For the past three years I have depended on Twitter to help me promote this blog. Maybe because my readership was so small during the first year or so, but I could see a direct correlation between the promotion of a new blog post on Twitter and an increase in readership. I would tweet a link to satisfying retirement and watch the traffic jump. So, I put all my social media energy into Twitter, adding new followers and adding fresh tweets five or six times a day.
For the past year that positive effect has not been there. Even though I dutifully schedule the same number of tweets each morning, there is no noticeable impact. It finally occurred to me just before I left on our vacation to Portland that Twitter was no longer worth the time I was giving it. Obviously, the social media landscape had changed but I had not.
Blog promotion is important. With tens of millions of them clogging up the Internet and thousands dedicated to some part of the retirement journey, to simply write posts and hope for the best isn't good enough to be noticed. I have the type of personality that wants to always move forward. I don't want to make lots of money with satisfying retirement (unless Huffington Post wants to buy me!) but I do want the widest possible audience to know I'm here.
So, I have begun a study of four major social media outlets (other than Twitter) and their usefulness to me. I have dabbled in each up to this point, but have never done the reading, studying, and development necessary for any of them to prove their worth. Your feedback will be important as I try to pick the one or two that will do this blog the most good. I don't have the time to maintain five social media outlets, so help me focus on the ones with the biggest bang for the buck.
If you have a Facebook account and click on the underlined link above you will be taken to my first, rough attempt at a page. As you will quickly see I have a lot of work to do. But, you can help me at this very early stage by liking the page. I need a certain minimum number of likes to be able to do more with the page, so please click.
At the moment I am not sure quite where to go with this page or how to use it to promote the blog and books. If you have specific suggestions or ideas, please fire away. In the meantime I'm reading and researching.
According to Wikipedia, as of May 2013[update], Google+ had a total of 500 million registered users, of whom 235 million are active in a given month. That places it ahead of Twitter but still way behind Facebook. Google Plus is a social media platform that attempts to integrate various parts of what Google offers, like Blogger, Gmail, and Documents With streams, circles, hangouts, messenger, and hashtags, Google is attempting to be the 800 pound gorilla in the social media field.
Because Google search results can make or break a blog, anything that Google touches needs to be considered. They say that Google+ activity does not affect search results, but that may change in the future.
Again, I have a book on using Google+ effectively, plus lots of web sites that are helping me understand this site and its potential.
With over 200 million members, LinkedIn seems to have captured the high ground as the place for professionals to meet to network, to find and fill jobs. Reports say that all of the Fortune 500 companies have a presence here, along with influential firms in every field of endeavor.
In a book I am reading to help me understand this site and whether it has any value to this blog, I am learning that LinkedIn is becoming a place where companies and individuals can build a brand identity. In my case that would mean I could strengthen Satisfying Retirement as a leading "brand" for information and advice in the field of retirement.
Of course, that leads to an obvious question: so what? Does establishing me and the blog as a well known brand with Fortune 500 leaders help me? I'm not looking for a job. I don't want to start traveling all over the country speaking at seminars, do I?
As I noted at the beginning of this post, I want to devote only so much time to social media. The payoff for my effort must be worth the input. The jury is still out on LinkedIn's effective for my purposes
As the new kid on the block Pinterest has rapidly added members because it has staked out a a very different position from the others. 25 million members "pin" photographs to various boards on their site. Pinterest users are heavily female, though male use is slowly increasing, and are above average in income. Not surprisingly, highly visual businesses like fashion design, photography, and tourism are some of the heaviest users.
From what I gather Pinterest's primary appeal to a business is the ability to show a product or a service being used. Folks are much more likely to show interest in something they can see. The site also has a very easy system of linking from a photo back to a web site, and linking everything to Facebook and Twitter.
I don't sell a product that is easily captured visually, except for the cover of one of my books. But, to keep things fresh and engaging my blog doesn't seem to "fit' Pinterest's goals. If I had a craft site and sold quilts or jewelry, or even my own photographs, that would be a different story. But, I'm pretty sure a retirement blog targets an older and less visually inspired person.
All that being said, I am reading a book about using Pinterest for business purposes and how to maximize the loyalty its users seem to be. So, for now, Pinterest remains in contention though not high on the list.
So, there you have it. The four social media sites vying for my attention, time, and energy. As I continue to learn more about each during this vacation I am sure my path will be clearer. But, I am just as convinced that many of you have insights and feedback that would help me.
Do I Tweet, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Pin myself?