I wanted to get more followers on my blog, so I called my old friend, Sally the Social Media Guru.
“I want to get more followers on my blog,” I told her.
“Oh, good,” she said. “That’s my speciality. Are you looking for active reader engagement?”
“I just want a bunch of followers,” I said.
“But are you looking for quality readership over quantity? Are you tailoring your content to target a specific demographic — one that demonstrates brand loyalty through repeated visits?”
“I really just want a bunch of followers,” I said. “Like, thousands or millions.”
“What’s your goal in building your audience? Are you looking to monetize your content?”
“If that means getting more followers, then yeah.”
“OK. I think I can help.” I could hear Sally typing on her computer. “Tell me, are you using Pinterest?”
“No. My blog’s on WordPress.”
“But do you use Pinterest for social engagement?”
“Well, that answers that,” Sally said. “If you don’t have a Pinterest account, then you need to create one right away.”
“But what is Pinterest?” I asked.
“It’s a social tool for pinning content.”
“Like a bulletin board,” Sally said.
“So it’s a virtual bulletin board?”
“It’s a social-media site. You pin content and you share it.”
“How do I pin it?”
“You pin it by sharing it.”
“So I share the content while I’m pinning it?”
“You pin it and you share it. Jeez, don’t make this so complicated.”
“Sorry. I’m a super-old Millennial, so I’m not on board with all this tech stuff. Either that, or I’m a really young Gen-Xer. I’m not sure which.”
“It’s all really very simple,” Sally said. “Social media, including Pinterest, is all about sharing content.”
“OK. So, how do I get the content?”
“You get it yourself and then you put it on Pinterest,” Sally said.
“So once I get the content, who do I share it with?”
“Who do you think?” Sally asked. “Other Pinterest users. Man, what’s wrong with you? Even Baby Boomers are all over this stuff. You have no excuse.”
“Sorry,” I said “I guess I’m not too good at the social media stuff because I’m too busy writing blog posts.”
“Yeah, well, we’re going to change that. I’m going to create a 10-step plan for driving traffic to your site. First step, I’m going to need you to spend two hours each day on Pinterest. I want you to gather and share content with other users.”
“At a minimum. You need to cultivate active engagement through the reciprocal dissemination of information.”
“Does that mean getting more followers?”
“It means becoming an active, contributing member of the Pinterest community,” Sally said. “Now what about Twitter? Do you ever tweet?”
“I’m not sure. I’m still trying to wrap my head around pinning.”
“Twitter is a crucial tool for disseminating information. You can find like-minded people and follow their tweets.”
“I’m pretty sure I have a Twitter account,” I said. “It’s one of the few sites I joined.”
“Do you use it?”
“I guess so. I use it to post links to my posts.”
“But do you actively follow other users and engage in conversation?”
“Am I supposed to?”
“Oh my goodness. If you want to cultivate an active following, then yes — you have to. Do you at least re-tweet other people’s content? Please tell me you re-tweet other people’s content.”
“Isn’t that plagiarism if I take their content and publish it on my stream?”
“No — that’s how you re-tweet. You take something someone else said and then repeat it to your followers.”
“OK. That sounds a lot like plagiarism.”
“It’s how the site is designed to work. If you’re just posting links to your content, you’re not a very good community member. You need to engage others and participate.”
“It’s hard to engage people when there’s a character limit. I always run out of room whenever I try to say anything.”
“That’s the point of Twitter!” Sally said. “You have to edit your remarks to conform to the character limit! That’s why it’s called ‘microblogging.’”
“But I don’t like to microblog. That’s why I have a real blog. I can say whatever I want in as many words as I want. And I don’t have to re-tweet anything.”
“I’m going to need you to spend two hours each day on Twitter,” Sally said. “I want you to identify and follow like-minded users, and I want you to re-tweet their content on your channel. You also need to engage popular users in conversations. The more followers you get on Twitter, the more followers you’ll get on your blog.”
“Can I still tweet links to my blog posts?” I asked.
Sally sighed. “Yes, but only sparingly. Most of your time should be spent re-tweeting other people’s content.”
“So let me get this straight,” I said. “So far I’m spending two hours on Pinterest.”
“And now I’m spending two more hours on Twitter.”
“Exactly. And we haven’t even gotten into Facebook, Tumblr, StumbleUpon or YouTube yet.”
“Isn’t YouTube for videos?”
“Exactly. And it’s one of the most popular websites in the world. If you’re not using YouTube, then you’re basically sabotaging yourself.”
“But I have a written blog. How does that translate to YouTube?”
“You need to buy a camcorder, some lights, a wireless microphone and video-editing software, and you need to record video-blogs to upload to your YouTube channel.”
“Oh, great!” I said. “And how long will that take?”
“It depends on the length and quality of the video. But I would suggest editing and posting a video each day, to keep your content stream fresh, and to attract the highest number of users.”
“So now I’m a video professional, in addition to a blogger?”
“That’s right. It’s your roadmap to social media success! What do you think?”
“I just have a question,” I said. “Let me take stock again. So far, I’m spending two hours each day on Pinterest.”
“And another two hours on Twitter.”
“And now I’m going to record, edit, and upload videos to YouTube.”
“One each day, yes.”
“And we haven’t even touched on Facebook yet.”
“Not yet, no. But I intend to right now.”
“So let me just ask a question,” I said. “If I’m spending all this time on social media, then when am I actually going to write my blog posts?”
Sally didn’t say anything. I could hear her breathing on the other end of the line.
“See,” I said, “right now, I not only have to write the post, but I have to edit it, proofread it, create the art, schedule the post, and then monitor the comments. This is all in addition to a full-time job.”
Sally’s breathing continued.
“And I barely have enough time to write as it is,” I said. “I usually try to dash something off after dinner, but by then I’m tired and groggy and ready for bed, and my writing isn’t as sharp as it is during the day, when I’m stuck at work. So then I spend another hour rewriting and polishing, so that my mess is at least somewhat presentable to the world.”
Sally didn’t respond.
“So,” I said, taking a deep breath, “I’m not exactly sure how I’m supposed to spend all this additional time on social media.”
There was a long, drawn-out pause.
“Hello?” I said.
“I’m not sure if I can help you right now,” Sally said. “I’m going to have to think about this. In the meantime, though, if you want to subscribe to my newsletter, you might find some useful advice there.”
“How do I subscribe?” I asked.
“Oh, that’s easy,” she said. “Just follow my blog.”
I hung up the phone.