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Social media is an ever-changing beast. We are over the hype of social media and maybe a little burned out. But it's still important. So how should you  handle social media in 2019? 

I want to put a big caveat into this post. I'm writing it from a place of social media privilege. I have a solid following on several platforms. When I'm not locked out of my account, I have just shy of 10k followers on Twitter. I have something like that also on Pinterest, last I looked. (Note: I haven't looked in months.) 

I don't remember how many Facebook page likes I have on my two pages. It's something in the thousands on one and a few hundred on another. My Facebook group is around 2500. Instagram (which I never use) is something over 1000. 

To some of you, those numbers will look small. To others, big. 

I bring it up because you need to know where I'm coming from. These numbers matter because they could make you discount my attitude about social media, which is: chill out and stop freaking out about your numbers.

Sure, you might think. Easy for you to say with your 10,000 Twitter followers. 

I get it. But to that, I say: Those 10,000 followers do NOTHING for me. Nothing. I sometimes talk to people on there. But it does not sell books. It does not drive traffic. It may make me look more legit and people might find me there. But it does NOT MATTER OVERALL TO ANYTHING WITH MY BUSINESS. 

Actually, I've been locked out of my account daily on Twitter for much of the last year, due to some glitch on their end that tells them I'm suspicious. 

So, as we get into this and I tell you not to worry about social media, I'm not resting on my laurels. I'm telling you this because I've got followers and for the most part, it does very little to help my bottom line and overall goals. 

Wow. How's that for a caveat?? 

Let's get into how to handle social media in 2019. 

HOW TO HANDLE SOCIAL MEDIA IN 2019

When it comes to handling social media in 2019 (or 2091 if it's still a thing), first you need to step back and look at your big goals. What is your big goal? 

Even beyond your specific goal, take a moment to realize that your overarching, general goal is to grow an audience that will support whatever content you are creating. You want buyers and readers and supporters for your creative work. 

The audience will look different based on your specific goals.  If I need someone to buy 99 cent books, it's different than needing people to buy a $1000 course. You may have some crossover, but generally, those are different audiences. That will impact where you hang out on social and what kind of content you create, but in general, we are all looking for an audience for our bigger work. 

That means that social media is NOT the goal. It's not the finish line. It is a tool. Social media is a conduit. It's a means to an end. It is not the be-all, end-all, but a way to find your audience, to connect with them, and to allow that audience to support you.

(The exception is if your goal is to be a social media influencer, which means you'll be getting sponsored posts and money based directly on the number of Instagram or other followers you have. Still, though, you'll want to have some other way of connecting and reaching your audience. Cough. Email. Cough.) 

HOW TO BUILD A SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWING

We get caught up in the numbers, and it CAN be about that--whether it's Instagram followers or pageviews or podcast downloads. But more than the numbers, it's about cultivating the right audience to connect with the content you're creating. Yes, those numbers represent people. But we should think of them as people, not as followers or numbers or likes. That's where you start. 

Here are my recommendations for building your social media profile: 

  • Pick a platform you enjoy. If you don't enjoy it, this will all be harder. If you don't enjoy it at all, try to find one you can learn to enjoy. Or tolerate cheerfully. Don't be a grinch. It's not that bad!!
  • For tips on how to use the platforms, look for people who are experts in the space. There are a LOT of them in every space. Find a few. Follow them to see whose advice rings true for you. Do what they're doing.
  • Create interesting content related to your overall goals. Be consistent. 

Oh, and above all this: Build your email list. When social media has burned and gone away, email will still be there. (You should really listen to the podcast to hear my analogy for this, by the way...) Email is more permanent and can be more powerful. It won't change the way social platforms do and is a direct line to them, whereas on social platforms, that platform "owns" your followers. 

THE FINAL WORD

In 2019 when it comes to social media, I think we're all over the hype. We're a little tired of chasing numbers and the hamster wheel of working to do that.

Let's get back to basics. Find the platform that feels right to you. Find the one that allows you to connect with people. Follow experts on those platforms to see how best to use it and keep up with changes. 

Overall: keep your eyes on the prize. And that prize is NOT your Twitter followers. 

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