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Do you know how to use social media? Or any other social sites for that matter?

I’m not going to lie, something has been driving me up the freckin’ wall.

No wait, this outrage deserves a full on exclamation of my frustration.

Let’s try this again. Something has been driving me up the fucking wall! And it should be making you crazy as well. (Do I have your attention?)

How to use social media  - PeppercornCreative.com | website design agency and blog & business mentor in Vancouver BCThere’s no way that it can’t be. If you’re like me at all, you’ve spent countless hours creating content on your blog and website, sharing updates on The Facebook or the tweeters or the Pinterest or Instagram or Tumblr or Google+, put blood, sweat and tears into your business and brand only to end up talking to yourself.

What do you get back for all your hard work? Zilch.

Or you haven’t spent countless hours on social media or your blog because the non-responsive abyss of death has stared you in the face one too many times.

And all you really, really want is more followers, to get a reply to your social update or maybe, if we dream big, to make a sale or two so you can leave your boring day job or be able to afford that new shiny toy in the shop window downtown. For me, that’s a new martini shaker and bar set.

You might have thought that you were doing something wrong. I know that thought has crossed my mind when I’ve sent out something into the social sphere that I thought was pure gold, only to be met by silence. Unless of course the twerps or peeps or igers wanted me to do something… Like check out their new blog post, or vote for their website or click, like, share or comment.

After months of exasperation, frustration and general crappiness, it all came to one pivitol question for me: Have I been shunned?

Do you know what I’m talking about here? I think you do. I can feel your exasperation through the computer screen. Of course I hadn’t been shunned. And neither have you. How do I know?  I *think* I have a solution for that. Nay, I *know* I have a solution for it.

I’ve seen 5X the growth in my small business over the past year and it’s because of how I use my social media and blog. You want more response to your tweets, more likes on your Facebook page, more follows on your Instagram, more people to add you to circles and more comments on your blog post? Here it is…

Be social. For the love of all that is good in the world, stop automating your updates. Just stop it. Stop scheduling, stop auto-updating when a blog post goes live, stop avoiding the social platforms. Automation is the death of all things social. And the problem that’s creating this non-responsive abyss of death we’re all familiar with is in fact, automation.

I know I’m going to get a slew of emails from marketers and bloggers telling me how automation is the way forward and if you sync your accounts and the magical man in the machine updates all your platforms at once it’ll save you so much time and without it your business or blog or brand would fail, the world would fall apart and the skies would be filled with fire and all children would become tools of the devil and we’d resort to eating each other and the pigs would rule all.

But if I can channel my inner Dr. Phil (and believe me, I am no Dr. Phil fan), let me ask you ONE thing: How’s that working out for ya?

…don’t even ask me how I know that he says that. I can’t explain it.

Are you seeing a decent return on your investment? Social, monetary, community growth or otherwise? Are you projecting the growth, success and visibility you want to see? Or are you shouting into the non-responsive abyss of death?

If you really want to see a return for your work, let’s try something else. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. So let’s give sanity a try. Let’s give humanness a shot.

Tweet: “Let’s put the social back in social media!”Tweet:
Click to tweet this!

 We’ve gotten so wrapped up in the media part of social media, we’ve forgotten the social. And I hate to say it (actually, I don’t. I love it) like all good business, the return on your investment comes from connections. Not networking, but real, genuine connections. You want more followers, likes, shares, retweets, pins and comments? You have to take the time to give those same things back to the people you value in your industry and community. And that means you have to show up and actually be on the platforms.

I want you to succeed with your goals and your dreams and that ALL starts with being present. Building relationships. Taking the time to invest in your audience, your community and your peers and having fun with that. Then, and only then, can you make a withdrawal.

So here’s your homework. 4 Things you can do right now – today – to do it right.

If you want to know how to use social media and the other social platforms to see a real return on your investment, these 3 things are where we start. The key word being do. Intention is great, but nothing comes from nothing. You have to actually execute. Here they are:

1. Unschedule and unsync. Do this for your social accounts and your blog. Then create a simple checklist that you can follow every time you publish a new post. I have one I use that breaks this down even further by Facebook group, pin boards and I actually schedule my activity on social platforms so I don’t waste time.

