Social Media Value: Why it’s important and What to Measure

Social Media Value Why It's important and what to measure

Recently, I bought a dress from an online company. Now this was no ordinary dress. I was able to customize the sleeves, neckline, and hemline. I input each measurement into the online form, which required some standing on one foot and wrestling with a tape measure. After a wait of a few weeks, the dress arrived. And wow! It was incredible, fit like a glove, and was beautiful. Not just because of the embroidery, but the fabric was soft and sturdy. The hems were well stitched, and you could see that the overall the quality was there.

Why am I telling you this story?

Social media can be a lot like that dress. You might pay extra for a good logo, avatar, or headshot, and devote extra time writing your profile, but ultimately it’s worth it. Sometimes it’s difficult to judge the value of a social media account, but there are ways. I haven’t written about this for awhile, but I believe it’s good to review what makes for good social media value. In fact, here’s an article from the Wayback Machine: Creating an Awesome Twitter Avatar. Can you believe it’s from 2012?

Your social media banner should be eye catching

If you have a banner, it should have good balance. It should catch the eye and leave a good first impression. It should definitely be in focus and easily identifiable. By the way, here are some beautiful Twitter banners from Canva. Looking at other social media headers can give you an idea of what you’d like yours to look like. And one pro tip? Make your avatar and banners easy to identify across all your social media accounts. That way, when people travel from Facebook to Instagram to Twitter, they can easily identify you and your brand.

A well-written profile creates good visibility

Does your profile say something about you, what you do, and what’s important to you? And do you change it up occasionally? Or do the things that you’ve said stay the same year after year? Sometimes they do stay the same. Brands may keep the same messaging, but change their logos, for instance. On a personal profile, it’s good to review your profile every year or so. New Year is a good time to do that. Neil Patel has an excellent article about the 10 elements of a successful social media profile.

High-quality posts determine your survivability

Sharing from other pages or accounts is a good way to create engagement. When you share, other people are more prone to share your posts, too. And don’t forget that commenting is a good way to create engagement. People will follow you and share your posts and your account will survive if you post and share. How do you measure it? I like a ratio of 80:20 of shared posts versus original content. It’s pretty simple, but it works.

Measure What Works

Don’t forget to measure what’s working for you. Among some of the things you might like to measure? Although follower count is a vanity metric to some extent, I think it’s important to have a few followers. You don’t want to be talking to yourself, after all.

Different Platform, Different Analytics

Facebook has its own set of analytics, as does Twitter. For Instagram and Pinterest, you need business accounts to see your analytics. Although engagement can be difficult to measure correctly, look at your best posts and see what’s working. Impressions is a measure that some really like. I like checking about once a month, although some like to check more often. Reach is another measure that you might like to check. I won’t go into a lot of details here, but you can use a spreadsheet to track these.

I Absolutely Love Social Media. And This Is Why

I Absolutely Love Social Media. And This Is Why

Being a Hater is Easy

While it might be a lot easier to discuss all the reasons I despise social media, many people have already covered that ground. Being a hater is easy. Defending social media is not so easy. We have more and more choices as far as where we land on social media, which platforms we use, and which part of our audience we follow and where.

Find Your Friends

With the pandemic, making new friends hasn’t been easy. But with social media, you can not only make new friends, you can reconnect with those you haven’t seen recently, and deepen your already-existing relationships. Although I dislike the word tribe, it’s very nice to have a circle of friends who talk to you when you’re online. And searching for old friends is easier than ever using Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Here’s a WikiHow you might like: How to Find Old Friends Online. You can also do searches for professional friends on LinkedIn or military friends using military records. Speaking of friends, you might like this article: Friend Sourcing: the New Way to Content Creation?

Share Common Experiences

Not only can you share photos, but it’s fairly easy to discover platforms now where you can share your experiences. Whether you’re concerned about disabilities, special hobbies, or A/I, you’re sure to find a Facebook group for your specific interests. Not only that, but there will be someone nerdier than you who’s been involved in your interest for years or decades! For instance, two of my interests are knitting (a new hobby) and Pan American Airlines (because my father was an employee for many years). These groups and many more are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as other places online. Also: following and searching on the hashtags of your interests is also easy-peasy. If you want to know more about hashtags, try this: How to Discover a Wealth of Friends with Social Media Hashtags.

