Have you ever gotten online to casually check your social media profiles, only to find yourself pinning aimlessly and watching cat videos hours later? If you're anything like me, it can be really easy to waste time on these sites. As bloggers, however, we should look at social media as one of the most important pieces in our marketing toolboxes. Just like your next meal, social media is only as good for you as what you put into it. Be smart with your online time, and it can be your greatest networking tool, a platform for promotion, a place to find crucial resources, and an unending fountain of inspiration. To create a well-balanced social media “plate,” here are five things to consider:
The full plate: Goals
Some people love spending time on Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook, while others hate it. Wherever you are on that spectrum, it's important to know that you're there for a reason and to define what those reasons are. Are you just starting to blog and looking to meet other bloggers? Do you want to share links to your latest & greatest post? Want to read up on how to improve your blogging skills? Set and prioritize your goals and you'll always have a grasp on the big picture. Let your goals be your North Star of where, what, how and when you spend your time online – and with who.
The right ingredients: Content
I'm a firm believer in the adage, “You are responsible for the energy you bring into a room.” Many people are quick to use Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms as a place to complain or find distraction. The next time you tweet or update your Facebook, think about how it contributes to your day, and your goals. Stay positive, helpful, with your goals in mind, and you'll find that you'll always have something interesting to say.
Equal parts: Promotion, Engagement, Sharing
A blogger's well-balanced social media plate wouldn't be one without equal parts promotion, engagement and sharing. You want to promote your new blog post? Great! Don't just update your social networks with links to your work. Find the right mix of: tweeting or commenting to your fans, followers and fellow bloggers; sharing articles, tidbits of info or quotes you find useful and interesting; and self-promotion.
Just like you wouldn't enjoy an over- or under-cooked meal, spending too much or not enough time on social media can lead to mindless distraction. Make some time for social media in your busy schedule to do what you need to in order to network, engage or promote yourself – and stick to it. Spending time away from the computer is also very important. It's amazing what a walk through the neighborhood can do to inspire new ideas for your blog!
A dash of fun!
It can be a lot of work to look at social media as a marketing tool for your blog, so don't forget to have some fun with it. People follow their favorite bloggers on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to learn a little more about that blogger's life. Let your personality shine!
What tips do you have to stay focused on social media?