Ultimately, it takes a whopping 20 minutes to update manually and specifically to the platforms you’re on and in ways that show your audience that you care enough about them to show up. If you want them to invest in you, you must first invest in them.

2. Listen to this one podcast. Even if you don’t listen to podcasts. Those of you who follow my posts know that I’m a huge advocator of this podcast with Scott Stratten and Cliff Ravenscraft. I suggest you listen to it. It’s a little long but if you’re cleaning the house, driving to work, crafting some paper art or working out at the gym, listen to it. Absorb it. Then apply it to not only how you use Twitter but to all your social platforms.

3. Cut out the bullshit. Once you listen to the show, un-follow people. Get down and dirty. Be ruthless and cut out the people who offer nothing of value for you. Everyone you follow should either provide friendship/support, informative and helpful information or be entertaining. If they don’t provide one of those 3 things for you, get rid of them. Then find people who ARE present on social media and ARE worth your time. This will not only clean up your feeds so YOU get the content you’re interested in reading and engaging with, it’ll save you the time of scrolling through excessive noise and inspire you to be active on the platform.

4. Invest in your community. Start giving back.  For every group you’re in on Facebook, every community you’ve joined on Google+, every group you’ve joined on LinkedIn, or every time you update Twitter, take 20 minutes each day to give back. Reply to other people’s updates, thoughtfully re-share their material, comment on their blog posts. Do this for 30 days. Not only will you start to see more followers and engagement in your feeds, but you’ll start do develop the relationships that will pay off in the long term. You can do 20 minutes.

That’s a total of 40 minutes a day that you should be spending on your brand on social media.

Let me ask you this: What can you change – right now – to make your brand a priority? What can you do less of, omit or delegate so you have 40 minutes a day to promote your own stuff and give back to your community so YOU get the full return on your effort and make your business, blog or brand better? Email me and tell me exactly that – I’d love to hear from you!

Speaking of other platforms, you may also want to check out how to engage on Instagram and Pinterest as well for other specific tips and techniques to grow your traffic, audience and increase the return on your investment on two of the most popular & quick growing platforms right now.

In essence, this kind of approach to social media and blogging – a social and relational one – is really the only way to leverage your brand, website and content in a productive, profitable and long term way. That’s how I’ve seen 5X the growth in my business over the past year; There’s no reason you can’t see the same thing.

Do you auto-schedule your updates? Sync your social accounts? Will you change that? What are you going to do differently to foster and nurture your community? What’s your experience on social media? What do you find the most frustrating about it or blogging? Share your thoughts below or shoot me an email – for reals! I promise to reply personally.

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29 Comments on Do it Right: How To Use Social Media

  1. suzy
    July 31, 2014 at 6:50 am (3 years ago)

    This is such a great post. I have so many thoughts on it.

    I totally agree with not auto scheduling. I see so many people do that on G+ because they think they need a presence on G+. But they never really engage over there. If I know someone never responds to a comment or a share, I stop sharing their things.

    I just started FB and was considering auto schedule because I thought that is what you do on FB, but this article is making me reconsider.

    And since tomorrow is August first, what a great time to do your 30 day challenge! I am going to do it. I am going to delete G+ communities I don’t participate in, unfollow people who I don’t connect with, decrease FB groups and connect more. I’ll keep you posted.

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      July 31, 2014 at 6:42 pm (3 years ago)

      Oh Suzy!!! I’m so excited for you! 🙂

      I’m glad the article resonated with you. I totally agree – if someone CLEARLY isn’t present on social media, I stop following them. Then I inevitably get the “why did you stop following me?” email. It’s like, DUH! Because I’m on there to connect, not to be interrupted and shouted at. haha..

      Seriously though, I’m stoked for you to try 30 days. Do it. I’m convinced you’ll get more value and bang for your buck! Definitely let me know how it goes. I can’t wait to hear all about it (good or bad. but it’ll be good) 😉

      Thanks for commenting!!

