Want More Followers? News Flash: Don’t Make it All about You!

The number one thing I first tell people about to embark on a social media journey is to consider their audience. Your audience, like you, is a multi-faceted bunch. They don’t have merely one interest. They have multiple interests, hobbies, and they’re complex creatures. So wouldn’t it make sense that you should listen to all the things they have to say and post about some of their other interests?

You’re not the center of the universe

If you’re a man posting on social media, listen to what your women friends have to say. If you’re a woman, listen to what your men friends are saying. If you’re older, listen to the whippersnappers. And so on! (Joking about the whippersnappers, by the way.) You get the general idea. You’ve got to be somewhat flexible. And listen. A lot. If you don’t know how to find who your audience is, you might like this article: Who Are You Writing For? Target Audience and Social Media.

Why it’s easier when you’re not the center of the universe

Have you ever tried to have a conversation when the other person doesn’t say a word? It’s exhausting, isn’t it? Since you’re not talking, I’ll answer that question for you. YES, IT’S EXHAUSTING. It’s so much easier when there’s a back-and-forth volley in the conversation. Teachers who don’t have conversations must have a difficult time since it’s like a one-way valve when they’re lecturing. A conversation is so much more satisfying. And if you don’t know how to have a conversation, Indeed has this nifty guide: 13 Ways to Start a Conversation. (I like the one about showing genuine interest.)

Speak in your audience’s voice

Now, this might be a little trickier, but if you can incorporate some of your audience’s language, that could really engage your audience more. See what they say, how they say it, and what specific words they use to describe things. Maybe they also use a lot of emojis. Don’t completely mirror their voice, but incorporate some elements into your voice. Here’s an article you might like about your audience and their voice: Audience: Use Its Language. Yes, it was written back in the day, but still relevant (if I do say so myself!).

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason

Someone said that once, and I’ve always remembered it. More listening and less talking is a good idea. After all, as my friend Amy Donohue is fond of saying it’s called SOCIAL media, so keep it social. By the way, Amy just wrote a terrific book–Social Media Stole My Kidney, which you can find on Amazon (highly recommended).

Share, be generous, and collaborate

When you share what others are saying and doing first, they’re much more likely to want to share what you have to say, too. So be generous, collaborate, tag others, and again–it’s not all about you! People are much, much, MUCH more likely to follow you if you make it about them first.

 

See What Happens When You Turn Your Best Blog Posts into a Book, Part Two

Maybe you’ve already read my previous article, about turning your best blog posts into a book. If not, you can find it here: See What Happens When You Turn Your Best Blog Posts into a Book. Anyway, if you’re still reading, here are some more ideas for the next phase of turning your blog posts into a book.

Get more juicy ideas about each chapter

Last week, you might have already finished the ten chapter titles, then written two sentences. Since we’ve already used the example of an organizing book, let’s keep that example. So for each of the ten chapters, write two or three more sentences about each chapter. You’ll find that some of the chapter headings are simple to expand. Others will give you problems. You may find that you could even divide some of the original chapters in half and create new chapters that way. Still unconvinced of the merits of writing a book? Here is what happens when you write a book. One thing that happens is you’ll meet other authors.

What do you want to learn?

Maybe you feel that you’re not smart enough or you don’t know enough. But, chances are, you know a lot more than you think you know. Still, there may be areas in your knowledge that you’d like to expand. So for instance, thinking about our imaginary book, what is it about organizing that you’d like to know more about? For me, it would be organizing photos and digital organizing. Maybe you could start by writing about physical photos first, then move onto digital photos.  Maybe whichever you feel more compelled to write about.

Where can you learn more?

Of course, there’s always Google for a way to find out more. You could also ask your photographer friends which websites are the best for learning about how to organize photos. I’d say start by tossing any photos that are out of focus, don’t have anyone you know in them, or are simply not interesting. Other good places to learn about organizing photos could be on Pinterest or YouTube. I really like this article from NPR If You’ve Always Wanted to Write a Book, here’s how, especially the ideas on how to banish your inner editor.

Pull from your own knowledge

If you have photos, you will have organized them to some extent, probably. So how did you do that? If you haven’t done that before, think of a friend or colleague who has done this. This goes for any chapter of your book. Talk to someone who’s done what you’re going to write about. You might even want to quote them.

Talk to a professional

Did you know there are professional organizers that specialize in organizing photos? You might want to look at some of their websites for some ideas. For instance, my friend Glenda Evans is a Certified Photo Organizer. Find someone who does what you’re writing about and ask to interview them. You might be surprised at what you find out.

