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Unplug Your Social Media Machine and Go Acoustic from Time to Time

Acoustic Guitar

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.

As John “Hannibal” Smith used to say in every episode of the A-Team, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

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.

Views: 163

Tags: Social, Social Media

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Comment by Alexander Lau on February 15, 2013 at 7:51am

Saw this, might be interesting to you guys.

The demographics of Social Media users: http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Social-media-users.aspx

Comment by J.D. Rucker on February 14, 2013 at 3:33pm

Great points, Alexander. Sorry for the late reply - conferences are a killer. You're absolutely correct - from a social signals perspective as well as from a pure best practice for social, it's good to go analog.

Comment by Alexander Lau on February 4, 2013 at 6:41am

And to further elaborate, go 'Analog' not Digital every once and a while, which is smart.

Set and forget is dying. Yes, it's smart to automate things (when there's value in the process), but it's very much so model dependent. It's been stated here and elsewhere plenty of times. It's becoming increasingly obvious, the search engine gods aren't going to allow you to automatically publish items such as your content RSS Feed, etc. to Social Networks and expect credit for it, in terms of your "Social Signals" (a massively growing SEO variable). Although there might be some benefits to being "plugged into the machine", let's face it, the vast majority of your social followers or friends do not want to see automated content either, it has to be personal, informative and original.

Good advice, JD.

Comment by J.D. Rucker on February 3, 2013 at 2:07pm

Absolutely, Ralph. It's important to combine consistency with spontaneity on social and the right mix of tools can make this much, much easier.

Tom, you're absolutely right. Real, real, and real. That's one of the biggest keys to keeping social up properly. People can sniff out "set it and forget it" about as easily as they can sniff out spam.

Comment by Tom Gorham on February 3, 2013 at 1:52pm

This is really amazing advice.  Going accoustic, to me, means being real.  Social cannot be automated and forgotten.  "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." The public craves real people without the assistance of templates and slick advertising executives mouthing words that don't apply.  Maybe I'm a bit off-topic, but thats what your "go accoustic" meant to me.  Thank you!

Comment by Ralph Paglia on February 3, 2013 at 1:09pm

Sound advice and good guidance indeed... I would add that a "situational management" approach works best.  This is where you have some automation, such as RSS feeds to syndicate content and application level integration such as between YouTube and your Facebook page, which remains on at all times, but each of these systems rely on direct and active posting of content to trigger the distribution.  The content is where the situational management comes in... There are times when content such as photos and stories about customers are steady and regular, then supplemented by events and human interest stories that are created and posted in real time... The Ancira Nissan "Canine Rescues Dealer from Varmint Attacks" is a great example of a story posted in real time that then triggered regular updates about Pathfinder, the stray dog adopted by the Ancira Nissan service department.  Along with the regular scheduled customer photo essays and stories, supplement with posts about situations of interest which occur daily in almost every car dealership.  New model launches represent a great opportunity to post something that is both interesting and directly related to the store's business model. The recent Corvette reveal was a great opportunity for Chevy stores.  Once you get in the habit of such work flows, going acoustic becomes easier and more productive.

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