Your Timeline, Your Story
If someone compiled your timeline into a book, whether that's on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or another social media channel, would it tell your story correctly?
It's easy to see the story you tell on Instagram or Pinterest, because when you look at your profile, you see that map. What does it say? Who does it speak to?
Personal, Professional or Both. It Matters.
If social media is only for personal use, then at least it should inspire you. Does your timeline:
- Tell you your story? Where you've come from, how you've grown, where you're going?
- Inspire, awaken and challenge you or is it so chaotic, you never want to look at it?
If you use it for business as well, or business solely, the questions are outward as well. Does it:
- Tell your clients what advice, content, they can consistently come to you for on social media?
- Point clients clearly to how they can work with you and what they can do until then?
- Inspire, awaken and challenge clients or is it so chaotic that they become 1-time visitors?
What about Privacy? For some it's "a thing of the past", but not for all of us. Is it easy to steal your identity or do they at least have to work for it? How do you screen folks before they become contacts on LinkedIn or Facebook? What is your policy on 'public' versus 'friends only' content? I hear you, "who can keep up with Facebook's changes to Privacy Settings?" Whether you decide to throw caution to the wind or create a policy, know you have a choice.
Getting Your Timeline On-Track
If I had to answer the questions above, I'm with the majority who would have to say, "I don't tell a consistent story." Sure, my timeline tells a version of my true story, but it's inconsistent, as life is. The snapshots rarely show the whole picture and, NO, for the most part, it would make one headache of a book - well except on Instagram and Pinterest, for some reason.
Professionally, in my case for business, it is a bit more consistent on messaging and target, but not quite so on consistency when it comes to frequency during busier client periods, but I'm getting there with the help of these tools.
1. Content Calendar
You've heard me mention this as one of the easiest ways to shave hours off of your social media time, but it's also amazing for helping you to focus your message and, frankly, be less overwhelmed by social media. Here's a very simple example of a content calendar:
2. Automating Content
- Prepare and schedule messages in advance, to go out on later dates and times.
- Consider how followers will receive messages, in terms of tone, order, wording, etc.
- Review, edit and re-order scheduled messages by wording, relevance, event dates, etc.
The tools mentioned above, and other similar tools, also let you track which posts were successful or unsuccessful and, in some cases, why they worked or didn't.
NimbleQuotes is another new tool I've discovered. Still in it's early stages, if you tend to promote too much on Twitter, or go silent for long periods of time, NimbleQuotes helps to balance your timeline. Set it up to autotweet quotes from the likes of Oprah and Steve Jobs.
3. Habits & Schedule
This seems to be the most trying aspect of timeline repair for most of my clients and for most of the people I encounter in conversations on this topic. Where do you find the time, when often no two weeks look alike for you? If it helps, think of it this way:
- What do you have to do to keep your business afloat? Invoices, Pay Bills, File Taxes?
- Do you labour over them or set your mind get them done quickly?
- What is your potential ROI with social media? Can you give it 1-2 hours every week or two?
We make time to brush our teeth, shower, eat to stay alive and function. We do the above for our businesses. We create systems to make them fun, or at least efficient, but they only work if we build them into our routines. Try to consciously do it for a month to form the habit.
Policies work not just for privacy, but for emotions as well. Policies around privacy, such as criteria for adding strangers and what you will and will not post on which channels, are a bit more obvious. We never think, however, about our emotional triggers.
Professionals in banking, law and insurance are likely more conscious of the words they can't take back on social media. When you're the master of your own domain, there seem to be fewer consequences and so it's easy to get carried away with the spontaneity of social media. We've all seen those two people at each other's throats in the comments of a LinkedIn Post. Even if you agree with one or the other, that is usually not the 'time and place'.
Clear policies on content, privacy, who you'll follow, what your followers can expect to find, help you stay on track, build credibility and create a "place to roost" in the midst of the chaotic noise on social media. You want to be the place people come to.
5. Image Software
Adobe PhotoShop, MS Illustrator, iOS graphics software and, on the more affordable side, InstaQuote, Paint.net and even saving MS PowerPoint slides as images, are easy ways to create images or each of your posts. Create a few simple backgrounds you can recycle and change the text (headlines) as needed to accompany your social media posts, blogs, etc.
I give you that habits may be challenging to change, but you can act on at least 2-3 of these. Once in place, these make timeline activities E.A.S.Y. Effective, Actionable, Simple, Yours.
Let's chat! You can reach out here. I'll also cover this more on Successiory e-News (subscribe) and on social media (see icons below). I also offer professional social media strategy workshops online and in Toronto. Need one? Ask here!