See What Happens When You Turn Your Best Blog Posts into a Book

It’s possible that you’ve been blogging and blogging, without knowing why. Maybe writing is fun for you. Maybe you’re pouring your heart out and treat your blog like a journal. Or perhaps you enjoy the silence. In any case, you could decide to have a bigger purpose for your blogging and turn your best blog posts into a book.

That’s right–a book!

In case you didn’t know, writing and publishing a book is now easier than ever. You can turn to YouTube University (I made that up, so don’t go looking for it, literal friends) and find out a lot about how easy it is. But I’ll give you an outline you can use right here, to give you a headstart. If you’d like to read a good book about blogging, might I suggest friend Randy Clark’s book How to Stay Ahead of Your Business Blog Forever?

Here’s an example

Before I was a social media marketer, I helped people organize their lives and their spaces. This was before Marie Kondo came along, by the way. Anyway, let’s use organizing as an example. Could you write ten blog posts about organizing? Of course you could! I mean, if I could, then you could, too! And people love to hear about how to organize their lives.

Ten blog posts = ten chapters

Here are ten possible chapters for our imaginary organizing book:

  1. Entryway
  2. Bathroom
  3. Bedroom
  4. Kitchen
  5. Garage
  6. Living room
  7. Deck/patio
  8. Paperwork
  9. Photos
  10. Digital organizing.

You could add an intro and a follow-up chapter, too. And maybe talk about psychological barriers to organizing, or whatever your heart desires.

Beef up the titles

Now, go back and tweak the titles, making them juicier and more specific. For instance, kitchen could become Finding Space for All Your Cooking Supplies in Your Kitchen. Use your imagination. Also, what would you like to read about? What would you like to write about? Realize that you’ll also learn some things while writing this or any book. So if you decide what you want to learn about, you could write about that.

Look for inspiration

There’s inspiration everywhere. For instance, I just found a fun video about organizing that talked about unpopular organizing ideas. The woman was funny and talked about popular organizing ideas that she hated. Could you do that? Sure you could! Those hangers that give you more space, for instance. She talked about how inefficient those are. And how cheap the Dollar Tree organizing products are, and how they create food deserts. Here are some ideas for finding content ideas for your social media.

Write two sentences about each title

Stay with me here. Start with a general idea and then get more specific. For instance, for the kitchen, you could say Your first step will be to remove everything from your cabinets. And Don’t be afraid. After all, everything will return to those cabinets (except for the things you don’t want to keep, that is). Now go onto each of the other nine chapters, and write two sentences for each of them. Then write two more, and so on.

Make a bigger plan

The idea is to get going, have a bigger plan, and to use your writing in more than one place. As you know, repurposing your social media posts is one of my favorite things to do. In fact, here’s a link to Repurposing Your Social Media Content is the Ultimate Time Saver. More on writing a book next week!

 

 

In a Hurry? Time Management for the Busy Professional!

Today I feel particularly harried. My to-do list is overflowing, the phone is ringing, and the end of the day is approaching while there are still about a million things left to do. If you’re busy and think you have no time for time management, think again! A few moments spent “sharpening the saw” will yield terrific results! Here are some of my own tips for staying on top of your time.

We only have 24 hours

That might seem like a stupid thing to say, but it’s a good reminder that we’re only human. You can’t clone yourself (yet!), so you’re the one who has to get everything done. You need a few hours for sleep, some for eating, and some relaxation. By the way, you might like: Time Management for the Tired and Frazzled.

Spend 15 minutes

Every evening, I spend up to 15 minutes creating my list for the following day. This is a brain dump so I don’t think of these things as I’m trying to fall asleep. Simply write down everything you can think of that needs to get done. 15 minutes is only 1% of your day.

Prioritize the list

I like to number my list in the order that things need to get done. Here’s an article you might like: How to Avoid the Five Stages of Social Media Burnout. So you have a road map for the following day, and can spend your precious time doing, rather than puzzling over what needs to happen first and last.

Leave space for last-minute items

There will always be last-minute emergencies, phone calls, and meetings that spill over, etc. So leave some time for those. If you don’t get any last-minute chores, take the time for yourself. Sometimes meetings will get canceled, and those are gifts of extra time for you.

Leave space between things

Your health is the most important priority. Without you, nothing is possible. Your business will probably fall off (unless your business can run without you, that is). So leave yourself some time to transition. And just breathe. Or have a snack.

Decide what not to do!