Share Your Personal Background

There’s a wonderful Hafu page on Facebook that I just love. This page is for people who are half Japanese (like I am). I enjoy seeing people share their victories or recently, share their issues because of discrimination. And there’s always a good recipe or two for tonkatsu! There are groups for social media managers, differing age groups, bird watchers, and just about anything you can think of.

Delve Into Topics…or Just Absorb the Good Vibes

If you’re unsure whether you want to post within your newly-found group, you can lurk in the background for a while. This way, you can check out what others are saying as well as how many posts go out daily. There’s no need to jump into any conversation right away until you’re comfortable. Just scroll to your heart’s content.

 

Friend Sourcing: the New Way to Content Creation?

the New Way to Content Creation?

Friend sourcing. I just made it up, so you’re not missing out on something new. Yet. It’s like crowdsourcing, but among people you already know, even if you’ve only met them online. After all, don’t we all have more and more friends online? Especially during this past year, when the pandemic influenced how many people we could socialize with.

Here’s How it Works

Ask your friends what they think of a topic, then take what they say and create content with that. It’s like when you attend #DigiBlogChat and then create a blog post about it, like Jim Katzaman (@JKatzaman) often does. You’ll get more eyes on your piece because people love to hear about themselves. It’s easy, fun, and clever!

Don’t Believe Me?

If you need to see how friend sourcing works, take a look around the interwebs. Check out who’s retweeting whom, who’s sharing whose pictures, and which posts get shared the most. Friend sourcing posts may not always be the most popular (animal posts are very popular, too), but they do get shared. A lot.

Friend Sourcing Is Social

Remember when social media was actually social? No, neither do I. But these days, you really need to be social more than ever. Engagement counts for a lot, and I predict it’ll count for even more in the future. Need to know more about engagement? Check out For Better Social Media Results, Focus on Engagement.

Get Started

Attend a chat (#DigiBlogChat is a pretty good one!) or start a conversation on social media. Ask a question or create a poll. Collect ideas from your friends. Ask if they’d like to be included in your piece if you want. Or tell them later. Or apologize later. Your choice! There are no wrong answers here.

Collaborations Are Gold

Collaborate with someone to create something, write something, or do something together. You could be in a challenge together, too, like the 46-mile Mt. Fujii Virtual Conqueror Challenge that @MistressPrime and I were in together. We both walked the miles, checked in, and got our (real metal!) medals. But the walk was all done virtually, so anyone can participate.

Write or Vlog About it!

Now create your piece! You could write a blog post, talk about it on your YouTube channel, make an art piece to share later, etc. You might want to take pictures of whatever it is you did, said, or created together. Make sure you tag your friends when you do share the piece. People usually love being mentioned!

Share and Share Again

If your piece is evergreen (for more information about evergreen posts, see: How Long Is Evergreen Content Actually Good for?) then share it more than once! After all, you’ve put in the work, right?

 

 

Why Gamification in Sales is Dangerous and Why You Should Care

Why Gamification in Sales is Dangerous and Why You Should Care

Recently, I’ve been seeing more and more sales gimmicks. Sites where I’d normally shop anyway are now regaling me with Spin the Wheel! and Mystery Discounts, along with cute fuzzy animals. I might have shopped there anyway, but does the focus on games make me trust them more? No! Quite the opposite.

Does There Always Need to Be a Game?

Why does shopping have to be made more fun? Haven’t we been told to plan ahead, make a list, shop online, get in and get out as quickly as possible when shopping in person, shop around the edges for the best dietary choices, etc.? Do we have to go on a Treasure Hunt and make our online shopping trip more amusing? You’ll probably guess what my answer is to these questions. By the way, you might like this article about the Gamification of Social Media.

