Instagram, Facebook & the conundrum of social media

The wide world of all things electronic is distracting, wonderful, irritating, fun, stressful and pays dividends. I guess that means it’s like most things in my life, family and hobbies included. My experience over the last ten years with the various incantations of apps has been largely disappointing, because I want results. In other words, if I want to talk to you (and you me) the phone is the best way to go. Deals don’t happen by text. Negotiations are done real-time, email employed when confirming what’s been agreed upon is necessary.

My data points are similar to other individuals who are continually trying to figure it out when to use what, and why:

Facebook:

Personally, I have an account, but probably wouldn’t unless it weren’t required for my business account. Again, I like talking more than sharing. Opinions, with the associated volatility of emotions seriously stressed me out. I can’t write fiction when I’m in that state of mind, and I certainly don’t have time to be surfing when I’m doing business.

Business…I do have an author account, but it’s largely ignored. That said, I found it was FB was very beneficial in doing one thing: driving traffic to my blog. What I did:

  1. wrote the blog
  2. linked the header and wrote a short note in the FB posting, along with an image
  3. the viewership/hit rates and time spent on my website skyrockets when I do that…and so I started employing this strategy around book launches, events, competitions, give-away’s and other business-related activities.

The only downside is when I fell off writing my blog (because I was actually writing or working on the business side) then the traffic to my FB page dropped dramatically.

Net: FB (for authors/businesses) can be very helpful if employed the right way.

Instagram

Let me count the ways I used to love this app before it was purchased by FB. The primary reason I loved it (I’ll list the reason’s I still like it in a moment).

  1. I could control the timing of my content. what I posted was done at that moment
  2. the culture of IG is nicer, more interested in the images than opinions
  3. the focus is global, vs FB which tends by its nature to be more demographically US

Unfortunately, FB has ruined a few features…now they are offering up random postings at random times (which is beyond annoying). As a biz person and author, the last thing I want to do is annoy my followers with too many posts. Well, thanks FB. Now they annoy my followers for me…their algorithms just offer up whatever, whenever. It’s horrid.

That said, until something better comes along, I’ll keep using it. Here’s why.

  1. my book sales have a direct connection to certain posts. Seriously. It’s been about 2 yrs, and I post, on average, once a day, but at times, I’ve gone for 2 weeks without a post. In that time, I have been able to determine what images/text a) increase traffic to my site, b) increase ebook reading, c) invigorate print book purchases and more
  2. my holistic approach to how I market “my business,” which is multi-faceted, is completed by my website, Instagram and facebook
  3. Instagram seems to reach a completely different audience than FB. I could go into detail on this (and may do at another time) but suffice it to say that whereas I can track direct postings and sales from IG, I have no clue on FB. Even when I advertised on FB, I saw very little (as in, negligible) sales connections.
  4. Video on Instagram essentially increased my followers (and hence, book sales, event attendance) 30%. Seriously. I just recently started doing videos (I was scared. yes. I get scared), and it’s been dramatic.
  5. The ability to connect with people on an individual basis is really great. It’s nearly impossible to do with other apps of a similar nature, and I truly love seeing and hearing from ppl of all walks of life, all cultures and countries–and we are bound by common interests from inception.

Twitter…sigh. I abhor what I see on Twitter, and for that reason, only joined it about 2 weeks ago. I posted a bunch in a few days, realized it just wasn’t for me, and stopped. I’m not a politico, comedian, or other major personality that has the acumen or desire to engage in that world. Further, the demographic of the people on twitter doesn’t seem to connect with the folks I’m trying to reach.

If I had to make one observation about Twitter is that the people who responded to my (few) tweets were mostly international, which wasn’t surprising. My captions were of places I visited and used in my recent novels.

So this is a snapshot of what I’ve experienced. I’ll continue to explore and track other apps as the come about, but for now, I’m still a big fan of Instagram.

 

 

Don’t Cut the Social Media- Optimize It

“Can’t you stand there and do nothing?” grips Rog, who, says this in front of a burly construction worker with striking, emerald green eyes but a paunch so big I don’t know how he doesn’t fall over like a polar bear descending on its prey, the man’s father, the owner of the construction company, a soft-spoken man who considers the word “crap” to be a serious sin, and yet another brother, who fits somewhere in the middle of father and son, and looks at me with some sympathy. It is he who starts laughing as the other two are in shock at Rog’s statement.

“Who else is going to do this?” I retort, unrepentant. The four men and I were all standing around like a bunch of union freeway workers, staring at the hole in the ground, pontificating about the side of the small building (a 10×12). Seriously, how hard can this be? I thought, and started looking around the ground for weeds to pull. It’s Washington It’s fall. I went about a finger length from my foot and dug.

“My wife does the same thing,” says the sympathetic brother. “Can’t sit still for a moment. Always has to be doing something.” Rog thought he had a compatriot in arms, but no. This man actually went on to tell me he thought what I was doing was great. He certainly wasn’t going to go dig up weeds, nor was he going to pay for someone else to do it.

Welcome to my plight in the world. I get applauded and crucified at the same time for being what I consider industrious, and perhaps a little bent on getting the most out of my day. Part and parcel to this is my Calvanist-like reformation of not letting social media rule my world, such as it did. I’ll share a few of my learnings from the last 2 years.

1. Every 5 minutes counts. In the time it takes to make homemade whipping cream, one can choose to read a chapter in a book, complete 300 standing leg lifts (that would be 150 per side, one hand on the counter) or about 100 squats, pull some weeds, or make a note on Facebook and Twitter or send texts to someone I love. When you are standing at the Pearly Gates up above (or on your Starship with 99 virgins- supposing you are some half-breed Scientologist-meets-Muslim) then you are going to be asked: did you make the most of your time? No matter what race, religion or non-religion you are, you want to say YES! I made the most of my time.

2. Don’t cut the social media. Optimize it. Assuming you have at least one Facebook, one Twitter, one Pinterest with who-knows-how-many boards, and then one or maybe two websites (not to mention your addiction with texting-mom!), then you need to optimize and capitalize. Now that I have removed and launched a fresh set of social media, I’ve found the following process very helpful.

a. Set a time limit for each. That way, time doesn’t get away from you. I’m militant about my 5 minute rule for leg lifts, but that physically hurts me so I want to stop. Not so with social media.
blogs: I give myself 15 minutes, unless I have a photo, bu that’s my goal. I’m 12 min into this blog, believe it or not. But then, I actually have to concentrate, so I’m slow that way.

website update and management: 10 minutes for each

Facebook: the “coffee break activity” very strictly, I look at the FB in the morning, and that’s only if I have something of note to publish, or I’m looking for someone, an event etc. I don’t spend hrs on this: if I want to speak to someone, I call. Same thing for texting or emailing. That said, my friends who don’t let FB rule their life, will do FB on their coffee break. Instead of walking around the building and actually getting healthy, they indulge in the guilty pleasure of sitting outside (or wherever) and doing FB. Why not? It gives them an escape, a break from the day, and then they don’t feel as though they have missed out on life. I sort of like that idea, and perhaps I would do so, if I had those types of restrictions.

Twitter: my big thing here is that I push information automatically through both my websites. Blog once or post once and the “publish on twitter” button comes up and I say yes. it’s great.

General rules of thumb:
1. don’t type when your kids are around. It sets the worst example ever, and kids are keen on calling out hypocrisy.
2. don’t whip out the laptop unless the kids are doing homework. then they see you are both “working,” which in my case, is actually true.
3. try not to text your spouse when they are in a different part of the room. This is hysterically funny and pathetic all at the same time, and I’ll admit that Rog texts me during his breaks of Call of Duty.