      Reply
  2. Tim
    July 31, 2014 at 2:33 pm (3 years ago)

    I like your point by point guide to increasing readership through online community and the give and take philosophy. I have some house cleaning to do.
    Tim recently posted…Disappearing LisaMy Profile

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      July 31, 2014 at 6:45 pm (3 years ago)

      Hey Tim!

      I’m excited for you – there’s nothing better than a clean house. Or in this case, a clean house of social media. Does that even make sense? 😉

      Let me know how it goes for you and good luck!! (wine helps during this process fyi)

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.
      Kristy Gardner recently posted…Do it Right: How To Use Twitter (and other social sites) My Profile

      Reply
  3. Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie)
    July 31, 2014 at 3:01 pm (3 years ago)

    This is really a different way of viewing things and for that very reason does require stepping back and taking a look at putting the social back in social media. I blog once a week and I do auto schedule those posts. To be honest, folks have started telling me that are used to seeing me pop up on Sunday mornings…but still worth looking at.
    Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) recently posted…Time…Where’s The Justice?My Profile

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      July 31, 2014 at 6:49 pm (3 years ago)

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong at all Jacqueline with autoscheduling a post to go live – I do it all week long between this blog and my food blog. I think the trouble starts (and by trouble, I mean the non-responsive abyss of death) when we auto update our social feeds.

      I agree that your audience comes to expect content from you for sure and so posting regularly, on a consistent schedule is very important. Imagine how stoked they would be though if you not only posted on Sundays but updated your social feeds manually so you could reply to some of their updates and shared their stuff…! Super fans? I think so 🙂

      I love what you’re doing – thank you so much for taking the time to comment!

      Reply
  4. Marzia
    July 31, 2014 at 3:07 pm (3 years ago)

    Kristy, here I am!
    I have a wordpress blog, and should probably find more people that blog about similar topics there.
    I have a blog that would probably fit better LinkedIn, and would have more success there.
    I give back, but not in a planned way, that’s probably my issue.
    I blog on a regular basis for some time, and then something big happens in my life and I take a break.
    When I help others, I don’t always sign and say “look, by the way, I have a blog, would you give a check to it?”
    I help for the sake of helping.
    I am a bit naive, I know!

    I am not looking for big numbers, to be honest. I would simply like to feel like I help somebody. With my blog as well.

    Twitter… I never managed to use it very well.
    Maybe I will have to learn how to do it!

    Thanks for the tips, I am not ready to follow the one of getting rid of the automatic notification when I write a post, but will think about it! 🙂
    You need time to make an idea yours.
    Marzia recently posted…Allow Yourself to ShineMy Profile

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      July 31, 2014 at 6:54 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Marzia 🙂

      Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed comment – it’s great to hear from you!

      It does sound like you suffer from a lack of blog planning/organizing which can very quickly kill your focus and the attention of your audience. I wonder if you could set aside one to two hours, one day a week (the same time and day each week) and publish ONE post. Then dedicate 10 minutes right after that and a couple more times that week to promoting it, engaging and commenting with others and re-sharing their stuff…? One post a week is plenty to get you started. Once you have that in the bag, you can start thinking about posting 2X a week.

      Small steps and organization are key when running a blog that helps people. You might want to grab my free Blog Schedule Printables to help you begin.

      Thanks again!

      Reply
  5. Patricia Weber (@patweber)
    July 31, 2014 at 3:55 pm (3 years ago)

    Hoping this won’t set you off however – I scheduled your post to go out through Hootsuite. Sorry because I know that was your first rule. But the rigidity of that doesn’t fit for me. I WILL say, I am already social. I share Tweets, FaceBook posts, LI posts, heck all of them. I also comment on ALL of them. I also have conversations and move them along to either phone, Skype or Google+.

    I’ll be listening to the long podcast another time. I will tell you, I regularly unfollow people everywhere I am. Mostly, I don’t follow back, or accept invites to be friends or connect. It’s nothing personal. It’s just I only want serious engagers and networkers.

