Monday, April 6, 2015

Lacking Social Media Momentum? It Could be an All or Nothing Mindset

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Stop the destructive cycle of all or nothing social media.
I’ve been teaching writers how to use social media to grow an online platform for years. I’ve developed this blog, spent years teaching at conferences, as well as consulting with groups and ministries. 

Unfortunately, the one thing I see over and over again, is excited people who try to take everything I teach and apply it in a crazy-short amount of time. 

In every class I teach, I warn against spending more than 30 minutes a day building an online platform, but I can’t seem to combat the rush of enthusiasm that infects some.

Then, these excited, energized folks become the victims of the destructive cycle of all or nothing social media. Today, I’d like to expand on this concept and explain what can happen if you find yourself caught in the whirlpool of this mindset. I’ll also offer some ways to help you regain your equilibrium.

Beware the trap of too much social media.
Beware the Trap of Too MUCH Social Media
This cycle usually begins when someone is trying to become comfortable with a new platform or way of approaching social media. They’ll spend hours on end, over the course of a few days, or for the hardier souls, the course of a few weeks. At first, the results multiply and that taste of victory spurs them to more intense work.

But true platform building with social media cannot be rushed.

Just like a builder must wait for a poured foundation to cure, social media interactions must be allowed room to breathe. Here are just a few reasons it takes time to gain traction:
  • When we follow someone, it takes time for them to find that we followed them and follow us back.
  • Not everyone is online at the same time. So a concentrated burst of updates within a few hours will net us fewer views than a few updates over the course of twenty-four hours.
  • Everyone manages social media differently. I check my followers 2 – 3 times a week. That’s when I decide who to follow back and interact with on a deeper level.

Beyond the downside of the above-mentioned issues, there’s also the very real issue of burn-out. After that first heady rush of platform building victory, there’s very little movement on the momentum front and frustration begins to take over.

I see the mindset of:
I invested all this time, and only have this to show for it.

Truthfully, if this poor soul had invested the same amount of time over several days and/or weeks, the growth would have been phenomenal.

Tips to stop the cycle.
So how do we stop the cycle?
1. Set a time limit—and stick to it!
2. Set goals—reasonable goals.
3. Take on a single platform at a time. Get started and established before tackling another.
4. Use a scheduling program like Hootsuite or Buffer, to multiple your exposure and limit the time you spend.

One of the gems those successful with social media learn early one is that the when is almost always more important than the how much.

But isn’t there ANYTHING to do with all that excitement?
Yes, actually there is. But be very careful not to spend too much time on even the tasks I’m about to mention. Burnout is still a very real side affect of even these jobs.

Things we can spend time on.
Things We Can Spend Time On
1. Composing your bio/about me section of each platform. These section is a key place others use to gage whether they want to interact with you. I simply cannot stress the importance of getting this right.

2. Check your consistency. Beyond getting it right, you also want your bio to be consistent from platform to platform. This can be tricky because the word count of your bio is different on each network. So you have to play around with it a bit.

3. Generating a good cover image for all your networks. Here’s a link to my Twitter homepage. You can see my cover image is my upcoming book. I use the same cover for all my networks.

4. Choosing a consistent avatar image for all your networks. My image isn’t exactly the same for every single network, but it’s very recognizable, even in the thumbnail size. That’s critical so people can connect with you in different places. They may discover you on Facebook, but they prefer to interact with people on Twitter, so they’ll search for you there. If you can’t be found, you’ve just lost a lot of potential interaction.

5. Research. Take a look at people who are where you want to be on a given platform. Study the way they interact. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Instead learn from those who are where you want to be.

Bottom Line
The biggest thing to remember is that when it comes to building a platform—just like anything else in life—you get what you put into it. There are no free rides or short cuts to building a solid online presence.

Now it’s your turn. Have you been bitten by the all or nothing cycle? How do you combat the temptation to spend too much time on social media?

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


Treating #socialmedia with an all or nothingmindset is counterproductive – @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)


  1. Once again, you've been a tremendous help to me, Edie! I definitely tend to get caught in the "all or nothing" cycle. I appreciate the breakdown of only needing to do 30 minutes a day. That seems so much more manageable! And your tips for what to focus on are also very helpful. Thanks!

    1. Jerusha, it's an easy trap to fall in to. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Blessings, E

  2. Thank you so much. I have been reducing my time on social media. Twitter has been fun. I go there 3x per day just to tweet a little something or thank someone for following me. It has birthed opportunities to be published in online magazines. #amwriting has opened up a whole new world for me. Thank you again for your investment in us. We appreciate you.

    1. Cherrilynn, great insight! You're going about building an online presence the right way. Thanks so much for stopping by, Blessings, E

  3. So true; no free rides. Thanks for the good advise. I'm struggling with goal setting. I have so little time but I know I can get better with this. Some days all I want to do is query when I should be finishing a piece. Some days I want to write when I know it's query time or research time or edit time. It's like a job, you don't get to pick and choose at times. You have to prioritize. Thanks again.

    1. Beth, you are so right! As creatives, we want to work where our moods lead us. The struggle is to harness those drives to work for us instead of against us! Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

  4. Edie,

    A very timely post.

    I've been feeling like a gerbil on a wheel ever since opening a Twitter account even though it doesn't seem like I put much time into it and I only check for new followers once or twice a week. I've reduced the level of participation in the last month or so, but have still felt overwhelmed to the point of considering giving it up altogether.

    But I know I spend more than 30 minutes a day, so maybe I'll work on cutting back to 30 minutes a day and see what happens.

    Thanks for this post and your very sane advice!

    Carrie Lynn Lewis

    1. Carrie, it's so easy to get overwhelmed and not be able to tell if you're doing too much or too little. That's part of the time component that's inherent with this new online world. Keep it to 30 minutes a day and give yourself a few months. Let me know if you have any questions at all. I'm here to help! Blessings, E

  5. Edie, this is helpful as always. I don't tend to be an all or nothing sort of gal, but I know I spend more than 30 minutes a day on social media. If you count the blogs I visit. :)

    I especially liked your #5 for things we can spend time on. I hadn't even thought to do this. I'm definitely going to begin doing some research to see what others are doing.

    Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom!

  6. Thanks for the tips. It's stressful to try to do it all in one go, not to mention inefficient and counter-productive.

  7. Oh yes, Edie I definitely fall into the all or nothing mindset. Thanks for the continual reminders and support about how to do this right. You are such an inspiration for us. BTW, I love your new book cover!