Monday, August 13, 2018

Plotting Your Social Media Course: Know Where You Are & Where You Want to Go

By Edie Melson @EdieMelson

When I teach social media, I encourage people to relax and not take on too much at once.So today I want to back up and start at the very beginning. Because social media can reach millions, it’s way too easy to think of it as mass marketing. In reality it’s about one-on-one relationships.

That is the beauty and the dichotomy of the medium. It can be overwhelming—this building relationships with millions—especially when our goal is writing, not advertising. Now the good news: social media is not as difficult as it seems.

It Begins with Community
In many ways, it’s a return to small town thinking. In times past, people
patronized merchants because the proprietors were their neighbors or friends. In this day and time, we also find neighbors and friends on Facebook, Twitter and in blogging communities. And those communities are where we need to concentrate our efforts.

It's vitally important to realize that, despite the bad rap it's gotten, social networking and writers are a natural match. Social networking is all about connecting with people through our words—not walking into a room full of strangers, standing on a platform and speaking. We can sit at our desks, write and reach the entire world.

That said, it IS all about connecting with others. If you're NOT willing to be found by others, then the writing industry as it stands today is gonna be tough for you.

Where to Begin 
There are two things you need: 
  • You’ve got to know where you are.
  • You’ve got to know where you’re going.
You are Here
To evaluate where you are, you need to know your numbers.
  • How many friends/followers do you have on Facebook?
  • How many followers do you have on Twitter?
  • What other social media networks are you a part of? Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. Add those numbers here.
You also need to know where you rank in search engines.
  • Plug your name into Google and see where you are. Do you show up on the first page of a Google search?
  • Plug your name into other search engines (,, etc) and see where you show up there, too.
  • Now search your blog name, if it’s different from your name, and see where you show up.
  • Finally, search some of your blog topics. Don’t just search your blog post titles, but the actual topics. For instance, I wrote a post titled, Social Media Strategies in the New World of Algorithms. When I plug that title into the search engine, it comes up number one in the search. But when I search Social Media Strategies with New Algorithms, I still come up number ten.
That’s ultimately what we’re shooting for, to be found by topic, not just by someone already knowing our name.

First, we shoot for getting our names high in the search engine rankings. Then when we’re on the Internet map, we increase our visibility by getting known topically.

Plot Your Course
It’s hard to get somewhere unless we know where we’re going. One of the easiest ways to get somewhere is to follow someone. So for this part, you need to think about two or three people who are where you want to be in the social media universe. Don’t just choose random, well-known people. Put some thought in this and look at people who write things similar to you. You’re going to use their path to success to guide you, so choose well.

Check their Social Media Numbers
  • Do the same things with their names, as you did with yours.
  • Look at their Facebook friends/followers.
  • Check how many followers they have on Twitter.
  • Look at the other social media networks they’re a part of. To do this, visit their websites to see what networks they find important.
Check their Search Engine Ranking
  • Plug their names into Google and look at what you find.
  • Now do the same thing with other search engines and make note of where they rank.
In the weeks to come, we’ll incorporate this information into plotting your course so don’t skimp on the time it takes to do this research. I’d love to hear what you found when you followed the suggestions above. I’d also love for you to share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


Don’t skip the #SocialMedia basics - Evaluate Where You Are & Where You’re Headed. @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)


  1. Good stuff Ms. Edie. You make "diving in" much less frightening ma'am. God's blessings...

    1. Jim, I'm glad I can help. I really appreciate your encouragement here! Blessings, E

  2. Excellent advice as always, Edie.
    One reason I use a pen name is because I share the same name as a baseball player and a soap opera actor.
    Now, if you google Ingmar Albizu, I come first, not my two most famous and accomplished namesake.
    Iam looking forward to the follow up posts on this topic.

    1. Ingmar, that's a good reason to use a pen name. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Blessings, E

  3. I learn the most valuable wisdom from this blog. Thank you so much.

    1. Melissa, I'm always glad to hear that my posts are helpful! Blessings, E

  4. Replies
    1. Brad, I always appreciate hearing from you! Blessings, E

  5. I come up on first page for most search engines; however I'm weak on keywords. Something I'll have to work on.

  6. Linda, that's excellent! Blessings, E

  7. Thank you, Edie. I will need to work on this. All I can say is ditto about learning from you. Keep up the good work.

  8. You have told me things I need to try, things I never thought of before. Thank you!