WHEN DOING MINISTRY LIKE WRITING OR SPEAKING, we must connect in a meaningful way with those we serve. And hate it or love it, social media plays a major role in building that connection. Like any other relationship, social media requires consistency. It’s not enough to build online connections when we have a book or event. Connecting online is an ongoing aspect of the lifestyle we’ve been called to.
All too often, I see writers get caught in a downward spiral of “all or nothing” social media. This cycle can leave us drained, frustrated and convinced that connecting online isn’t for us.
The Trap of Too Much Time Spent
This part of the cycle usually begins when someone is learning a new platform or way of approaching social media. Over the course of a few days or weeks, they’ll spend hours at a time online. At the outset, this investment of time reaps results, and that taste of victory spurs them on. But true platform building with social media cannot be rushed.
Here are just a few reasons it takes time to gain real traction:
• When we follow someone, it takes time for them to find that we followed them and follow us back.
• Not everyone is online at the same time. So, a concentrated burst of updates within a few hours will net us fewer views than a few updates over the course of 24 hours.
• Everyone manages social media differently. Some only look for new followers once or twice a week.
Beyond the downside of the issues mentioned above, there is also the very real issue of user burnout when we spend that much time online. After that first heady rush of victory building online connections, there’s very little movement on the momentum front, and frustration begins to take over.
The reason is simple. A strong online presence is built through the consistency of small repeated bites of time. Spending only 10 minutes a day, four to five days a week, will get you much further than spending a 2-hour stretch every week or so.
Stop the Cycle
• Set a time limit — and stick to it. Anything more than 30 minutes a day and our return on investment drops off drastically.
• Set goals — reasonable goals.
• Take on a single platform at a time. Get it established before tackling another.
• Use a scheduling program like Hootsuite or Buffer to multiply your exposure and limit the time you spend.
Always take the long view and remember that consistency is the only key that unlocks social media success.