How to Intentionally Manage Your Social Media
Most of the creatives I talk to have a love/hate relationship with social media. You love connecting with people, but you hate all the negativity that appears in social media. You love networking with other creatives, but you hate being distracted by all the noise. You love the genuine relationships you're building, but you hate not being present in your own life because you were scrolling through Instagram again.
I'm no social media expert, but I think I've done a pretty good job of setting up an intentional social media strategy that works for my life. If you want your social media to work for you, you need to have a plan behind it.
I know it seems like "having a plan" translates to "I'm a salesy person who only cares about self-promotion and doesn't want to authentically connect with others." But that's not the case at all!
I try my darndest to use social media for genuine interaction and building real relationships. And I have a plan to make it happen.
How to create an intentional social media strategy.
There are three keys that keep me from going insane when it comes to social media:
1. Don't try to be everywhere.
There are seriously a gajillion social media platforms out there. You'll drive yourself insane if you try to actively engage on all of them.
Instead, choose a handful of platforms you're really willing to focus on. Think about where your audience hangs out and what type of content you love creating. I'm an active user on five platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn). I hear really great things about Blab, Periscope, and Snapchat, but I don't hang out there because I don't have the margin to be everywhere.
Pick your battles when it comes to social media. Your sanity will thank me.
2. Have a specific goal for each platform.
You don't have to be all things to all people on every single social media platform. What do you want to do on this specific platform that you don't do anywhere else?
Maybe it's to make more job-related networking connections. Maybe it's to glean information from people who are a few steps ahead of you. Maybe it's to inspire others, drive affiliate sales, draw in more website traffic, make friends, or share your knowledge.
There's no limit to what you can accomplish through your social media connections---but to make it work, you need to know your goal for each platform.
3. Use the scheduling robots.
Some people are so against scheduling social media. I'm obviously not one of them.
Scheduling your social media doesn't make you inauthentic, it just helps you make better use of your time. As long as you're the one writing your posts and updates (that's one task you should never hand off to a robot), there's no reason you can't write it today and send it out tomorrow.
Personally, I think using scheduling tools makes me better at connecting with others on social media! Instead of worrying that I haven't tweeted in a day and writing some stupid status just to get something posted, I can take my time and craft updates that will actually help my readers . . . not just create more noise.
As long as you intersperse scheduled updates with real-time interaction and conversation, there's no reason you can't let robots help you out in this department.
My intentional social media strategy
My social media strategy definitely isn't perfect, but it works for my life as a work-at-home mom. Thanks to the three keys above, I'm able to get the bulk of my social media content scheduled in less than an hour each week. Beyond that, I check in occasionally on my phone to engage with people in real time and cultivate new friendships.
This is what my current social media strategy looks like:
Goal: Build community and share others' awesome work
Management Tool: Edgar---I load up the "use once" category to share others' posts, and I add in recurring tweets to spread inspirational quotes, quick tips, and my own creative projects.
Twitter is easily my favorite place to hang out when it comes to social media. I've met the most new people and made the most connections there, and most importantly, it doesn't stress me out or take a lot of time for me to interact with people. Twitter is my version of the water cooler at work. I go there to share cool things I've seen, catch up with my people, and say hi to some new faces I haven't met yet.
Goal: Learning and driving website traffic
Management Tool: Tailwind (affiliate link)
Pinterest is where I go when I need to learn about a particular business topic. It's often a more helpful search engine than Google when you're looking for business and blogging advice! It's easy to get sucked into the Pinterest rabbit hole, so I have a secret board set up just for business tips I know I'll use in the immediate future. This helps me take action on what I'm learning instead of getting distracted by information overload.
It wasn't until last year that I got serious about using Pinterest for business, but I'm glad I did. Now it's my top traffic referrer every month! Tailwind makes this super easy. I can pin to multiple boards with just one click, plus you can schedule pins to go out at staggered intervals so you don't overwhelm your followers with multiples of the same pin. My main rule for keeping Pinterest intentional: Learning is good---just don't get too sucked in! Remember to take action on what you learn.
Goal: Networking and getting expert advice
Management Tool: None
I don't have a business page on Facebook, but it's still an important part of my social media strategy. I belong to a lot of Facebook groups for creatives, bloggers, and business owners. These are a great place to learn about new business tools or strategies or to connect with other entrepreneurs. I interact regularly in my five favorite groups, getting to know others and answering their questions when I can. FB groups are big on paying it forward, so they're also a great place to get expert advice on specific business questions.
Goal: Sharing personal stories
Management Tool: Later
I think I was the last person on earth to join Instagram. I stayed away for a long time because styling and editing photos doesn't come naturally to me. Eventually, I was drawn in by the lure of having a place to share more personal content. My photos are never going to be the best things you see there, but I've still found IG to be a worthwhile place to connect with other creatives on a deeper level. I only post about twice a week if I'm lucky, which keeps this platform from stressing me out too much.
Goal: Make professional connections and show off my portfolio
Management Tool: None
Can we all agree that LinkedIn is the most boring social platform out there? I don't post my blog posts there like many users do, and I've found the groups to be less helpful than Facebook groups. Still, it has its uses as a business networking tool. I check in on LinkedIn about once a month to update my portfolio and check in on my profile. This is also when I'll take a few minutes to endorse a few of my connections or write a quick recommendation for someone I've worked with recently.