Budgets and the National Debt

Ok, maybe I’m ranting now, but as Americans don’t we already have a problem with overspending? According to CNBC, “The average American has $90,460 in debt. Meanwhile, millennials have seen the largest increase in debt in the last five years.” So gamification probably makes the debt problem even worse. Maybe there’s some sort of moral obligation to make sales as boring as possible to help bring down the national debt! Yes, people want to sell more, but how about a little mercy for everyone during these panicky, pandemicky times?

Just Say No

Maybe our collectively ginormous credit issue stems in part from our difficulty in saying no. Setting boundaries is hard work and depends upon knowing what we want and don’t want. And what about that darn pandemic? Gosh, maybe if we spent less to begin with we wouldn’t even need as much darn money from the government in the form of stimulus checks. Maybe we could even–gasp!–spend within our means! Not to say that some need the stimulus checks–they do. It’s just that right now we need to be budgeting our money so it stretches farther, not looking for excuses to spend more money. And certainly not making a fun game out of overspending. Oh, and get off my lawn, you darn kids!!! By the way, I talk about boundaries in Best Time Management Hacks for Your Online Life.

Scams and Rabbit Holes

Maybe people are more sophisticated than I give them credit for. Somehow, I don’t think so. Tons of my friends fall for scams. When people with unknown numbers call, they often pick up and talk to the callers. And give away their bank account information. So this emphasis on games doesn’t bode well for many. At the very least, it’s a waste of time heading down that rabbit hole of online shopping and games. I know we’re all bored. But why make it easier for someone else to get into debt? Leave me a comment if you feel like it, but only if you aren’t procrastinating on doing your budget.

You Don’t Need Fairy Dust to Improve Your Social Media Engagement

Some people seem to think that there’s some kind of magic involved in improving your engagement on social media. There’s no magic involved, but you can use some science. Don’t worry–it’s nothing that costs a bundle. But having some science and just talking to people will help a lot.

The Science behind Tweepsmap

This week on #DigiBlogChat, a chat on Twitter, our special guests were Samir Al-Brattan of @Connexinet and Tweepsmap and Jayna (@JTweepsmap). We discussed how to increase engagement. Here are a few ideas from that chat. By the way, Tweepsmap has a terrific YouTube channel, if you prefer to listen to tips. Don’t forget to subscribe! 

Hashtags and Topics

If you want to supercharge your time on Twitter, you can find out which hashtags and topics will get you the most oomph. Yes, oomph isn’t exactly a scientific word, but you know what I mean. This is not to say that you’re going to be broadcasting. You’ll still be interacting, but in a smart way. If you’re already tweeting about one of the topics mentioned in your Tweepsmap, why not add a hashtag to your post? Did you know there’s a the hashtag suggestions tool embedded into the Tweepsmap scheduler? Not too many hashtags, though! Just one or two.

How Do I Talk to People?

Start by saying hello. Do you know how to make small talk? If you still go to the grocery store, or walk your dog past your neighbor’s house, you’ve been forced to say hello before. Then ask about them. How are they doing? You can also retweet with a quote. Simply click on the retweet and then you’ll get the quote retweet choice. That way, you can add a remark to the original tweet.

©Przemek Pietrak2013

Don’t Just Broadcast

Gone are the days when you could post an out-of-focus picture of a lemon and get a thousand comments. Comment on what other people are doing and saying. People love to hear about themselves. Some people may even say something back to you. You can use some of the suggested topics and hashtags within Tweepsmap if you get stuck for ideas, too.

©GotCredit2015

Add Value

Sometimes value includes encouragement. You can also post educational material, humorous things, or resourceful ideas. As Melissa Drozdowski, director of social media at marketing and brand-builder company Interprose mentioned during the latest #Digiblogchat “Repeat after us: it’s all about adding value. People engage for a reason. You have to provide something of value for their time – a new perspective, something followers can learn from, a resource they didn’t have before. Add value and they will come (and stay).”

