• Meghan Ward
  • [NETWORKING FOR INTROVERTS] Do You Need To Be on All of the Social Media Networks?
[NETWORKING FOR INTROVERTS] Do You Need To Be on All of the Social Media Networks?
Contributor
Written by
Meghan Ward
November 2012
Contributor
Written by
Meghan Ward
November 2012

Last week I registered for the BlogHer 13 conference, which will take place in Chicago July 25-27 of next year, and I’m very excited! If you sign up before Nov. 7, you can get the $198 early bird rate, too. After that, the price doubles, so sign up fast, so we can hang out in Chicago next year!

When I registered for the BlogHer conference, I had to fill out a form that asked me how many followers I have on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram. I spend most of my social media time on my blog, Twitter, and Facebook. I post to Google+ now and then, I almost never use Pinterest, I have no idea if I have any followers on YouTube, and I don’t even have an Instagram account. But wait! Don't I teach social media classes at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto? Shouldn’t I have a gazillion followers on ALL the big social media platforms? If I were superhuman and had no job and no kids, I may be able to achieve that, but realistically, we all have lives outside of social media (I hope) and choosing two or three platforms to really build up a loyal network of online friends and followers is better than spreading yourself too thin over too many different social media platforms.

But which two or three platforms should you choose? The biggest? (Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest) But what if you hate tweeting, and pinning reminds me too much of that awful scrapbooking class you had to take at summer camp in seventh grade? The answer is that you should focus on the platforms that you love most. If you’re a writer, you probably like blogging. If you're a graphic designer or interior designer, you may prefer Pinterest. If you're a photographer, Instagram and Google+ are your friends.

Instagram has 80 million users and was purchased in April by Facebook, which recently hit the 1 BILLION user mark. Here are 10 great ways businesses can use Instagram, and all bloggers can extrapolate ideas from this list.

Pinterest is the third largest social network after Facebook and Twitter, with 23 million users. The cool new kid on the block, Pinterest is being imitated by eBay, StumbleUpon, AOL, and even Facebook, which is planning to launch a feature called “Collections” that will allow retailers to “Want” and “Collect” buttons to their newsfeeds and product ads. Pinterest is the fasting growing social network with 70% of its users women. So if you like to take photos of things you bake or sew or grow or places you have traveled, be sure to include a Pin It button.

Google+, although hardly a competitor for Facebook, does have a hearty following among photographers. Why? Because Google allows photographers to retain ownership of their photos while Facebook claims ownership of all photos posted to users’ timelines. Nature photographer Mike Spinak, of Naturography, has nearly 43,000 followers on Google+. I know Mike. He's an introvert. And yet he's made Google+ work for him. How does he do it? He posts his amazing photos, he posts photography tips, and he spends time interacting with his followers in a genuine, non-spammy way. Another great thing about Google+ is that its posts show up in Google searches, unlike tweets and Facebook posts.

YouTube, owned by Google, has 800,000,000 unique users every month. And you don't have to be on YouTube to use YouTube. Bloggers and Facebook and users are notorious for sharing videos of cute cats, laughing babies, and flash mob performances. But YouTube is about more than viral videos. There are legions of YouTube users who have built loyal followings with instructional videos on everything from how to thread a sewing machine to how to make a paper crane. YouTube is where I turn when I need to know how to do something that will be easier to understand by watching it than by reading about it. It’s also a wonderful way for authors to give their readers a glimpse into their personal lives, which every reader craves.

So while Facebook and Twitter are still the behemoths of the social media world, you should spend your time where you most want to be. If it’s surrounded by images, then get pinning. If it’s interviewing rock musicians, then install a YouTube follower button on your blog and buy yourself an iPhone microphone. If it's snapping photos on the fly, download Instagram and play with the filters.

No matter how introverted or extroverted you are, there’s a social network for you. You just need to invest a little time exploring which one is the right fit. Experiment, play. You may be surprised to find that the new kid on the block is your new best friend.

Let's be friends

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Comments
  • Gloria

    Hi Meghan,

    I love social media platforms, if it were up to me I'd be doing my own web hosting, I like to communicate to people, but the question becomes communicate about, "what?" There are a millieou of topics out there, and those topics can lead to other leads and other news stories, and yet a host of other related or unrelated stories that people are either talking about, or have a sense about. Such topics can and do strengthen the sense of contrast and comparison as well as collective reasoning.

