I see #socialsaturday quite often, and I assume it means spending time on Saturday networking. But since I don’t know for sure, I’ve decided I’ll post my social media stuff on Saturdays for awhile. Social media fascinates me, and I love writing about it, but it presents a bit of a problem. It isn’t popular enough to warrant weekday posts, but it’s helpful to a few people I know offline, and people often thank me for writing about it. So, Saturday posts.
I’ve spent nearly six months trying to figure out how to build a social media network centered on the three blogs I contribute to. Since I didn’t know much about how to do this in the beginning, it has mostly been a process of trial and error. I’ve played around with various publicize and link-sharing schemes on nine different networks since November. I’ve decided it’s time now to focus on the ones that have shown results, and leave the rest for later.
For the next six months, I’m focusing on four platforms. Here’s a list and a brief explanation for each.
WordPress – This is where we originate content. Links flow out from our blogs. The whole reason I got into the other networks was to grow the blogs.
Twitter – Twitter’s my second priority because it’s fun and I’ve figured out how to do Twitter account growth (hint: you must tweet with other people regularly, use good hashtags, and give followbacks). The organic conversion rate on tweeted links is abysmal. Based on the information I can glean from free analytics, about one-half of one percent of the people who see my tweeted links are clicking on them. So, if all you’re doing is publicizing links, Twitter probably isn’t worth the time it took you to set up your account. That’s NOT to say you should stop publicizing links; the setup time is a sunk cost. Twitter’s usefulness to me is not in the generation of traffic. What it’s good for is finding people who are interested in interacting and keeping up a running chat with them. I also find it handy for identifying good blogs. And as I said, it’s a lot of fun.
Pinterest – I have an account for Sourcerer, but haven’t touched it since I set it up. Part Time Monster has an awesome, and active, Pinterest account. Once we get through April and into summer, I’ll build a few boards for the monster and think about whether I want to maintain another account or not. Pinterest is valuable because so many people use it. It saves a lot of time searching for shareable visual media to illustrate posts, but it’s entirely possible that I decide just to build boards on PTM’s account instead of managing my own.
Facebook – I’ve tightened my personal Facebook privacy settings down and rarely share blog posts to my timeline any more. Fan pages are valuable, but to really grow them, you need to generate content specifically for Facebook. I know how that works, and eventually I want to do it, but for the time being, what I do is publicize to the fan pages from the blogs and share things from my news feeds when it’s appropriate. I’m down to one or two personal timeline updates per day and a couple of fanpage shares per day for now. Day-to-day, Facebook doesn’t generate enough traffic to be worth spending a lot of time there. However, Facebook is worth it when you have things that genuinely interest a lot of your friends. We’ve had some good days for Facebook referrals, but they just don’t come around that often. When they do it’s usually because people are reading a very personal post or something of local interest.
Here’s a list of networks I’ve scaled back on, because I’ve seen so little engagement from them. I’m not saying they aren’t fun or useful; just that they’re less useful for me than the four I’m focusing on. If I were picking up the number of daily followers or seeing the amount of interaction on any of these networks that I am seeing on Twitter, this plan would be entirely different.
Tumblr – I’m still checking this account and giving followbacks, but aside from posting to the Tumblr page from all three blogs, not doing much there. We don’t have comments enabled because we don’t want to deal with Disqus or have to moderate threads on a second platform. I do occasionally go fishing for interesting posts on Tumblr and post links to Tumblr pages at Part Time Monster. I like it well enough, but I just don’t have the time to crack it.
Google Plus – I’m not checking my stream there very often, I’ve hidden nearly everything from my personal about page, and removed it from my gravatar list of verified services because it feels like an identity risk to me. I’m still publicizing links to my G+ stream for now, but I’m wondering if that’s even worth it at this point. I have a G+ page for Sourcerer, but I’m still trying to figure out how to post publicly to it, and I haven’t started adding people to circles yet. Long-term, I’d like to transition the blog content away from my personal G+ account in favor of posting to the page.
LinkedIn and StumbleUpon – I’m sure both of these networks can be useful, but only if you’re active on them and you figure out how to get people to interact with you there. Once I finish the A to Z Challenge, I may stop posting to LinkedIn altogether. I haven’t signed into StumbleUpon in several weeks because I don’t have time to set up the account properly, and I don’t want to share a ton of content there until I figure out how to categorize it. Twitter lists are more important to me than Stumble lists at this point.
So, this is my social media plan from now through the first week of November, which will be my one-year blogging anniversary (we’ll have a big party for Part Time Monster in October; she started a couple of weeks earlier).
I’ll have a post just for people who are struggling to understand Twitter sometime in the next month.