In a previous blog post ‘Getting started – IC virtual communities’ I shared some tips about how you can use social media to build up your professional network.
Now, this still stands true but just lately I’ve struggled to keep up with all the various groups and communities. Over the past few weeks, I not only felt my motivation drop in terms of joining in the discussions but also a sense of annoyance in terms of all the different apps/platforms I now had.
Rather than blame technology for offering so many different apps, I instead decided to try and make a bad situation good. So, this is a shorter blog post than usual but it’s one that I hope will help you should you find yourself in a similar situation.
You can’t be everywhere
I knew this already but hadn’t done anything about it. Trying to be active on Twitter (two accounts), LinkedIn (profile and a page), Instagram, Facebook, Slack, WhatsApp, Guild and more recently, Mighty Networks meant in terms of content sharing, none of my channels was that strong. In total, I had ten channels (not including the multiple groups in Guild and WhatsApp). I tended to dip in and out of them and join different discussions across all the platforms and then waste time scrolling back through fleets and stories to see what I might have missed.
Looking at the platforms I enjoy using and have conversations with people it made it a little easier to decide what channels it’s time to leave for now. I also took on board some advice from a Twitter chat to think about whether I needed Horizon and my profile to be separate. The reality is that I am the brand so why try and manage them separately.
You aren’t going to miss out
It’s that dreaded FOMO feeling again, fear of missing out. The reality is though I won’t, and I know it, so I need to listen more to my advice! Of course, there is always going to be something new posted on social media at any given moment in time, but I never scroll back through all the various timelines to see what I missed. Also, even when I do spot something of interest, I might not always get a chance to read or listen to it so I’m no better off had I never seen it in the first place.
More time to add value
A benefit that stood out for me during this exercise was I’d now have a bit more time back to focus on content rather than channel management. This means I can make sure the information and resources I’m sharing have the maximum reach possible and I have time to evaluate them.
Having that bit of time back also means I can spend that bit longer engaging with the communities I’m staying a part of. Rather than quickly rushing through the posts and content, I can take in more of the content and build greater relationships. I’ve seen some great examples of people such as Jo Hooper and Josephine Brooks who use Instagram as their primary channel of engagement and do an incredible job. They have regular content, a consistent approach on the channel and know how to engage their communities.
Time to reset those boundaries
You might remember I shared the blog post ‘Compass workshop – setting your boundaries’ in which I talked about the importance of boundaries to stay on track and keep focused on the important things. Moving forward, I’m using this blog post to reset my boundaries to make sure I’m using my time effectively and not getting distracted by the latest app, channel or new platform. I’ve been good so far and not tried joining Clubhouse as I know it will just be a distraction for me.
For now, I’ve said goodbye to Instagram and Slack and decided to only post LinkedIn content through my profile. For Twitter, I’m only going to run a single account and just stick to Guild for professional group discussions rather than WhatsApp and Facebook. I’m by no means saying this is the right and only approach but for my wellbeing and professional development, I knew I had cut back. All those apps weren’t making me very appy!
How do you manage your online communities?
I’d love to hear how you decide what groups and platforms to use and any advice you could share to help others out with? It’s a question I’ll post in the Horizon Guild group next week as I know from a few conversations with people online, it’s something we all might struggle with from time to time.