Second in a 7-part series
It occurred to me after writing the last piece that while I now knew where I wanted to be, I still didn’t know what I wanted to say.
What did I want to write about, what did I want the story of me to be? Should I be humorous, serious, or combination of both, and how do I accomplish this? Would one style of writing translate across all the mediums? Did I need to be a different version of me depending on which platform I was using?
I wasn’t sure of the answer, so I went online and read. Did you know everyone is an expert? Some of them are even getting paid to give false information! Heck, I can’t begin to know what to write about unless I buy a book, take a seminar, or sign up for a 10-part online course! Ugh!
What I found most frustrating were the myths. These things need to be in the Glamour magazine Do’s and Don’ts, wearing big black boxes over their words.
Social media urban myth number one:
I can broadcast in the same voice on multiple platforms and reach everyone that I want to reach. If I just utilize one of the many applications I read about every day on the various social media networks, I could make one post and have it feed to all my networks. False!
Why in the world would someone want to read the same words in five different places? That isn’t authentic, nor is it fair to the reader or the author. Every day, millions go in search of interesting, original content, and fail miserably.
It isn’t the readers’ fault, the people posting have become lazy. I too, have fallen into this habit. If I had not, I wouldn’t be in search of a solution. Fair warning, until then I may still use this one from time to time.
Social media urban myth number two:
People care about your words.
False! They care about your story. Why do we become fans of some authors’ books, but not others? It’s their story; whether they make us happy, sad, or disgusted, we become invested in hearing more. If you can’t relate to their story on some level, then it’s just a collection of words.
So like a good pair of Levi’s jeans, be original and authentic.
Social media urban myth number three:
Stay in the public eye, always be posting.
False! How in the world can you engage people when you’re too busy finding the next thing to post? While it is true that if you don’t write they can’t find you, too much of a good thing is, well, too much. Quality matters.
Personally, I think this myth got twisted because everyone’s definition of always is different. While the sentiment behind it is true, your always might be once a day, and his always might be once a week. Do what works for you but remember, you always want what you can’t have. There’s something to be said for an air of mystery. If people are interested in reading what you write, they’ll find you.
Social media urban myth number four:
Sharing is caring
Like if you agree
Comments are currency
False, false, and false! How can they be false? Everything we read tells us that if they aren’t directly engaging with your post, they didn’t read it or it didn’t speak to them.
It’s harder on some platforms than others to figure this out, but in my example let’s take Google+. I performed an experiment to see how many people took the time to read a post versus how many people engaged with the post. There is an underused asset called Google URL shortener. If you aren’t using it to replace links in your posts, you’re missing out.
I chose an odd time of day; one where engagement is typically slower, and wrote a post utilizing shortened links. After two hours, the post only had one share, 12 plus ones, and 19 comments. When I checked the stats for the shortened URLs, I found another 121 people who didn’t engage with the post but clicked through and read the links.
They say what you can’t see can’t hurt you. I say it’s time to grab the torches, and clear out the cobwebs! Just look at the engagement I found hiding behind the bushes. You are engaging on many different levels in social media, even when you don’t realize it.
Time to take stock. I’ve figured out where I want to be, and now I’ve learned what examples I don’t want to follow. I know I want to be an American original, to find a posting style that fits me, and never be fooled by the numbers.
What’s the next item on my agenda? To niche, or not to niche, that is the question!