Monday, October 9, 2017

When Social Media Doesn’t Work – It Could Because of Unrealistic Expectations

Don't let unrealistic expectations keep you from social media success!
by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

“I’m not getting any traction with social media,” is one of the complaints I hear a lot as I travel and teach writers how to connect.

There are a lot of reasons people feel this way, a few are legit, but most are just unreasonable expectations. Today I’m going to address the unrealistic exception for social media that many have.
Unrealistic Expectations
The more time I spend on Facebook and Twitter, the more friends and followers I’ll have.  I’ve addressed this one several times, but I still hear it the most. Truthfully, after you’ve come up to speed on social media, spending more than thirty minutes a day on social media will trap you in the law of diminishing returns. This is a case of work smarter, not harder.

I’m spending time talking about my book, but my sales aren’t reflecting that. If you’re sending out most of your social media updates on yourself or your product, you’ve missed the point of social media. Social media is about building one-on-one relationships, it’s NOT an advertising platform. Building relationships will increase your reach and more people will hear about your book. THAT is where your increase in sales will come. Making your social media updates all about (or even one half about) you will drive people away and you may see a decrease.

Social Media is a fast way to increase my reach. Well…not so much. Like anything worthwhile it takes time—and consistency—to build a following. It took me about nine months to go from about seventy-five Twitter followers to one thousand. Then about a year to go from that to ten thousand followers.

I need to stay current with all the new social media platforms. Again, not really. The thinner you spread yourself, the shallower your reach. To get to the majority of your audience who’s on social media, you need to hang out on Twitter and Facebook. And you need to have a place where you are blogging regularly—that can be a personal blog or a group blog. Depending on what genre you write, you may have to add in Instagram or Snapchat.

I need to balance my time equally between Facebook, Twitter and Blogging. You do need to have a presence on all three, but you’ll find your own sweet spot. That’s where you need to concentrate your efforts. Do you have five thousand Facebook fans and only seven hundred Twitter followers? Then Facebook is your sweet spot. Spend the majority of your time there. Maintain an audience with the other two, but go with your passion. That strategy will always get you further. Beyond that, you’ll enjoy it more.

A social media platform is more important than anything to sell your book to a publisher. It is important, but without an excellent product (a well-written manuscript) it’s practically worthless. That’s another reason it’s so vital to limit our social media time to no more than thirty minutes a day.

Social media isn’t a fast pass to a super Internet presence. The old adage is true, anything worth having takes…well…work.

BUT that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work at it. It’s a vital piece of the puzzle—whether you’re searching for a traditional publisher or launching the book by yourself.  

What expectations have you found that are unrealistic when it comes to social media? Do you struggle in a specific area—if so, share your thoughts in the comments section and we'll see if we can come up with a solution.

Don't forget to join the conversation

When #socialmedia doesn't work, it could be because of unrealistic expectations - @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Don't let unrealistic expectations stand between you and social media - @EdieMelson (Click To Tweet)


  1. Thanks for sharing Ms. Edie. Haven't even gotten my "feet wet" yet, but your posts give me the confidence to wade in.

    1. Jim, come on in, the social media water is fine! Blessings, E

  2. Edie, when I attended a round table discussion you led, you gave us a number to be mindful of on Twitter. I believe it was the gap between our number of followers and the number of people we are following. Maybe the number was 2,000? Can you remind me about this and why that number mattered? I thought I wrote it in my notes, but I can't find it. I'm slowly growing my Twitter following and want to make sure I'm doing it effectively. -- I appreciate your advice to find our sweet spot and not feel pressured to engage in several social media platforms. And I wish I were better at following your advice about how much time we shouldn't spend on social media. The 30-minute rule about diminishing returns helps. Thanks!

    1. Karen, there's an invisible ceiling on twitter. If you hit the 2000 FOLLWING number (that's people/accounts you're following) and have you less than 2000 FOLLOWERS (People/account that follow you) then you won't be allowed to follow another account until your followers reach the 2000 mark. Because of this, I recommend you make sure your ration is larger in the number of followers, than the number you're following. If that's the case, you'll sail through the 2000 mark and never even know there's a ceiling. Blessings, E

  3. Edie, Thank you for the reminders.I am working at your formula and it gives me more freedom to write. God Bless, Jann