©Adam Bautz2015

Don’t Get Discouraged

If someone doesn’t want to have a conversation, move on. There are plenty of people who will want to talk to you.

Best Time Management Hacks for Your Online Life

Best Time Management Hacks for Your Online Life

We are all spending more and more time online. We wake up with an app on our phone, use our Fitbits for exercise and step counts, and belong to oodles of social media platforms. But how do you manage your time? Do you need another app? Short answer: maybe. Here are some ideas.

Time Spent Online is Different

You might think you could apply time management to your time spent online just as you would to any other chore, but it isn’t true. It’s so easy to be distracted by the newest video of a camel whose best friend is a cow. Just to get another animal into the list, we can all disappear down rabbit holes because they are plentiful. And time disappears when you’re distracted, doesn’t it? Now where was I going with that idea? Oh, yes.

Interrupt Yourself

You need stronger boundaries if you’re going to survive working online. So decide before you get online what you want to do and how much time you want to spend. Before you dive into Instagram, set a time limit. Set an alarm so that you know when your time is up. And then get out! You might like Time Management for the Tired and Frazzled. The point is, make an executive decision about how much time you want to spend online. And then guard your precious time.

Online Tools That Can Help

One of my favorite tools is Nokotime. Why? Not only can you track your time, you can create reports, which is very helpful. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s easy to use and gives you an accurate pie chart of where your time is going. (I’m not an affiliate, by the way.) Another tool that I love is Dashlane, for password management. Dashlane is free, but there’s also a premium version, which helps you sync passwords across platforms. Another one is Google Drive for sharing documents and images.

Create an Old-School to Do List

Writing down what you want to get done the night before has been known to ease anxiety. Instead of worrying about your tasks for the next day, write them all down. Some suggest writing how much time you might use on a particular task, too. One idea I really like is decluttering your to-do list, as Teodora Pirciu writes. By the way, she has a snazzy Daily Planner for business growth that you might like, too. I’ve ordered it myself and it’s a nice, three-month organizer with plenty of space to write (yes, the old-fashioned way, with a pen).

Have a Favorite Way to Manage Your Time?

Do tell! Let me know with a comment. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make Your Writing More Resourceful: Five Simple Ways

How to Make Your Writing More Resourceful: Five Simple Ways

How to Make Your Writing More Resourceful: Five Simple Ways

If you want to become a resource, and educate or instruct your readers, then you need to make your writing actionable. Yes, I know actionable is one of those silly words, but you know what it means; people need to be able to do something based on your posts. And make your posts evergreen so people will come back over and over. Here are a few ideas.

Use Tons of Examples

When I was a full-time technical writer, one thing that readers always wanted was examples. They wanted to see themselves in your writing. Whether you’re writing a software manual or a blog post about social media, use a lot of examples. Use them liberally. Sprinkle them like magic fairy dust throughout your writing. For example, if you were writing a post about how to create an article in an hour, you might send them here: How to Write a Perfectly Fine Blog Post in An Hour. (See what I did there?)

Create Detailed Posts

If you’re writing a how-to article, make sure to give readers all the details. Try out your method yourself, too. Better still, have a friend or two try out your article. Ask for honest feedback and incorporate the feedback into your instructions. There’s no reason to be defensive when you’re getting feedback. Feedback makes your writing better. Sometimes when I’m reading recipes, it seems like the recipe writer didn’t try out the recipe for themselves. It’s so frustrating to try to cook and have one or two or more steps missing! So capture all the details. For more information, Master Class describes how to use concrete details to enhance your writing.

Have Actionable Steps

There’s that word again: actionable. Ensure that your readers can do what you’re telling them they can do. If your instructions are too vague, your readers will get frustrated and leave, and you never want that. So review the steps you’re asking your readers to take. Review the steps a few times and you’ll have happier readers. And you’ll feel satisfied that you’ve done a good job.

Be Specific

One way to be specific is to have examples. Another is to consider the environment your reader is in. For instance, will your reader be working on a laptop when they write a blog post? Will they be working on an iPhone? Then make sure you include information to help them in that environment. This is especially important when writing about software or apps. Some may only work in specific environments. Apps are often better on phones and may not work at all on laptops or in a desktop environment.

