social media

What Happened to the “Social” in Social Media?

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After months of self-analysis, a year on Facebook (as The Lady), 3 weeks on Twitter and 1 week on LinkedIn, social media marketing isn’t what I expected. In fact, I’m shocked at how much I’m getting talked at. Very few people seem willing to talk with me. So what happened to the “social” in social media? Am I doing it wrong?

When you decide to publish a blog, you need to get the word out, build an audience. You do this for one of three reasons. One, you want to share your stories in hopes of helping others. Two, you are creating an audience to eventually sell a product and make money from. Three, some combination of both. (There may be more reasons but these immediately pop to mind.)

I fall solidly in the number 3 camp. I won’t try to hide that I do eventually want to make money off this blog. It’s part of my 10-year plan and is a huge factor in my living a profitable life. This strategy (to make money) involves all the usual trappings of being self-employed and running a business. There’s market research, branding, product development, marketing, sales, etc. I get it. It’s what I do for my day job. And overall, I think I’m doing pretty good out of the gate. For shits and giggles, here’s a quite recap of some of The Lady in the Black’s benchmarks to date.

The Lady’s Social Media Benchmarks

Branding

Brand identity: The Lady in the Black has a suggestive, memorable name and logo. (Paid a designer friend for the artwork and font!) It’s “classy and sassy” tone and angle toward a “profitable life” is finding some traction. The black and white color palette is clean and differentiating.

Social Media Audience

Traffic: Since publishing on the new self-hosted site on May 1 (total of 21 days), I’ve had 387 visitors and 725 views. (Don’t know if that’s good or not. Haven’t checked.)

Facebook: 69 Followers

Twitter: 60 Followers (not bad for joining just 3 weeks ago)

LinkedIn: 255 (on my personal account)

Subscribers: 2 (Admittedly, not pushing this angle right now)

KloutScore: 44

Lead Generation: I am developing a ebook I hope to use to create additional awareness.

Social Media Marketing

Paid: Spent $30 on a test Facebook ad. It netted 12 post engagements from new readers.

Network: TheLITB is listed on a popular directory for personal finance blogs, Rockstar Finance. (This was a huge win.) I also am lurking on a few Facebook groups to keep current and evaluate potential.

Traditional Marketing

Collateral: I printed business cards, the old-fashioned print kind that you hand out to friends, colleagues, leave in sneaky places, etc. I even have a few branded items on CafePress for sale. (Again, not pushing these too hard.)

Sponsorships: The Lady in the Black had a brand banner at a well-trafficked event…her kid’s annual school carnival. (It’s a start!)

Earnings

Affiliate: I signed up for affiliate programs with Amazon and QuitN6. (Neither has done squat because I’m honestly not sure how ok I am with all of this quite yet.)

Ads: I’m registered with Google AdSense. Drive drives revenues and I’m at 10 cents right now. (Hey, it’s 10 cents I didn’t have before.)

The Lady’s Issues with Social Media

Sigh. Where do I begin? Well, first, I’ll say that technology is amazing and makes our lives easier. Yes. It helps us stay connected in a time when life operates at the speed of light. That’s good. Kinda.

Over the years, I’ve struggled with my personal relationship with Facebook. It’s a veritable timesuck and I find myself using it in a near addictive manner, primarily to dispel any feelings of loneliness or depression. It’s escapism at it’s finest. Through alternating periods of infatuation and then aversion, I’ve settled on a more casual, non-co-dependent relationship. I check it maybe once or twice a day. If I feel the need for social interaction from my friends, I do something truly crazy and call them on the phone….or text if I want a “boost” from a group of friends. It’s working for my personal life.

However, business is different. Social media becomes less of a social interaction and more of a digital billboard. And that’s what I’m struggling with. Being barraged from automated messages from other digital marketers vigilantly advertising their wares is exhausting to me. As an introvert, I’m much more apt to participate in a one-on-one conversation in a quiet corner than attend a noisy party where everyone is chatting about themselves. To me, that is what Twitter has become. I mean, our POTUS talks “at” his constituents in a way that is both unprecedented and uninviting to feedback. But if he can get elected through Twitter, I should be able to make a buck, right?

Hell, I admit I’m new to all of this and it’s possible this is all just part of the process. But come on! Has social media just become humanity’s dumping ground for shameless self-promotion? Has it really degenerated to a overcrowded media marketplace? More importantly, am I ok with participating in it?

Don’t get me wrong. I do think many bloggers out there are coming at things with good intent. They genuinely want to help people. I realize now just how easy it is to get swept up in the current of the social media frenzy. I gotta believe others are struggling as well.

The Heart of the Issue

After all this huffing and puffing, I realize that social media may not be the problem after all.

With all the additional time involved in marketing a blog, my own management of my personal finances has slipped. I’m the problem. And I’m a bit pissed about it.

I need to admit that this blog, while a huge help to my financial accountability, is a distraction I may not be able to afford. I have shit to do. I’m sitting next to a stack of bills and paperwork that need to be addressed. I’m on a “no spend weekend” because, for the first time in months, I’m flat broke. In short, I’m fucking up. I’m letting a new distraction interfere with my mission. (Ironically, the blog was supposed to be part of that mission. And maybe it still is.) I need to put my nose back to the grindstone and get my financial house back in order.

The Moral of the Story

Congrats if you are still with me after all that mental diarrhea!

The moral the story? Don’t let ANYTHING get in the way of you pursuing your financial health…not even yourself. This Lady got off track. And I’ll forgive myself because that’s what a true Lady does. She forgives herself and moves on with poise and purpose.

Yes, I’ll continue to publish posts for my blogs. I’ll do this because writing helps me sort out my feelings (if you couldn’t tell) but my marketing efforts and social media interactions will be limited to those readers who reciprocate. (You know who you are!)

Oh, and if I still want more social interaction in life, I’ll stick to the in-person approach for a while.

What distraction interferes with your money management? Do you struggle with your feelings about the role of social media in your life? Are you prone to getting off track?  Comments appreciated. 

 

 

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