    Your points are well taken!
    Patricia Weber (@patweber) recently posted…Top BS Facts about Introvert Experiences You Might Think Are TrueMy Profile

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      July 31, 2014 at 6:56 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Patricia!

      Great seeing you on the Tweeters 🙂

      I totally understand what you mean about hard scheduling time to update – it isn’t for everyone. Personally if I DON’T do that, I end up wasting time being social, rather than being socially productive. If I have a finite amount of time to engage, I’m much more attentive and effective.

      It sounds like you’re doing some good things on your social accounts and I look forward to keeping up with you more in the future! Have a great afternoon (it’s almost my wine time).

      Reply
  6. Michele LOBOSco
    July 31, 2014 at 5:54 pm (3 years ago)

    Loved reading this. And I love the suggestion to spend sometime every day just giving back and interacting with the communities we are all a part of. That is a great idea…and one I plan on putting into action.
    Michele

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      July 31, 2014 at 6:59 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Michele!

      Thank you so much – I appreciate your kind words. I think we just get so bogged down with creating our own content and getting our faces out there, we forget how much our communities support us. In fact, the more we give back, the more they’ll give to us. I know that sounds a bit selfish – like we should expect something in return – but it isn’t. I say, don’t expect something in return, give back from the heart and with or without expectations, our communities (and we) will flourish, find more followers and generate new relationships which will lead us to success!

      Thanks again and happy Thursday! (aka Grey’s Anatomy night in my house. Even though it sucks now).

      Reply
  7. Carl
    August 1, 2014 at 5:30 am (3 years ago)

    I loved this post. Short, sweet, and right to the point. You really do make a great point with only following those who do something for you. That’s the way it should be, right? Definitely spreading the word about this great post. Thank you.
    Carl recently posted…Summer Petals in Yeosu, ExploringMy Profile

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      August 1, 2014 at 12:32 pm (3 years ago)

      Hey Carl!

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and share your thoughts about the article. I agree – there’s no reason to follow people if you get nothing out of it. And the value can be anything – entertainment, knowledge, support, etc… If you’re following people simply because they followed you or it seemed like the “nice” thing to do, it’s time to clean that shit up.

      Great having you on the blog!!

      Reply
  8. William Butler
    August 1, 2014 at 3:42 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi Kristy,
    Considering how much noise there is on social media, I like the idea of streamlining and engaging with those who engage with you. It is so annoying when you get pinged by a “friend” on Facebook and all they say is, “Hello, Hi.”
    You post is a great reminder to be social, just as you are in the community you live in. Thank you!

    Kind Regards,
    Bill
    William Butler recently posted…Numbers, Large and Small, and the Secret of LifeMy Profile

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      August 5, 2014 at 7:20 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Bill!

      I totally agree. If someone wants to poke me they should text or show up at my door at 2am, right?

      …Without the context of body language and tone of voice, poking, pinging, etc.. is just annoying.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!!

      Reply
  9. Holly Higbee-Jansen
    August 2, 2014 at 9:52 am (3 years ago)

    Yes, I did the auto scheduling for awhile and found I got nowhere with it, until I was advised to post to each group with a personal comment just for that group. My engagement has increased substantially. I’ve also been trying to build in my instagram account (I am a photographer, but that’s more for fun) and of course my followers are increasing as I like and follow others. Brilliant! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      August 5, 2014 at 7:21 pm (3 years ago)

      Absolutely Holly! The more active we are in our communities, the more followers will increase.

      …I’m curious, you autoschedule updates to LinkedIn Groups?
      A. how do you do that?
      and B. how do you give back to those who comment on your updates there?