Sometimes procrastinating (on some things) can be very helpful. Someone else may take that chore you didn’t want to do, for instance. Or suddenly, that “emergency” isn’t one any more. That’s often the case!

Figure out how to say no

This is maybe the most important one of all! Think of a few different ways to say no. Here’s a good article from Inc. Magazine on 7 Tips for Saying No Effectively. Who do you need to say no to? Maybe it’s a family member, or a friend who keeps interrupting you?

How do you manage your time?

I really do want to know. Leave a comment. And thank you.

 

Avoid Social Media Decision Fatigue Three Quick and Easy Ways

You’ve read about all the new social media platforms, ways to connect with audio, and trends from live-streaming on Facebook Live to Instagram stories. And with your FOMO (fear of missing out) radar going crazy, you’re exhausted from social media decision fatigue. What to do? What to do? It’s probably a good idea to do something, but what? Here are some ideas!

Reduce your choices

Remind yourself that you don’t have to be everywhere all at once. In fact, if you are everywhere, you’ll very likely burn yourself out. So choose one or two platforms to start with. You can always add more later once you get those two balls spinning in the air. Pretend that you’re reducing the choices for a friend, and that friend is you. If you have the funds available, you could also hire someone to run your social media for you, or buy a few hours of time with a social media consultant. Entrepreneur has a good article: 9 Ways to Combat Decision Fatigue. (Did you know that by bedtime, the average person has made 35,000 decisions? Yikes!)

Spend less time online

Seriously. Have a timer and stick to your schedule. When the timer goes off, stop what you’re doing. If you time yourself, you can do almost anything faster. For instance, you can write a blog post in an hour, and here’s how: How to Write a Perfectly Good Blog in an Hour. Personally, I like to chunk things into 15-minute segments because I figure I can do nearly anything for 15 minutes. Well, maybe not pushups, but you get the picture. Besides, going out and enjoying a walk will probably give you more enjoyment and therefore let you come up with more ideas than sitting around brooding.

Go to the platform you enjoy the most

Unless you enjoy a really obscure platform with no traffic whatsoever, why not spend time being where you enjoy yourself? You’ll likely spend more time there and it will be more peaceful. If you don’t know which platforms might interest you, Social Media Today has a list: The 8 Best Social Media to Market Your Business in 2021. Pick one and go there. For me, that’s Twitter. But Instagram is also very popular these days.

Ask a trusted friend

That friend would most likely be someone with a background in social media. Listen carefully and also ask yourself where it makes the most sense for you/your business to be online. You might need to abandon ship on the platform you’ve been following in lieu of some place with more traffic and fun. Sometimes you just need a little distance to be able to make a decision. I know, this is four ways to reduce your social media decision fatigue, but maybe one or two of them will work for you.

 

 

What Small Businesses Should Not Do on Social Media

Lately, I’ve been writing about what businesses should avoid on social media. Magical thinking is something I come across a lot, and wrote about recently. There are quite a few things to avoid, it turns out! Here are just a few (maybe the tip of the iceberg). And by the way, larger businesses should avoid these things, too. And maybe even some of your friends (ahem!).

Make spelling errors

If you make spelling mistakes, chances are you’ll turn some people off, and they won’t read what you have to say. There are so many ways to check your spelling these days–why not use them? Not only do spelling errors look unprofessional, they’re distracting. Same with grammatical errors–they’re a distraction and are easily avoided. You can use a program like Grammarly (they have a free spellcheck) or even Google docs. And WordPress itself–which I’m using to write this article–has a spellcheck function. You could even get an editor if you needed one.

Sell, sell, sell!

I’ve probably said this a million times, but selling all the time is boring. Any kind of self-promotion all the time is boring. People would rather hear about themselves than about you, and they’re not going to buy from you unless you quit it. What to do instead? Talk about your audience’s lifestyle or their pain points. Unless what you have to share is going to affect a lot of people who have the same pain points as you, direct selling just doesn’t work well on social media. And if you haven’t already read this, you might like: Social Media Isn’t Actually about Sales.

Talk about yourself incessantly

Nobody likes hearing someone talk about themselves nonstop 24/7. If you have a fascinating life, travel a great deal, and have ideas that nobody else has ever thought of you might be an outlier. But for the most part, we don’t need to hear about your breakfast, especially if you’re posting on behalf of a small business. For your private friends, that’s another story altogether! Voicing insecurities occasionally might be ok on a personal front, but on a business account? No thank you!

