Putting it Together – Social Media

Putting it Together is my Monday “artist talking about art stuff blog”.  The title comes from “Sunday in the Park with George,” the best (and possibly only) musical that is entirely dedicated to an artist talking about his art.  Is that pretentious enough?

I don’t want to pretend I know more about being a professional freelancer than anyone else.  I’m quite positive I don’t.

I think I’m starting to get this whole social media thing figured out a little bit, though.  The secret to freelancing and social media in this day and age is you must use it.  If you stand aloof from social media, you have sacrificed an essential connection to the people you want to reach.

It may be a source of pride that you aren’t on Twitter but is that a good enough reason?  Here’s a few things I think I’ve learned about use of social media.  I’ll note that a lot of this is comedy centric because that’s what I (want to) do.  A lot of it translates, though.

Twitter

Twitter is a great place to practice joke writing.  Can you make something funning in 140 characters?  Why or Why not?

Hash tag games are like mini joke writing workshops.  Essentially, a hash tag game is telling you to write a joke about a specific topic.  When you look at it that way, you are just exercising your joke writing muscle.  You need to keep exercising that muscle to make sure it is strong.

Twitter has no memory.  Remember that brilliant tweet you made yesterday?  Nobody else does.  If they didn’t look at their feed within about fifteen minutes of your tweet, they won’t see it.  That means you need to retweet blog posts, vines, show announcements or anything else you really want people to see at least once.

Remember that horrible joke you made yesterday?  Nobody else does.  Twitter is a great resource to just try stuff.  Don’t expect too much feedback though.  With Twitter, you are shouting through a megaphone in a  stadium filled with several million other people shouting through a megaphone.

Facebook

Rule number 1: Facebook and Twitter are for different purposes.  That means you shouldn’t link feeds.  Twitter is for tossing a bunch of thoughts into the void.  Facebook is far more personal.  When you toss ten or twelve responses to the @Midnight hash tag game up on Twitter, nobody thinks you are being obnoxious.  If you do it on Facebook, you are clogging their feed and they will probably remove you.

If you are producing content, Facebook will connect you with fans in a more personal way.  You need to be available to interact with them.

Likes are hugely important on Facebook if you want to reach a large audience.  The more likes you have, the more widely the Facebook algorithm will share your post.  So write stuff people like.

I would suggest no more than three to four posts to Facebook a day unless you are sharing important personal news with friends and family and you feel the need to update them more frequently (health related would be a good example).

Time your posts to when people are more likely to be reading Facebook.  First thing in the morning.  Right around lunch time.  After dinner.  More people will see them.

Interactive posts are the best.  Ask questions you want people to answer.  Say something controversial.  Facebook is a medium for people who want to talk to each other.  It is like a million conversations going on all at once.  You want to get people involved in the conversation.

Events are important if you are producing work.  Inviting people to them is not as important.  I get several dozen invites a day and at some point, it just becomes noise.  Rather than inviting your friends, share the event on your wall.  Use invites for really big events that you really want to push.  I’d say three to four major events a year.

You can’t rely on Facebook to get people to your show but you will get more people there if you are talking about it on Facebook than you will if you aren’t.

G+

I know a few people who use G+.  I know a lot more people who don’t.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t use it.  I’m just saying that if you are going to choose one or the other and you are trying to connect with consumers of your content, I’d choose Facebook.

Yeah, there are a lot of bad things about Facebook.  The one good thing, though, is the fact way more people are there.

If you have time to do both (I don’t), you should definitely do both.

Blogging

Blogging, for me, is a guaranteed writing outlet.  I’m committed to five new posts a week.  That means I have to write those posts.  Nothing is more important to a writer than constantly exercising that writing muscle.

I try to write posts at least a day ahead of time so I have time to review and edit.  It would be great if you had an editor but you probably don’t.  So don’t kick yourself if you miss something.  If people give you a grammar correction, thank them and fix it.

Spell checkers, however, are free.  Use them.

There are a lot of blogging platforms.  I’m not going to tell you which one is best.  Try them out, talk to friends and figure out what is best for you.

Write about what interests you.  Sure, you can and should write about your work but don’t feel bound by that.  A blog is a personal outlet and people who read it want to know something about you.

All the Rest

I’ve written about the social media outlets I use most often.  There are dozens more.  You have to make choices about what social media you are going to use but I don’t think you can choose to not use social media.

In this day and age, you cannot survive without internet content.  That means bands need to be putting out music for download and videos on YouTube. It means craftspeople need to be selling their work on Etsy and Ebay. Vine is an amazing comedy tool if you understand how to make it work for you. Personal connections are great but we live in a global market and the internet connects you to that market.

You may hate social media for all sorts of reasons but it is essential to success.  It is a tool to help you get better and it is a tool to connect you to everyone who wants to be a part of what you do.  You don’t have to like a hammer to realize there are times you need to use one.

The internet is here to stay until we use up all our fossil fuels and the use of electronics becomes prohibitively expensive.  If you hold yourself aloof from it, you are only hurting yourself.

Next week on Putting it Together, I’m going to write about putting together Big Fun Radio Funtime!

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About Petsnakereggie

Geek, movie buff, dad, musician, comedian, atheist, liberal and writer. I also really like Taco flavored Doritos.

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