage. Tools are only part of the story. Use tools when the mood permits. Tools can allow you to automate some of your work but they don’t replace the need to connect with others on a personal level, the real social challenge.
Generating an Income?
Monetizing blogs is not a priority for every blogger. I include a brief discussion here because a monetized blog will impact your social interactions. You may at some point become conscious of the need to make money from your social interactions. This can negatively impact readership for some time. Let me say there is nothing wrong with generating an on-line income. It is not for everyone. Yet there are some authoritative sites that are self-sufficient because they were monetized.
In addition, having products to market can certainly help readership. I am developing a couple of booklets that I will include for sale later this year. Your social interactions will change when you have products to market because not everything you post will be about your blog. At some point you will post a pure advert pointing to the item for sale. It is preferable to keep the landing page associated with your blog. it can help drive traffic.
Social Posting is not the Most Important Thing
As writers, we adopt the mindset of needing to advertise our work through social channels. It is possible to get so wrapped up in the social challenge, posting as if there is no tomorrow. Yet it is not the most important thing in the world, compared to your own sanity (or lack of). I have experienced the roller-coaster of emotions of using social media, it is a great social challenge. Whilst I am convinced of its value to the writer I am coming to the view that there is something more to becoming known. It takes more than headlines and social media to get yourself known and make your site popular. Open yourself up to new contacts. I have readers coming back every day, but I always wish for more.
Links from blogs and other sites represents approximately 5% of my readership. I am grateful when people link to my pages, it should mean I am doing something right. It is my goal to grow the number of people visiting my site this way. Doing this means working with other writers to cross promote work. Cross promotion is something we should be exploring more. Can we build tools that allow us to cross promote?
The conclusion of this path of thought is that developing social connections is more important than Facebook, Twitter, etc. Is that the great social challenge bloggers face? Arguably we should be thinking more about influence than social interaction, which depends in part with the rapport we build with the people in our social network. I have some connections for whom this is true, but need to develop it for other network connections. Your mood can greatly impact your social media posting, with this in mind it is better to post nothing when your heart and mind is not in it.
Buy Peter B. Giblett a coffee to thank him for the social challenge bloggers face. Do we need to do more to interact with our potential audience? This is an interesting question and I would love to hear your opinion via a comment. The images included here are from royalty free public domain image collections, Pixabay, or from Peter Giblett’s collection.
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