Not showing any personality

It’s ok to have a personality. It really is. A few weeks back, I talked about Wendy’s and their fun, upbeat personality. Maybe you don’t have someone like whomever does the social media for Wendy’s, but chances are they still have an interesting personality. How could you and they use that personality on social media? How about trying to include some words and phrases that are casual and fun? If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard about Wendy’s social media, you might like: 32 Hilarious Twitter Roasts by Wendy’s That Will Make You Think Twice Before Posting.

 

Magical Thinking and Social Media

There has long been magical thinking in all parts of American life, so why not in American social media? If you don’t think there is magical thinking in social media, then perhaps you yourself have some magical thinking going on! No offense, but that thinking permeates everything these days. Here are some ways magical thinking is a part of all we do in social media.

My post will go viral

Chances are pretty good that you’re not going viral. Also, I hate to say it, but you’re probably not going to win the lottery, either. You might get $5 or $8, but the odds are that you’re not going to win. So why do you believe your post will go viral? Do you know anyone else that this has happened to? Or perhaps you’ve read about posts going viral, or seen it happen on a reality show! I wrote this article about posts going viral around a million years ago, but you might still like it!

My sales are going to go through the roof

If you’re using social media and expect sales, then probably not. Social media isn’t sales. You might like this article I wrote recently: Social Media Isn’t Actually about Sales. So no. One person is not going to tell two people who will tell two people until your sales quintuple. But you can expect more people to have heard of your company or brand by using social media. Having realistic expectations helps everyone.

Other people believe the same things you do

Yes, it’s strange to think that people are mind readers. Perhaps it’s the Pandemic. Maybe we’re all spending too much time indoors, without socializing, and we’re having some mental health challenges. Or at least some PTSD. We all believe different things, and it’s important to find out what others believe, or at least what your ideal client believes, before trying to pitch to them. The best thing to do? Ask what thoughts people have before assuming you know them. Sometimes your guess may work, but often it won’t. If you want to conduct a survey, asking your own clients can give you some much-needed answers (or change your assumptions). Here’s a good article: 5 ways to include surveys in your social media strategy.

Everyone will share my post

It’s good to adopt a strategy of generosity on social media. If you start bombarding people with ads, direct or private messages, or tagging them without reason, you’ll probably get banned. Sharing their posts is a good idea, especially if what they do is related to what you do. Once you share or comment on someone else’s post they might share yours, too. But if you don’t do that first? Guess what–you don’t have any social equity in the bank!

Social Media is easy

It’s really not. It requires a lot of thinking, sharing good images, and engagement with others. Please don’t hire your nephew to run your social media (unless he has some experience). Because then you will be sad.

Where Should You Spend Your Time on Social Media?

If you’re a newcomer to social media, or even if you’ve been around for some time, where you should spend your time on social media can be extremely confusing. So here are a few things to consider and hopefully you’ll feel a bit less confused.

Where is your audience?

I’d argue that where your audience is (where they spend the most time) is where you should be. How do you know? You could ask them. Text them, call them, knock on their door if they’re close by. Just find out where they spend their time. You may be surprised. While you’re at it, find out how much time they spend on their most popular platforms. Here’s a post you might like about audience: Who Are You Writing For? Target Audience and Social Media.

Which platform do you enjoy the most?

Some social media managers may argue with me over this one. But if you enjoy the platform (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, for instance), you’ll spend more time there and be less stressed. One caveat: I wouldn’t go to a platform that has very little traffic or that is completely unpopulated by your audience. For instance, I enjoy TikTok, but don’t spend much time there because my audience isn’t there. Neil Patel mentions the big three: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Do any of those have more pull for you than the others? The other three he mentions are Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube. You might be more creative there, and those are also good places to get started.

What’s the easiest way for you to get started?

If getting on Facebook is easy for you, that’s a good way to start. If you’re already posting there, or just lurking, then you have a good idea of what to post. You may want to see what others are doing, especially businesses similar to yours. What do they write about? Do you enjoy those posts? You might like this article: Social Media in 60 Minutes a Day. Yes, it’s entirely possible. But you need to be very focused.

What will your posts be about?

Again, look at what others in your business are doing. Find three that you like. Don’t copy them, but let them inspire you. What kind of voice do they use? How often do they post? What do you like about them and–also very important–what do you not like? In the beginning, keep it simple. As you become more comfortable, your posts may become more creative and complex. Sometimes you may have to write something over and over until you’re happy with it. (I write and rewrite quite a lot, if that helps.)

