Tuesday, January 14, 2014

“Social Media Doesn’t Work for Me!” How to Fix It, Part Two

by Edie Melson

In yesterday’s post I listed out some of the reasons social media doesn’t seem to work. I also shared some suggestions on how to start making it work. You can read the details in “Social Media Doesn’t Work for Me!Part One.

Today, I’d like to give you some ideas of where to come up with social media updates that don’t just add to the noise. That’s the whole key to posting things on social media—learning to share something of value. But it goes even deeper than that, learning to share something that’s valuable to YOU.

Learn to be Genuine
I love to interact with others on social media when I’m fairly certain the person behind the profile is real, not just cardboard. Not just a real human—that’s usually obvious. But someone who is being genuine. That’s when those serendipitous relationships and insights appear most often. That’s what you want to do. You want to portray yourself as yourself, not a cardboard cutout of who you think you need to be online.

So where do you find valuable things on the Internet? It’s easier than you may think, and it ties directly into being genuine. Simply share things that interest you.

Now don’t get me wrong, don’t get too broad in your sharing habits. You still want to be focused. For example, I’ve determined the focus I want for my social media. I share about writing, for businesses and writers, and I share about writing, and about reading speculative fiction. So I look for things that interest me within those broad categories.

When you’re still defining your audience—figuring out who they are—you can be a little bit wider in the big categories. But during that phase you have to pay attention. You’re not just shooting buckshot, trying to hit anything in sight. You’re trying to narrow your focus, and find your audience. So you need to:
  • Pay attention to the comments your social media do and do not generate. If you’re updating about shopping and you never get a single comment, then cross that option off your list. That audience isn’t for you.
  • Notice which updates get shared. With social media there are levels of interaction. Liking a post or favoriting a tweet is good, but it’s the easiest thing to do, requiring the least effort on the part of the audience. The next interaction is commenting on FB or replying on Twitter. The best thing is sharing on Facebook and retweeting on Twitter.  Notice what happens—and how often—these things happen. Hootsuite is a good tool to let you see this. 

Offering Something of Value—The Specifics
I’ve talked theory, no let’s get specific. There are many different ways to offer something of value to your audience. And it’s important to utilize several different ones for variety and interest.
  • Promote someone else—this gives you credibility with your audience. Don’t be afraid of the competition. It may seem counterintuitive, but the relationships you build with others who offer similar products or services can advance both of you.
  • Don’t waste people’s time just to get your name out there. Make certain that what you talk about online has value.
  • Keep it positive. Don’t ever forget that what you say online may outlast you. Take it from someone who knows—don’t say anything negative about a person, product or service—ever.
  • Don’t be a Stream Hog. Translated this means keep yourself to no more than a couple of social media updates in a row. Otherwise you’ll highjack the stream and irritate those who follow you.

How I Find My Updates
  • Every morning I spend about thirty minutes scheduling my main Tweets and Facebook posts for the day. I usually line up at least 20 – 30 updates for the day. I try to schedule them evenly throughout the day so I can reach people in different time zones. Here are some of the things I try to include every day.
  • I search my inbox for interesting articles from my favorite blogs and online resources.
  • I post updates from my regular writing related blogs, including My Book Therapy, the Blue Ridge Conference site, Novel Rocket and Chip MacGregor’s blog. There are many others, but these are some of my favorites.
  • I look to see which of my friends’ blogs have sent me an email update and I try to highlight those. But be careful here. Your loyalty is to your audience, not your writer friends. You won’t be doing anyone any favors by posting things your audience isn’t interested in.
  • Most days I include something about my blog or books, but not always. A lot of the people I interact with on social media are as diligent about posting info about others as I am.
During the day, while I’m working I check Hootsuite periodically to see who’s retweeted or mentioned me. I do try to do an @reply to anyone who highlights something I’ve done. This accomplishes two things—it gives them a mention and it’s a public way to say thank you. A lot of people ask me if my schedule has been beneficial? You better believe it! I’ve reached over 12,000 followers on Twitter and I’ve been adding between 15 and 20 followers a day.

Now it’s your turn again. How can I help you with your specifics? List your questions and thoughts in the comments section.

And . . . don’t forget to join the conversation!


Social Media Mentor @EdieMelson shares tips to make social media work for you - even if you're frustrated and fed up! (Click to Tweet)


  1. These are good hints, Edie. On most, I'm there but I've got to get the hand of scheduling comments and tweets. :)

    1. Ane, I think you do have a great social media presence. I think when you add scheduling to the mix you'll be shocked about how much it helps. Blessings, E

  2. Do you do all your posts (blog posts, too) through Hootsuite? I've noticed that you can even install a desktop application for it. Is it worth it?

    1. Angie, I do all my social media through Hootsuite, but not blog posts. I use Hootsuite on my desktop, but I also love the mobile app. Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

  3. I'm trying to improve my Tweeting. I look at my twitter page and see a ton of solicitations from others. I scroll past those seeking something with meat. Good advice, a nice comment, a shootout, something other than come buy my whatever. Keeping this in mind, I am working to provide more of these kinds of tweets.

    1. Mary, you can bypass the nonsense by using Hootsuite and sorting your streams by keyword. I have streams for #write #amwriting and #amediting. Looking at what you post from the view of your audience will almost always guarantee valuable stuff from you! Blessings, E

  4. I have to learn how to schedule my updates and use Hootsuite. What kind of updates do you suggest for a yet unpublished children's author? I've been working at it on Facebook by letting others get to know me through my posts, keeping them updated on the progress of my journey, and trying to promote others. Is that a good start? Or am I headed in the wrong direction? I greatly appreciate your blog about social media. Thanks again for all your hard work! God bless! :)

    1. Rene, that is definitely the right direction. Just keep with my 5 to 1 rule and you'll be fine. Thanks so much for your encouragement! Blessings, E

  5. Another great article Edie - thanks for hammering into the specifics of your approach.

  6. Replies
    1. Kim, thanks for the encouragment, Blessings, E

  7. Edie, here is my struggle. I used to sell popular kitchen products. After my demonstration, I would jokingly say, "I'll be in the back room if you want to order anything. No pressure." It always got a laugh. On the other end, I had a friend say that her friends hated to see her coming because they knew she was going to ask them to buy something, host a party or do a catalog show. Where is the middle ground between 'if they like me they will find me' and 'oh no...another post'? I am hesitant to auto post on FB. I only post once a week, but I feel like even that is too much and they will hide me or block me. If they like me they will subscribe to my blog is my thought. (And thanks for subscribing to my blog, by-the-way.)

    1. Erin, that's a legitimate struggle. But the truth is, there's so much on the Internet now, chances are they won't find you unless you make an effort to be visible. That said, you're right - do NOT auto post to anything. First, it doesn't do much good because we're immune to computer-generated posts - we just ignore them. Second, you can end up accidentally spamming your followers.

      Instead, use my 5 to 1 rule. For every 5 updates, send one out about you. People won't dread your updates and they'll appreciate the good things you have to say (and you do have good stuff - there's a reason I subscribe to your blog!). Here's a post I wrote for those who struggle with any kind of self-promotion http://thewriteconversation.blogspot.com/2013/04/weekend-worshipthe-word-of-my-testimony.html

      Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

  8. Nice post, Really very informative post.Social Media is really very helpful.