There is no big secret to understanding social media. The clue is in the title. .. no, the first bit of it.
To be social, one must interact, we must involve ourselves, and to do that, we must allow ourselves to become invested in those around us, and allow them to become similarly so in us. This does not mean that our deepest darkest secrets need to be aired to the world, accompanied by some funny meme or cat photo. Rather, it means that if we want to achieve our goals,whatever they may be, we will need to invest ourselves into the process. Allow people to see who you are, to see your good and bad, the high and the low, the personal, the private – to a degree – and the public personas that we all have.
Without these three sides of ourselves, we are not real, we are just an image being projected, and people will be ale to tell that this image is not true. Maybe not at first, but it will happen. No facade can last forever.
The tricky part of this is decided where to do such involvement, managing the time it takes to be successful at it, and ensure that everything is still treated evenly.
When you first start Facebook, it is easy. You have a profile, a wall soon to be filled with all manner of items. It was your zone, your place to post. Then cam the personal page. The second split in your social media persona. The way I work it, as do many others, is that the profile is for the more personal items, while the (author) page is a place with a stronger preference towards the professional. Of course, as already mentioned, this cannot be a clear split. There must be a mixture on both places. This is easy enough, and when done well can give you a well-rounded presence in the online world.
All of this is within my grasp and is easily maintainable. The trouble arises when groups get thrown into play. I am a member of more groups than I care to think about, many I joined myself, even more I was added to. I remove a lot, but the ones that remain are all about writing and book promotion, or horror. These groups are an excellent form to reach a large number of eyes. However, just how much time do you need to spend in these groups to stop yourself being nothing but a spammer.
I know that I spread my links on a Tuesday and a Friday night, yet during the week very rarely visit more than a handful of them. It isn’t that I don’t like the groups, but how to keep track of them, how to use them properly. It takes more time than I realistically have. So, what is a writer to do? Do we forsake groups? Especially those that are filled with nothing but promo links? Sure there are 16,500 members, but how many are actually looking to buy?
Then there are the groups that encourage interaction between the members. This is great, but how much time should be spent interacting when the ultimate goal is sales. Surely it should not become a second page, or a second profile, a home away from home. So what? Once a week, once a day, drop by, leave some comments, pose a question or two? Is there a rule of thumb? I look through groups but don’t often see much sharing or many likes or comments for the posts that are there. Does this mean that using groups is a waste of time, does it mean that the age-old adage from school rings true, that people are afraid to ask when they don’t know and so sit silently pondering the same questions, or is it a mixture of everything and people are all members of too many groups and as such let everything slide?
I am toying with the idea of reducing the number of groups I post to, but instead focus on a core cluster of groups. Try to engage with the people there, and slip my links in around the conversations. Is it too much to ask? Probably, given my already hectic schedule, but is it worth the risk? That is a resounding yes!
How do you use Facebook groups? How often do you connect with the people in them, and where do you stand on the groups set up expressly for links and promo without any real interaction between members?