By Edie Melson
As writers, we all know the importance of building an online following. We spend time crafting valuable blog posts with SEO rich headlines. We follow others on social media, working to connect. All the while keeping a sharp eye on those numbers that define success or failure. It’s easy to get caught up in those numbers.
But the truth is, they’re people – NOT numbers!
We even begin to judge the worth of what we have to say by those numbers. Let me remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing. Why you sweat over a keyboard, struggling to find the right word. Why you risk rejection by submitting those carefully crafted words to editors, agents and contest judges.
We’re doing it because we want to make a difference in the world around us-a world made up of people. If all we’re looking for is higher numbers, we’ve missed the point. We’ve set a course that follows certain frustration and ultimate failure. So if it’s not for the numbers, then what’s the point? Why even bother with social media?
The point is what the numbers represent…the point is the individuals who can be impacted by what we write…challenged by what we say…changed by what we share.
When I get caught up chasing the numbers, the significance of what I’m doing diminishes. But when I step away from the race and concentrate on who I’m writing for and who I’m writing to, things fall back into place.
I’m first and foremost a writer. For me, social media is a tool. It’s the means to an end. It helps me find my audience. But when I begin to measure my worth as a writer through the numbers of social media, I’ve gotten off course.
My worth is not determined by my numbers.
For me, the blog posts that mean the most are rarely the ones that generate the highest numbers. The ones that mean the most are those that help someone, that connect the dots for an individual who’s hurting or help someone who’s frustrated finally see the light. It’s when I pen those words that I feel true satisfaction in my calling.
So how do I avoid the numbers race? I’ve come up with a few things to keep me on track.
• I quit talking about myself on social media-completely. Instead I work hard to help someone else succeed or reach a new level. This takes my focus off me.
• I volunteer. I offer to write an article or blog post for someone who doesn’t have the same size audience as me.
• I issue an invitation. I ask someone who doesn’t have as much experience and/or exposure to contribute to my blog.
• I watch the clock. I limit my time on social media to a strict thirty minutes a day. With that, I don’t have time to obsess over my numbers.
• I reveal something new about myself. I know this seems like the opposite of the first bullet, but it’s really not. I’m talking about being vulnerable, not saying come look at me. I’ve discovered that I make those important heart-to-heart connections when I open up and I’m vulnerable. When I revert to slick slogans and polished posts, I’m really just hiding.
Social media is an important part of our toolbox as twenty-first century wordsmiths, but it’s not the focus of what we do. It’s so easy to get caught up in the race to the highest numbers and forget why we’re doing it. This media driven world we live in ebbs and flows. One second we’re on top, the next at the bottom of the pile. When we measure our worth through charts and graphs generated by numbers we’re certain to fail. But when we look at the lives that are impacted by our words, success is guaranteed.
Edie’s an author, freelance writer and editor with years of experience. She’s. Her bestselling ebook on social media has been updated and re-released as Connections: Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy, Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, and the Military Family Blogger on Guideposts.org. She’s also the Senior Editor at Novel Rocket. Connect with Edie through her blog, Twitter and Facebook.