Curate Other Resources

Even if you don’t have all the answers, you can collect posts or ideas from those who do. Nobody has the time to read everything. You might like this article: How to Use Pinterest to Curate Content. Another excellent resource is Randy Clark’s book, How to Stay Ahead of Your Business Blog Forever. Highly recommended!

 

 

How to Quickly and Easily Unleash Your Blogging Creativity

How to Quickly and Easily Unleash Your Blogging Creativity

How to Quickly and Easily Unleash Your Blogging Creativity

Do you ever feel like a sponge that’s been wrung and is completely dry (that is, out of creative ideas)? So many of us do! Even the best writers sometimes hit the doldrums in their creativity, where they can’t write a single word. If that’s you, read on.

Embrace the Quiet

Meditate somewhere quiet and don’t look for extra stimulation. Thomas Oppong in his article in Inc. on The Science of Silence: How Solitude Enriches Creative Work writes  “To take advantage of silence to improve your creative work, you could get in the office an hour earlier, just so you could get some quiet work done before the office starts buzzing.” Since we’re all in quarantine at the moment, finding silence isn’t nearly the issue it was in the Before Times. Peter Gasca, writing for Entrepreneur in Silence: It’s One Simple Thing That Will Spark Your Creativity explains that “just five minutes of silence and uninterrupted thoughts tend to be the only ingredients needed to stir creativity.”

If you agree, you might like this article: Six Facts About Introverts and Social Media That Will Impress Your Friends. Written awhile back, but still relevant.

Beg, Borrow, and Steal

Not literally, of course. But ask your friends for ideas, borrow an idea or inspiration from someone else, or steal someone’s idea but change it so much that it becomes your own. Isn’t that the definition of art? Borrow something, then change it, then change it again? One way I’ve gotten ideas lately is on Twitter chats. Recently on #DigiBlogChat (a chat I host along with @LazBlazter), @Interprosepr mentioned sharks and how they need better branding. That gave me the idea for a blog post about sharks and branding. You can really get ideas anywhere if you’re listening.

You might also like this article: What Happens When You Focus on Failure and Creativity?

Journaling and Creativity

Writing about anything helps your creativity. If you journal immediately upon waking up, for instance, you’ll gain access to some ideas that you didn’t even know were brewing. And if you think about an issue last thing before you go to sleep, you may have an answer when you wake up. This method has worked for me. And it’s easy to do. All you need is a journal, a pen, and the willingness to write down the first things that pop into your head when you wake up.

Write at Strange Hours

If you normally write in the morning, try writing in the afternoon. If you write in the afternoon, try a late-night writing session. Or wake up in the middle of the night and write a little. You’ll have a different perspective! It’s so easy to get into a habit. I know because I’m a creature of habit myself, and maybe you are, too.

 

How Digital Clutter Destroys Your Peace of Mind

How Digital Clutter Destroys Your Peace of Mind

How Digital Clutter Destroys Your Peace of Mind

We know that physical clutter can lead to disruption in your life, but what about digital clutter? Are the old photos, posts, and comments from Days of Yore(tm) making you exhausted and feeling out of sorts? I was thinking about the post I wrote last week about making quick decisions, and decided to add onto that. As we’re all locked down in many parts of the world, it’s an excellent time to declutter. Our physical spaces need it, but how about our digital spaces?

Old Photos

Do you obsess about those old photos on your phone? What do you do about the old photos that you have stored in your phone and on all your social media accounts? When is it time to clean them out? We take so many pictures now from fear of missing out on a cute kitten or puppy or baby moment. NPR has an excellent article: Here’s How Tech Experts Recommend Organizing Your Photos. The authors recommend sitting down once a month to cull unwanted selfies and duplicate photos from your massive vault, then organizing what’s left. Sounds a lot like physical organizing, doesn’t it? Organizing the photos by date will help you avoid headaches later, then you can sit down and tag them as well. By the way, if there are old photos (of you) that you don’t like, you’re allowed to throw them away. Sounds silly, but lots of people can’t seem to throw away photos!