    With that being said, people can discuss political platforms which can become creative or can lead to discourse depending how passionately people are willing to defend their views. Other stories that people flock to are dealing with celebrity fame, other stories at the present time would definitely include the elections since tomorrow is voting day. The other top story is also Hurricane Sandy and The Day of Giving. It is so helpful to see people reaching out to those ravaged by the storm. I live in an area that was affected, but The Jersey Shore is truly devestated, as well as Staten Island, and many other areas. There are still hundreds and thousands of people with out power, amazing to my mind to think of bearing the freezing tempertures that have poured into the tri-state area. Another problem caused by the hurricande due to the power outages are not being able to get gas. This has caused the State of Jersey to use rationing. As people have been gas lines for hours and some even taking matters into their own hands. I know I am grateful that a great big tree in my back yard did not come down, and I am reluctant to cut it down, even though we lost some pretty big limbs this time around. I feel it provides shade and gives a great amount of shade to the house. My neighbors see it as a problem for the obvious, at this time I am listening to GMA they are hosting, "A Day of Giving." I will be making a phone call shortly as I know their will be so many ways to offer support to those who have lost so much. Please get connected and do what ever you can, even if it's clothes donations, food, blankets, food, there are too many to mention that lost everything. God Bless everybody at this time and Thank-You for the platform

  • Emily Dakota Black

    Meghan- thank you for the info...greatly needed!

  • Marian Evans

    This is a wonderful post! Thank you! 

  • Eva Schlesinger

    Thanks for your detailed explanations of the the different sites. I learned so much.

  • Meghan Ward

    I agree, Catherine. In fact, for all of you having trouble keeping up with your writing goals, I've created The Writerland Challenge. Set a goal and complete it by the end of November. Sign up here to participate: http://bit.ly/RzxBfq and use hashtag #TTWC to check in daily on Twitter.

  • Catherine McNamara

    Great post. I'm also pleased to be 'allowed' to peak on 2-3 writer platforms. It really is a full time job! And who has time to write anymore? This is really frightening.

  • Meghan Ward

    Kandie - I want to use Instagram and YouTube more. If only there were more hours in the day! (But then there would be more time for people to create more social media platforms, so we'd probably be even busier!).

  • Meghan Ward

    Ariel - It can definitely be a full-time job!

  • Meghan Ward

    Sherrey - and that's a lot! I don't know how anyone keeps up two blogs. I have a hard enough time keeping up one.

  • Meghan Ward

    Suzi, sounds like you are doing more than enough! Time management is the toughest part, especially with kids. Hope to see you at BlogHer!

  • Sherrey Meyer

    Thanks for permission to focus on my two blogs, Facebook and Twitter, and on writing my book!  This will also make my family a much happier group.  :)

  • Ariel Rosetti Promoting

    It can be exhausting trying to get one's name out there. I want and need someone to do the job for me expertly.

  • suzi banks baum

    Dear Meghan,

    Thank you for this great post. I have become a social media maven as I build my author platform though my website and blog (www.laundrylinedivine.com), my Facebook Fan Page (https://www.facebook.com/LaundryLineDivine), on Instagram @suzibb and Twitter @laundrylinediv. I even Pin with (http://pinterest.com/suzibanksbaum/) ....and I have found that while at times I go quiet on any one of these platforms- or like with Google+ I just link and share when I put up a post or find something cool to share- (or...Linked In? Hardly ever there but for my linked Tweets....OY) - like you say, it can be overwhelming. Your advice to choose a platform that delights you is really good. Last week I attended the Social Media Mastery Tour led by Kathryn Rose and Laura Rubinstein of The Social Buzz Club.  I continue to learn that the possibilities for authors are endless and the potential community building is really powerful. That is why I budget a bit of time every day to posting, I always share my blogs at least 3 ways and I host a blog series on my website that widens my web by hosting guest bloggers.

    I write about motherhood and creativity. I am also a full time Mom. And, in the words of Katherine Paterson, a children's book author who I love, "As I look back on what I have written, I can see that the very people who have taken away my time are those who have given me something to say". I have learned that just as I choose when and where to spend time on my work in the midst of being a mother, I also choose when during these hours, I use Social Media.


    It can be enormously distracting. And lead me to many great connections like you. Hope to meet up at BlogHer!

    xo Sincerely,

    Suzi

  • Kandie Dfw

    So many online platforms to choose from.  I mainly use fb, twitter, tumblr and pinterest.  I post by phone to tumblr which automatically posts to twitter and facebook.  Or I'll post on my blog which distributes to twitter and facebook, to alleviate some of the drama.  I pick a couple days out of the month to load on pinterest.  Youtube is on the fly and sometimes I submit vids from my phone.  6 platforms.  I don't even want to think about Instagram right now.  EGADS!  Great post!