Monday, August 27, 2012

Social Media Monday—Social Media & the Law of Diminishing Returns

A hummingbird is hard to keep up with

At this time there are somewhere between 40 and 60 social media platforms and networks. I say approximately because counting them is about as hard as numbering a charm (flock) of humming birds. And they come and go almost as quickly.

Trying to chase down and join all the networks is not only impossible, it’s completely counterproductive. As writers, we need to remember the purpose of social networking, and it’s not to make a career as a marketer. It’s the means to an end—actually a couple of ends. We want to connect with our audience, and with other industry professionals.

Blogging, Facebook, & Twitter
To that end, there are three things I’ve found productive in almost one hundred percent of situations.
  • Blogging.
  • Facebook.
  • Twitter.
In my opinion, those are the only three mandatory things a writer needs to do to have a valuable presence on the Internet. As you’ve read, I have a couple of other networks I enjoy hanging out on and find valuable, Google Plus and Pinterest. This doesn’t mean those will be valuable for you. I have several friends who find LinkedIn valuable and it has never been so for me.

Another thing I’ve found to be true is the fact that social networking is governed by the law of diminishing returns. I’ve found that spending more than 30 minutes a day ((after you’ve come up to speed and are familiar with social networking tools and platforms) is less effective. And the longer you spend the worse the numbers get.

I spend approximately 30-45 every morning scheduling my main social media updates. Here are some of the things I post:

  • Links to blogs I think my followers will find helpful. 
  • Shout-outs about successes of others have.
  • Questions that start a conversation.
  • Quotes I find funny, poignant, or inspiring. 
Social Media is critical for a successful
online presence
During this time I post about 30-40 updates, scheduled throughout the day on various networks. I always allow at least 10 minutes between scheduled updates, that way if I see something during the day I want to post, I'm not hogging the social media stream.

I also follow my five to one rule. For every one update about me, I schedule five about someone or something else. With this, my social media presence never becomes all about self-promotion.

I do all this through Hootsuite. Here's a post on Why I Use Hootsuite. After I finish scheduling everything, I minimize my Hootsuite window and begin work. Throughout the day I'll pull up my Hootsuite account and take a quick peek. Here's what I'm looking for:

  • Mentions of my name or my blog (so I can thank the person who mentioned me).
  • Interesting articles or blog posts that I can repost to my followers.
  • Successes of friends and business associates so I can congratulate them and spread the good news.
  • Other things I find interesting.

I just take quick looks all day long, spending maybe five to ten minutes at a stretch.

This method of handling social media has proved successful beyond what I ever imagined. When I do this every day, I can count on adding 15-25 new followers every day. And, even more importantly, I'm not cutting into my valuable writing time.

Now I'd like to hear from you. How do you handle social media? Do you have a plan or is it just hit and miss?

Don't forget to join the conversation!


  1. Oh Edie, I've GOT to get my act together when it comes to social media! Thank you for not giving up on me. :-)

  2. You're getting there. You're really not as far behind as you think! I'm here whenever you want to take it to the next level. Blessings, E

  3. I think the 3 you mention are the wisest investments, and Hootsuite makes Facebook and Twitter so manageable! I started setting a timer for my networking. It's easy to waste time and lose focus, but I stay on task when I know an alarm is pending!

    Thanks, Edie!

    1. Susan, setting a timer is a great idea! Thanks for sharing, Blessings, E

  4. Thank you. I use those three. But I need to maximize the time I spent. Promoting others is a major deal and I try to do that too.

    1. Lori, sounds like you're doing the right things. Keep up the good work! Blessings, E

  5. Those are the three I use! I use HootSuite too, but really only to schedule tweets. I haven't been as good about it lately, since I work full time outside the home and that bit of morning time goes to commenting on others' blogs. How necessary do you think that aspect of interaction is?

    1. Lindsay, that's a good question. I know you'll be surprised I have an opinion about it! I do comment on blogs, but I limit myself to 4 in the morning. Then, if I have time, I comment on some others later on. I rarely comment and post to social media on the same blog. The blogger should be following who is mentioning them on Facebook and Twitter, and an update on social media is generally more valuable to them than a comment. That said, we all like to have interaction with our readers and that's why I try to get to 4 blogs and comment every day. If you look at the number I reach during a month, that's a lot of folks I can visit.

      Also, you should add your Facebook and Google Plus accounts to Hootsuite. You'll be able to post to them at the same time you tweet. I know some people complain about hashtags in Facebook updates, but those are becoming fewer and fewer. You want to reach the most with the most efficient use of your time.

      Just my thoughts, Blessings, E

  6. Edie, I'm with you on the big three, although I don't use Facebook as well as I could. I really like using Buffer to help me share links as I'm reading blogs, etc. It automatically schedules them for me, which saves time. I'm glad Hootsuite has added autoschedule as well. I love Susan's idea of a timer!

    1. Julia, we all have our favorites and I'm a lot like you...Facebook isn't it.

      That said, be very careful with letting Buffer automatically schedule your updates. If you mean you tell it when to send the updates out, that's a GREAT way to use it. If you're just plugging them in and letting it determine the time the updates go out, that's less than ideal.

      Often that can result in clogging the stream (posting several consecutive updates). These automatic schedulers look at when your largest audience is online and schedules them then. It does NOT look at how close together the updates are. My recommendation is that you set the times they post.
      Thanks for stopping by! Blessings E

  7. I'm learning. Sigh. I've begun the website, scheduled "hoots" and "tweets" and now I'm beginning to see traffic to my site. You're right. Just do it.

    1. Cindy, you're doing very well. It's important to remember it doesn't happen overnight. The good part of that is once it's built it's sturdy and lasting. Your site looks great and your content is really valuable! Blessings, E

  8. Edie, I really appreciate your posts on social media. They're very helpful. =]

  9. Edie,
    I'm still learning...haven't used Hootsuite for a while because the last time I scheduled something it was posted too early and I had to go and delete everything. However, I love to learn new things and I'm not giving up on hootsuite.
    Thanks so much for continuing to teach and encourage us. Your posts are always so helpful!