      Reply
  10. Pamela Heady
    August 2, 2014 at 7:19 pm (3 years ago)

    Kristy! Yes, connecting and engaging is key! I’m seeing that the more I participate and comment on other blogs and social media sites, that the return on investment is rising. It’s not completely reciprocal yet but just like any relationship, things take time to develop and grow. And as far as updating social media sites with new blog posts…I’ve done both! I used to do it all manually. Then I synced it with WP to do it automatically, and now I’ve removed my most engaging social media sites from syncing and do those myself at more targeted times. I also think this whole blogging/social media world is extremely fluid and ever-changing! Being able to ebb and flow whether with trends or where your connections are most prevalent is important too. I’ll check out that podcast too! Thanks again Kristy for all of your advice!
    Pamela Heady recently posted…Steamed Asparagus the Alton Brown WayMy Profile

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      August 5, 2014 at 7:23 pm (3 years ago)

      Pamela I love it! I totally agree – blogging, socail media, engagement, etc… all of it is an ever-evolving process and we need to be fluid with that. Nothing is static and everything changes so keeping our digital strategy moving is a key part of how we “do” our blogs, businesses and brands.

      Thanks so much for your insights – spot on!!

      Reply
  11. Tuhin
    August 5, 2014 at 9:30 am (3 years ago)

    Spending time interacting with group members and communities helps a lot. however due to stringent schedule I am unable to dedicate much time in this area. Have to work on planning my routine I guess. Good post

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      August 5, 2014 at 7:25 pm (3 years ago)

      I understand Tuhin. Keeping on schedule is very important and making sure you get the stuff done you need to get done is a part of life (online and real).

      An important lesson I learned last year was to spend less time creating content, and more time promoting it. This means actually prioritizing my communities and adding them into the strict schedule. Even if it’s only 5 blog comments a day to support my fellow writers and people in my industry, it means the world to them and increases my visibility and social worth ten fold.

      Reply
  12. Jen Letts
    February 19, 2015 at 8:14 pm (3 years ago)

    This post really spoke to me. I’d stopped blogging for various reasons after years and years awhile back and am just restarting. I’m restarting because I miss the community. But all this talk now days about prescheduling all these things makes me feel like I’m sending drones out to interact with other drones instead of people chatting with people. Glad you’re advocating communities and interaction. 🙂

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      February 22, 2015 at 10:26 am (3 years ago)

      Hey Jen! I can totally empathize – there’s a lot of really great people in the blogging world and it allows us to connect with people who really value and enjoy the same things as us. I’m glad you enjoyed the article and I hope it helps you in re-starting up your blog and social efforts.

      Good luck to you!!

      Reply
  13. Karen
    March 2, 2015 at 12:24 am (2 years ago)

    These are great tips! I just discovered your website and I’m reading every single post you shared. You’re precious for almost entrepreneurs like me. I just started out the renovation of my brand and I can tell you these advices are pure gold. Thank you, really.

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      March 4, 2015 at 9:27 am (2 years ago)

      Hi Karen! Aw thanks 🙂 That means a lot! I work very hard on providing tools and resources for you so you can live the life you love. I hope you find them useful. I’d love to hear more about how you’re renovating your brand – that’s so exciting! If you want, shoot me an email: kristy@ohksocial.com

      Reply
  14. Tasha
    October 18, 2015 at 4:20 pm (2 years ago)

    Love your advice about un-sync-ing and getting back to the social.
    Instagram & Pinterest are my 2 go-to social media sights, so I’m off to read what you have to say about them now!
    Cheers,
    Tasha
    Tasha recently posted…taking stock #006My Profile

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      October 21, 2015 at 10:33 am (2 years ago)

      Oh Tasha! I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂 I totally love Instagram and pretty much live there. Depending on your blog – which is awesome btw – those are often 2 of the BIGGEST platforms to drive traffic to your site and foster community. I hope you find those 2 posts helpful. And thanks for taking the time to comment. It’s good to see you!
      Kristy Gardner recently posted…How to Use Facebook (when you hate using Facebook)My Profile

      Reply
  15. Glitterfly Jessa
    July 20, 2017 at 12:57 pm (1 month ago)

    Yay! What a solid post. This is easy and non-overwhelming information. It’s totally attainable to commit to 40 mins a day of actually being social!

    Thanks 🙂
    Glitterfly Jessa recently posted…The Only Trail Mix You Need This SummerMy Profile

    Reply

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