S.T.A.R.T. III

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 A is for assembling, in this month’s article in particular, it’s about assembling your social media presence. Now that you have a website, you have somewhere to point to, a place to invite people to view. That invitation will play out mostly through social media. The way you handle social media will affect your traffic. It is your advertising and marketing campaign outlet.

Most of us have limited budgets, so view your social media presence as your pitch man. Let’s pause for a moment, perhaps what you’re sharing is not commercial. As a Minister, I firmly believe that anything we do should be founded on our principles. This however doesn’t mean silence anymore than it means shameless promotion.

Your message needs an eloquent messenger. The Lord Jesus promoted, not Himself, but His Message. He wanted all men to know that He offered Salvation to a lost world. Remember, you’re not promoting yourself, you’re promoting your message. If it’s a noble one, then don’t be hesitant for the wrong reasons. Be cautious, but go forward!

With that in mind, you’ll approach the diverse outlets differently. There are multiple resources that can help you with this. One of the greatest is the website of MichaelHyatt.com. Another is SethGodin.com. They have been an invaluable source to myself and others.

It’s also good to keep up with the most relevant websites, not only about your interest, but the technical aspects of site design. You don’t want to appear out of date because you’re behind on a technology change. It only takes me about five minutes a day to get the current tech news. I also listen to two weekly podcasts which help as well.

Let’s look at each social media channel separately. First, let’s look at Twitter. Twitter is one of my favorite channels, you can access important information quickly. Twitter is a favorite for input, but as far as output, you want to be selective with its use. Your viewers will get annoyed when you over share. At the same time, you want to have a balance. It’s not a good idea to under share either.

As in life, everything must be balanced, especially marketing. If all of your Twitter posts involve selling something, then you may need to rethink your strategy. However, that is different than announcing your blog post, or something you’re giving away for free. Free items add value to people, and they welcome those types of posts more readily.

A good rule of thumb when promoting something, is to tweet once in the morning, and once in the afternoon. Other posts, like personal reflections, quotes, etc. can be more frequent. You have to find what works for your audience of people.

Twitter is like a highway, Facebook is more like an interstate. This allows a higher volume of sharing, as long again as it is balanced. It lends itself to more visual promotions, such as graphics and video. Here caution must be used, you do not need a huge budget to produce quality graphics, so it’s not about the money. What it is about, is high quality. If you don’t have the time to create a high quality graphic, or video, then I would wait until you could produce a high quality product.

Facebook also is a wonderful vehicle to interact with your viewers or readers. Construct your posts that they’ll be able, should they choose, to highly interact with you. This is also true of Google Plus. In many ways, the use of both of these social networks would mirror each other. They are both high trafficable venues.

[tweetthis] Quality work is the only type worth attempting….[/tweetthis]

Instagram is a wonderful outlet for anyone that can provide high quality, interesting images for their viewers. If you can produce quality images, they will follow multiple posts a day. Your audience will most likely be as varied as any other, meaning some will be attracted to more of one than the other. This is why the more outlets you provide quality content for, the more people you’ll reach.

Lastly, Pinterest is also a personal favorite of mine for consumption. It is also a wonderful tool for distribution. Whether your medium is visual or written, audible or video, it can be pinned. Your followers can easily view all four through the medium of Pinterest.

Two important things should be mentioned here. Even though your social media presence reflects what you’re doing, it must not be self-centric. In other words, before you share anything ask yourself, will this add value to someone else? This also relates to sharing content other than your own. If you’ve read, watched, or listened to something that made you better, pass it on. Create a hub of value for your viewers, and they will frequently return to it.

Ecclesiastes 9:10

“10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do [it] with thy might;…”

Secondly, it starts and ends with quality. Quality in the sense that it is well thought out, entertainingly explained, and visually pleasing. These three are essential to anything you will do. It goes back to a principle found everywhere from the Bible to any civilization that produced anything still standing, quality work is the only type worth attempting.

When you start with social media, at least from the viewpoint of sharing something, it can be overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be. No one is saying that you have to do all of these at once. You can start one at a time and add them over time. However, it is important to open up to as many outlets as you can without wearing your content thin.

Your content will dictate where it will and won’t fit. You may stretch yourself, but don’t force it into a setting that it can’t be sustained. Try a few things, experiment, and if it doesn’t work, discard it. Even in completing your overall vision, not everything you start will you finish. Part of completing isn’t doing everything, but doing the right things well.

Assemble what works for you, what makes your adventure better. Like David, you’ll find what doesn’t fit will only weigh you down. Over time, you’ll uncover tools that you’ll grow into. David couldn’t use Saul’s armor, but he could wield Goliath’s sword. At the right time, you’ll step into the arena that works for you. Just do not allow fear of failure to keep you from making a S.T.A.R.T. .

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