You can write heroes and villains with the best of them, but you’re social media is lacking that “POW!” punch. So, what’s the issue and how can you fix it? The list can be long when it comes to why your social efforts may be tanking, but I’ll concentrate on the top four most common reasons.
1. Your Cadence is Crazy
Posting too little or too much is a common rookie mistake. Unless you have a video of a cute beagle and baby friendship or you’re Damn, Daniel, one piece of content is not going to rocket you into a social media celebrity. So, what’s the Goldilocks perfect fit? Whether I’ve worked on a hotel brand, sports news network or nonprofit, the cadence has been roughly the same. The trick is knowing how to treat each channel with respect. It is perfectly acceptable to post only twice a week on Facebook, but that isn’t going to get you anywhere on Twitter or Snapchat. The shorter the lifespan of your post helps determine how often you should post. For example, Twitter is known for their tweets having a 20 minute lifespan. See how only tweeting once a day isn’t going to get you anywhere?
In my experience, 3-7 tweets a day on Twitter, 4-6 photos on Instagram a week and 2-3 posts a week on Facebook is a good rule of thumb. Oh my God, stop. I can hear you yelling from here, “I’m trying to write a book, how can I create that much content?” It seems overwhelming, but doing social media half-ass is like attempting a slap shot without a hockey stick. You can kick the puck to the goal, but it is going to take a while.
2. Social Media Platforms are not Created Equal
Another big mistake I see on social media is when people post the same format (copy, hashtags and photo) on every channel, the same way and at the same time. Just stop it.
The content and images you post should be tailored for each channel. You want to express an opinion about a certain article or book review, Twitter and LinkedIn are awesome options. You can share the link with your commentary, but don’t turn around and force it on Instagram. Repeat with me, “I’ll never post a link in an Instagram post ever, ever again.” It doesn’t work and only frustrates people.
You may have a message that works well across multiple channels, but tweak the copy to utilize that space. What you say in 140 characters with a hashtag on Twitter should look extremely different on Pinterest. Notice that I haven’t mentioned Facebook? Facebook is tricky beast, because let’s face it, few people are going to see it organically. Discussion for another day.
3. You’re Talking to Yourself
Do you have a friend that you adore, but s/he always manages to talk about themselves and never allows you participate in the conversation? Social can be that way. Avoid pushing out content that is too self-serving. Go through your timeline and do a gut check. Are you an active person in the writing community or are you in a dark room talking to yourself? Ask questions, try a poll, issue a writing challenge, ask for feedback, tag your fellow authors – engage with your audience.
4. Image Problems
Visual content is the name of the game these days, but we all don’t have those skills as a photographer or access to a graphic designer. I’m not a photographer and my best efforts are only made possible by PicMonkey, but it is an important part of social. Be thoughtful about your images. Instagram users like @TipsyWriter and @NewLeafWriter do an amazing job of creating images that are beautiful and unique. I’ve had some luck posting contract jobs at art schools for projects that cost very little to nothing. Those students are trying to build their portfolio, so it’s a win-win.
There are some other downfalls that deserve an honorable mention. Only sharing or reposting content from other people isn’t effective. People want to hear your thoughts and be invested in what you say. Another one I’ll mention is being too personal without offering anything of substance in return. Listen Linda, I would post stories and photos of my beagles all damn day, but people don’t want to see that if what I claim to offer is social media and writing tips.
A blog post on how to smoothly pull this together in a powerful and effective content calendar is coming soon. You got this.