It's an early Sunday morning as I sit down to write this Daily Golden Nugget. After 690 days you would think that I would run out of topics, but that never seems to happen. I have a list of 16 topics that I've seen in tech news recently, and other questions that customers have asked. There is plenty of source material that I can grab, review, compare data to, and then write something that my readers will appreciate.
But then there are other topics that are simply good to share directly to one of my primary social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.
I haven't read a Sunday newspaper in more than 10 years or more. I remember that my grandparents always had their Sunday morning ritual of reading the huge "Sunday paper." Back then I was only interested in the 4 color printing of Garfield that came in the Sunday paper; meanwhile, my Grandfather would carefully turn every page and read every headline.
Perhaps I've become my Grandfather, but instead of the Sunday paper, I'm using news feed programs on my computer, on my iPhone, and on my Android to quickly peruse at least 90 headlines on different topics. I've fully read about 30 articles so far, and skimmed at least 12 others. I socially shared 14 of articles that I found interesting and would benefit my reading audience. I don't simply share links, but rather I provide my own summaries or comments.
Sharing content socially can be a big waste of time if you don't use posting tools and shortcuts. In "olden days" we all had to log directly into Twitter, Facebook, and, um, MySpace to share what stuff; but now we have convenient sharing buttons and programs.
In case you are curious, I currently using a paid Buffer App account ( http://bufferapp.com/ ) and a paid Hootsuite account ( http://hootsuite.com ) to manage most of what I share. Hootsuite allows me to share to all the networks. I've tried other social sharing and management apps, but after a few years of frustration I've found that Hootsuite works best for my needs.
I also found that the fastest way to share to Pinterest is through my iPhone. As of this writing no one has created a reliable way to schedule Pinterest Pinning. Pingraphy is trying ( http://pingraphy.com/ ) but many of my scheduled pins got lost in cyberspace somewhere, and the scheduling process is too buggy for any business to rely upon. I don't want to flood my Pinterest followers with new pins, so I email them all to my smartphone and then I casually share them randomly when I have 45 seconds.
On any given day, across all networks, I have at least 25 scheduled "shares" just for these Daily Golden Nuggets. Those 25 posts were prescheduled sometime in the past, as recent as yesterday, and as far back as six weeks ago. I use Hootsuite for that scheduling process.
To keep up with news or points of interest I use the Pulse smartphone app. It's available for the iPhone and Android, but you can also use it on your computer at http://www.pulse.me. This is the program I used this morning to skim through 90 headlines, skim 12 articles, and fully read 30. And it's from this program that I was able to transfer 14 articles to my Buffer App account for sharing throughout the day today and tomorrow.
The worst part of social media sharing is when you get overloaded by a spewing stream of shares from the same person or the same business. The whole idea of being social is to share things you find interesting, but don't over share! The fastest way to lose friends and followers is to spew out 10 shares at a time. Social sharing is supposed to be an occasional trickle of information, not a massive opening of a floodgate once daily.
When asked how much time to spend on social every day, most social media experts will say at least an hour. But they will also tell you that social media is a big distraction and you should only do it for a single block of time every day. My own experience tells me that that's the wrong approach. But the right approach requires the use of a smartphone, experimentation, and realizing that you can be social in small bites of time, as short as 45 seconds, throughout the day.
It does take about 1 hour every day to pre-schedule the 25 shares for each Daily Golden Nugget to post over a 6 week period. The amount of time I spend reading headlines and summaries through Pulse changes every day. Sometimes I spend 5 minutes, sometimes as much as 45 minutes. This Sunday morning, before writing this Nugget, I spent 3 hours going through those 90 headlines on an array of topics ranging from business, to food, to art, leisure, and technology.
Being social doesn't mean you ONLY share. You also need to engage somehow. This is where the smartphones come in very handy.
I try not to allow my smartphone to distract from daily work. Instead, when I have a free moment (like waiting for the printer to warm up, waiting for my dinner to cook, and waiting on line at the grocery store) I'll glance at the various apps to look if anyone has commented on any of my shares. When someone comments, I always try to comment back.
Engaging with people who comment on your social shares is more important than reading and commenting on what others are sharing. You should always interact with your audience first, before creating new engagements with others. This is especially important in order to show you customers that you can be reached through social media.
Once you've completed your duties of customer engagement, only then should you read, comment, and re-share what others have posted.
Social media experts usually tell you how to increase your engagement and visibility, but they don't tell you how to capitalize on those engagements. When you actively churn the techniques presented by other social media experts you may gain 3000 fans on Facebook but yet you struggle to bring even 10 visitors to your website monthly.
The entire process I explained here doesn't bring huge social exposure to my efforts, but the process of sharing interesting things actually brings several hundred visitors per month to my website.
And that's the goal. Get people to your website and convert them into a customer.