Social media isn’t free

Despite what others say, there’s a cost for social media. Much of social media is now pay to play so that others see your posts. You may want to outsource your social media if it takes up too much of your time. The main piece of advice I’d give you is not to hire your niece or nephew unless they have at least a little experience.

 

Social Media Isn’t Actually about Sales

A really common misconception, especially among small businesses, is thinking that social media is about sales. People will tell me that one person will tell two people will tell two people, and so on. In their minds, they’re already millionaires–without any “real work.”

Use social media to increase awareness of your brand, connect with people, and for engagement. That’s it. Of course, social media can lead to sales, but chances are it will be an indirect route. You can build trust, and let people know what you’re up to, but trying to sell on social media isn’t usually the aim.

Increase brand awareness

It’s perfectly fine to tell people about your brand. This might include posts about what’s happening behind the scenes, or even what’s on sale, but not direct selling. When is it a good time to increase brand awareness? Some of my clients have started before they even have a product or service to sell. So I’d say the earlier the better. Here’s a post about being on social media for small businesses that you might like. (Hint: you can appear like a bigger business if your social media is good.) If you’re doing a good job, people might even know you from your social media, and have a good impression of your business!

Who does a good job with brand awareness? One excellent account is Wendy’s. And why is their account so terrific? Because they have a personality! Check out this fun tweet from Wendy’s, below. So much personality! And because of their fun, casual style, they get plenty of engagement. So don’t be afraid to show some personality.

Connect with people

People will be interested in your brand and what you offer, but it’s important to show an interest in them first. The best way to share others’ posts is if you think your ideal clients will also be interested in what you share on social media. So for example, say you’re posting for a zoo. Sharing information about animals, how to care for pets at home, what not to do with exotic animals, etc., would all be good things to share. Maybe even share posts from zoos in other parts of the country or world. But sharing about a local auto parts store is probably not going to interest your audience.

Engage through active listening

Listen to what your customers have to say. Sometimes there will be a perfect way to sell through your social media *if* you hear of someone needing exactly what you have to offer. A good example of this is plumbing. You may hear someone say they have a leak or broken pipe. If you’re local and can help, then why not offer? But that scenario is rare, to be honest. I really do believe engagement is the gold standard of social media, by the way. I even wrote a book about engagement!

 

How Does Ambition Contribute to Success? Three Reasons Ambitious People Succeed Against the Odds

Do you believe that ambition or talent are more important? We’ve all heard that those without passion are not likely to succeed, but how does ambition show itself? We all know someone we’d never believe could succeed and yet day after day, there they are starting new companies, pitching new ideas, and generally succeeding.

Ambition is more important than talent

Why? Because sometimes talented people sit and wait for someone to come and discover them. Ambitious people don’t sit and wait. Ambitious people go after what they want. They don’t let failures stop them, and are full of creative ways to succeed.

I really like this article Ambition: The Key Ingredient of Success. In it, Darius Foroux says “Yes, belief by itself is useless. But here’s the thing: The people who believe they can achieve their goals are the ones that actually do.” 

Ambitious people are motivated

What I’ve found is that if your dreams are big, you often find ways to “get ‘er done.” For example, think about Christo’s ambitious project, Running Fence. Did you know about the marketing Christo did before the fence was ever installed? The fence was paid for before it was installed and that is a mark of ambition and creativity, too. Here’s a remembrance of Christo written by famous local artist Lynn Hershman Leeson.

Another very ambitious person is Elon Musk. We don’t hear about Musk’s failures so much as his successes, but think about Paypal. In 1999, Paypal was voted as the worst business product of the year. And Tesla very narrowly bounced back after Musk nearly went bankrupt. Without personal loans, Musk would not be where he is today. Now, of course, Tesla is widely known as a resounding success!

Ambitious people know how to take risks

You may have heard that Japanese proverb Fall down seven times, get up eight.  This proverb illustrates the idea of resilience, of failure, and of success. No matter how many times you are knocked down, you get back up again. No one can compete with someone who won’t quit, right? If you’re interested in failure, you might like this article: Is failure mandatory on the road to success?

The idea of a calculated risk may seem counterintuitive. After all, risk seems to be an idea that defies logic. But does it really? Maybe we can take small risks and build up to bigger and wilder risks. For instance, public speaking might seem like a huge risk, although hardly anyone ever dies from public speaking. Just joking, but haven’t you heard that public speaking is the #1 fear that people have? People are absolutely terrified to get in front of their peers and just say something. If you could speak in front of two people then four people, and so on, maybe eventually speaking in front of a large crowd wouldn’t be so terrifying!

 

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