We live in an age of instant communications and being able to get the word out about almost anything in a very short time. Social Media is very often the venue of choice here. The choices seem to grow every day: Pinterest, Blogger, WordPress, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Google+, and the ubiquitous Twitter that has even had cameos in various movies and TV shows, including the BBC series “Broadchurch.” But more isn’t necessarily better.
The big question is: Are you wasting time on social media?
First, ask yourself why you are even on social media sites. For me, it’s to promote my tea articles, share information on tea with others, and promote the wonderful products of a couple (so far) of tea vendors. Pinterest is pretty useless for this, but I stay on it anyway. LinkedIn is mainly for job hunters, B2B, and professional connections, but it is gaining among people who just want to share interests, including tea.
Second, you need to keep your time on these sites focused on your goal. Call me a bit undisciplined, but I find myself very often engaging in social media “chat” on several of these sites, going so far as to spend hours on Twitter exchanging tweets about nothing even remotely tea related. Sigh!
Third, the technology can work against you and thwart your efforts. Case in point is Facebook. Recently, an article revealed that Facebook was once again tinkering with how content was displayed to users. Here’s the article. To me, this seems as if you have to post something that will immediately garner a high number of “likes” from your Facebook “friends” so your posting will stay in view and not get squashed. You can counter this by sticking with groups and regularly visiting friends pages, but that puts us back at the second item where you are spending far more time than you can possibly afford. (I have to constantly balance time on these sites with time needed to research and write and do tea reviews, which take several hours to do.)
Fourth, choosing the right sites to be on. Some are of minimal use and organized so that you get far more junk in your view than is needed. Case in point here is Google+, which is loved and hated. There seems to be no middle ground among its users. My first foray into its depths left me feeling in need of a shower… or two… maybe even three… long ones… with lots of hot water. The main reason some bloggers are on it is to improve their Google Page Rank. Instead of “groups” like on Facebook, there are communities. Anyone can create one. There are dozens with the name “Tea,” and most are just dead-ends. A few postings were put on initially, and then the community was abandoned. And then there are “circles” where you can glom together people with whom you want to share things quickly. I have a circle called “Tea Folks,” for example, for sharing various items with.
Fifth, being selective about the content you view, “like,” “plus,” etc. The bad thing about Google+ is the stream of trash floating through it. Now, I realize that’s a very subjective statement, but my guess is that, even if your taste differs from mine, you will find a high level of trash there, too. You will just designate different things as trash than I would. The way to control it is to avoid “plus”-ing it. The same goes for Facebook, where they track what you like, and feed page recommendations, ads, etc., to you accordingly.
Sixth, if you are a business using social media to reach your customers on a more personal and interactive level, you are committing a heinous act — at least, that’s how some of these sites make it seem. Facebook is again key here, where they tinker with your page “likes” and “people reach” to make them seem lower and get you to boost reach by paying $10-15-20 or more per item.
To sum up, choose which sites to be on based on your goals, stay focused while on them, and be aware of their technical issues. This will help you get benefit from these sites and not just end up wasting time on them!
© 2013 A.C. Cargill photos and text