Documents from the Stone Ages

Do you really need those Word documents telling the cat sitter (who moved to Oregon in 1992) how to feed the cat who is no longer alive? Maybe you do! But probably you don’t. The reason you want to organize those documents is so you can easily find what you need later. Organizing your documents, just like organizing your social media, lets you quickly find the things that are really important to you. By the way, you might like this article: Organizing Your Social Media So You Can Have a Better Life. Just like old photos, old documents can hamper your progress and make you feel frustrated.

Posts from Long Ago

When can you finally let go of old posts you made? Is it even possible to delete posts you made previously on different social media platforms? Yes, you can go back and delete posts, and it’s especially easy on some platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. If you have a lot of duplicated posts, that’s an easy place to start. In the article How to Quickly Delete Old Facebook Posts from PC Magazine, Scott Bay suggests viewing your Facebook feed from the point of view of an outsider. You could also opt to simply hide posts or make them private.

©Maya ALESHKEVICH 2019

All the Blah Blah Blah

The Blah Blah Blah includes all those emails from the last century that you’ll never look at again. Each email requires that you make a decision. One easy way to declutter that email? Delete in bulk. Search for one sender and delete everything from last year, for instance. What other Blah Blah Blah do you have and how does it weigh you down? Leave me a comment! Thank you.

 

Why Making Quick Decisions Improves Your Life

Why Making Quick Decisions Improves Your Life

Why Making Quick Decisions Improves Your Life

Every day we need to make multiple decisions. What kind of car should you buy? Should you get the leather or the fabric sofa? Do you want fries with that? And those are just the simple decisions. What about the more difficult ones, such as where to live or which school to attend? Those could require even more time. One thing I’ve learned is that making decisions quickly is important for a number of reasons. You also might like this article about How Tired Business Owners Save Time.

Making Decisions Quickly Reduces Clutter

Back when I was a professional organizer, one thing I noticed about people who were chronically disorganized is that they had difficulties making decisions. Everyone was procrastinating on the decisions. “I’ll put this here for now” they’d say. And there that object would sit for days or weeks until they could decide what to do with it. Now, maybe there was an issue with their executive functioning. Whatever the reason–they could not decide on anything quickly. And every piece of paper? That’s a decision to be made. And that inability to make a quick decision turns into clutter.

©Nathanael Burton 2010

Avoid Analysis Paralysis

We all know that one person who can’t decide what to do. They’ll hem and haw over just about anything–whether it’s putting pickles on their burger or what kind of tires to buy. And for some, they won’t be able to do the next thing until they make that first decision. Sometimes it’s not the fault of the person trying to make the decision. Sometimes there are simply too many choices! Go into any grocery store and there will be 25 different types of mustard to choose from. What’s an indecisive person to do? Lifehack has a possible solution in their 5 Tips for Lightning Fast Decision Making. (Personally, I like their two-minute rule.)

Faster Decision Making Tied to Success

If you’re the CEO of a startup, or even the boss of yourself (lol), your ability to make a decision faster will either help or hinder your progress in business. If you can’t make a decision when you have all the facts at your disposal, when can you make a decision? Debbie Allen, in her article in Entrepreneur, describes How to Make Business Decisions Faster and Better: Don’t overcomplicate things! Take ownership of the decision. Instead of waiting for the moons, stars, and planets to align, move on! I couldn’t agree more. After all, not making a decision is making a decision, too!

Work up to Faster Decisions

If you want to get better at making decisions more quickly, you could work up to it. For instance, make decisions about some of the smaller things in your life. For instance, what kind of tissue should you buy? Or what would you prefer today–apples or oranges? Those are two decisions that you could make quickly. And then work up to a larger decision next. And as always, give yourself a reward to making that decision. My vote is for wine. Or chocolate. Oh, no! Which one will I choose now?

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