When putting together strategies and making adjustments (and the occasional complete overhaul) of social media pages, processes, and content, there’s nothing better than to get a client truly “plugged in” to the social media world. There’s an excitement that surrounds it, particularly after a couple of weeks when the results start improving and the processes start moving like clockwork.
There’s a challenge, though. Every now and then, the system starts to work too well. The plans can be so effective that it’s good to take a quick break from the routine and step into a realm that I like to call Acoustic Social Media. It’s a time when you stop the planned posts, turn off the automation tools, and actually spend a day or two (or five) getting your hands involved and actually play directly with the social media profiles.
The Machine: Playing Songs While Plugged In
You should be using tools. If you’re not, you’re either small enough to stay nimble and effective working everything directly or you’re not being successful with it at all. Management and monitoring tools can allow strong business pages and profiles to maintain a consistently improving social media presence, run timely campaigns when they’re supposed to run, and put together an overarching strategy that goes unnoticed by the casual observer but that is a work of art from the birdseye view.
I’ll use my Twitter account as an example. I check for Twitter replies every hour or two when I’m at the computer. It’s important to me to maintain a strong Twitter presence, so the majority of my direct time on Twitter is seeing the Tweets of the people I follow and responding to direct communications. I could do that all day. Unfortunately, that leaves very little time for actually Tweeting from a business perspective; my account is a combination of business and personal.
To make sure I remain robust but engaging, the majority of my Tweets that aren’t directed at people are done through tools:
- I use Buffer for a good chunk of them. My formula is relatively simple – image, link, quote or thought, link, quote or though, link, image. Rinse. Repeat. The majority of these Tweets are personal, though I include some business Tweets from time to time if it’s important.
- I use Triberr to find and auto-schedule interesting marketing content. Like Buffer, Triberr does the scheduling for you based upon your settings which determine how often you’re posting. I scan the content on Triberr, open the links that I like, then approve the good ones to be posted into the queue.
- Content that I post on Pinterest, Tumblr, Scoop.it, and my personal WordPress blog go live the moment that I publish on those platforms.
- Important Tweets – those I post directly through Twitter whenever they occur.
By doing it like this, I have a machine of content generation that works very much like a band. Each tool has its purpose and unique sound just as the guitarist, drummer, bass player, and vocalist all have their roles when playing their songs. When looking at my feed, it looks pretty darn random. It’s hard to see the rhyme or reason. In essence, it looks as if I’m just an extremely active Twitter user who posts whenever I see something that strikes my fancy. It also looks like I’m awake 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s not far from the truth, but I do sleep on occasion.
Staying “plugged in” to the machine allows for a consistent flow of content that goes out at the right times. It’s enough to be ever present but not so much that it gets annoying.
Unplugging – Acoustic Social Media
There are some tremendous advantages when popular singers leave the big stage and run some shows in a cozy atmosphere without the assistance of amplifiers. First and foremost, the sound is more pure. Regardless of how amazing the sound is at a large concert, it really doesn’t compare to listening to artists playing an acoustic guitar and a singing into a microphone connected to a couple of small speakers.
The intimacy is palpable. You can see the sweat on their temples, the movement of the fingers over the strings, the emotion in the faces during the tough notes. It’s real. They’re not looking at the crowd as “Cleveland” or “Sydney”. They see the crowd as a group of people who came to hear them bare their souls.
The music isn’t just heard by the audience. It’s felt. It’s raw. This is where artists and audiences can really make a connection.
Social media works in much the same way, only without the sweat. Turning off the automation for a little while allows users to reach out with their business pages. They can respond more quickly to what’s happening in real time. They can have conversations that happen back and forth at a rapid pace rather than replies that are hours apart.
I will likely never be convinced that a “set it and forget it” approach to social media works, but “set it and monitor closely” is the most scalable and effective way to truly use social media for business. If you have the time to skip the “set it” part and work social media in an acoustic manner from time to time, you won’t just be mixing it up with proper engagement and a personal touch. You’ll have an opportunity to roam around in the virtual world and see what’s going on outside of your campaigns and strategies. Just as few artists are able to be successful without the big concerts, few companies can sustain a purely organic social media presence without full time employees dedicated to the process.
If you can unplug from time to time, you’ll find the value within the intimacy.