I am no good at a lot of social media things … which is a bit tough to admit as a social media marketer!
I don’t use a smartphone. I’m scared of Snapchat. I’m not entirely sure what WhatsApp does.
I can think of 50 social media things (and probably more) where I could improve. The things I am good at—mostly the things that Buffer helps me with, like scheduling, consistency, stats, analysis—make for a solid foundation, and I’m keen to make strides on the rest.
Step one: Admitting ’em all!
I hope this list inspires you or entertains you or helps you to know that social media marketers like me don’t always have our act together. And I’d absolutely love to hear any thoughts this brings up for you or any tips you have for ways I can improve.
1. I can do better with mobile social
I don’t use social media on a mobile device, which puts me squarely in the minority of all Americans and the absolute minority of people my age.
There’s this interesting stat from Marketing Profs, too: Among smartphone owners, 79 percent keep their phone with them for all but two hours of their day! And a full 1/4 of people can never recall a time when the phone was not close to them.
GPOY: I’ve just gone to take a picture of my phone and I’ve no idea where it is!
Ah, found it. This is my phone:
2. I can do better with Pinterest
When Buffer announced Pinterest integration (yes! awesome! woohoo!), I was stoked to get really good at Pinterest.
I haven’t yet.
A good microcosm of my Pinning problems is this one-word description I wrote for a pin.
I’ve been really bad at remembering to pin the things I find online. I’ve been bad at coming up with boards that reflect my true interests and aren’t there for search and keywords opportunities. I’ve been bad—as you can tell from my descriptions—at Pinterest SEO!
3. I can do better with sharing things that aren’t links
The last time I tweeted without a link (not counting retweets with comments, or replies to people) was September 23—80 days.
Phileas Fogg went around the world in less time!
4. I can do better at telling you more about me
I’ve taken a pretty strict approach to what I share to social media: It’s pretty much all my favorite articles on writing, blogging, marketing, and the web. It’s very little about my personal life, what I’m up to this weekend, the things I enjoy, the places I love.
Here’s a bit of a makeup list:
This weekend, I’m going to IKEA! Looking for a desk chair for the office. Any recommendations?
Fun fact: The nearest IKEA is six hours away from me, near one of my favorite cities in the world: Park City, Utah.
I think I might watch a Mystery Science Theater movie tonight. Love ’em!
There’s this place in Boise called Boise Fry Co. that I love, and yes, I will absolutely take you there if you’re ever in town!
5. I can do better at taking pictures of myself
I think there’s something beautiful and simple about wanting to be fully present in a moment and choosing to remember things vividly in your memories. And this might be why I haven’t shared any pictures of myself on social media in 2015.
6. I can do better at Instagram
This ties into the part about my being no good with taking pictures of myself. Reflecting a bit, I imagine there’s a bit of self-consciousness to it. I’d rather not put my face out there for all to see because I’m not sure what people will think of my face! (Wow, that sounds a bit raw. I’d love to know if that thought resonates with you at all!) (Not about my face but about yours, haha.)
Part two: I feel like a smartphone would be super handy to have here.
7. I can do better at Google+
(How does Google+ fit with your social media strategy in 2016? I’d be grateful to learn from you!)
8. I’m good at Tumblr, but not in a particularly useful way
One of the social networks I use most often is Tumblr, which I use to … get this … look at funny dog pictures.
9. I can do better with figuring out what to share on Facebook
Ooh boy, I could spin this into a whole post on Facebook strategy given how much thought I’ve had here. What should I even be doing on Facebook?
What do you do on Facebook?
There’s the obvious (and probably correct) answer to just share about myself, which as you may have noticed from earlier in the post I’m not terribly good at. Someone who I think does this really well is our co-founder Leo.
Another thought I had: Maybe I could just share a certain topic or niche of myself on Facebook, like my thoughts and reactions to the books I read.
Or maybe I could share all those Tumblr dog pics I like.
And given whatever choice I make, how will it affect my personal brand?
And will I have to pay for reach anyway?
Analysis = paralysis
10. I’ve never taken a snap
If I could click my heels together and be a social media pro on any one network, I might just choose Snapchat. As it is, I’ve never gained the courage to dip even so much as a toe into it.
11. I imagine I’d be quite bad at sketching on Snapchat
12. I can do better at responding to mentions
I feel so fortunate to be connected with the Buffer brand and to have the chance to write for an amazing blog like this one. All of my social media growth can be traced back to this awesome opportunity with Buffer, and the growth has brought some incredible opportunities to connect with people around the globe.
I could be doing so much better at my stewardship of this awesome privilege.
As it is, I might go weeks without checking my Twitter mentions. Twitter caps the notifications icon number at “99+,” which is an amazing number to hit and I’m so grateful for so many people reaching out and I am just so bad at getting back to folks.
Just the other day, looking through the mentions, I’ve missed all these amazing chances to connect with amazing people:
Thank you, thank you, thank you to those who have reached out!
I’d love to improve my engagement game. How do you all do it?
I’ve tried email notifications, but they tend to flood my inbox.
I’ve tried desktop notifications but found them too distracting.
I’m especially torn about how bad I am with responding because responding is one of the most vital things we tell brands and businesses to do on social media. And I don’t!
13. I can do better at Twitter chats
I have the wonderful opportunity to participate (and sometimes host) our weekly #bufferchat on Twitter. It’s amazingly fun, and I forget most all the Twitter chat etiquette the moment it begins.
I fail to inform my followers that I’ll be tweeting tons over the next hour.
I forget to add the #bufferchat hashtag (which is the entire foundation for how Twitter chats work!).
I miss out on most of the conversation because I’m trying to answer the question and track my mentions, and by the time I might go out and see what people are saying, it’s time to answer things again!
14. I can do better at sharing other people’s content
My sharing ratio is off: I share way more of my own stuff than I do of the awesome things others make.
Particularly when it comes to those specific outreach messages from friends and colleagues who are excited for me to check out their latest article—in some cases, ones I’ve contributed to! I’ll add the article to Pocket, forget to my read my Pocket for a week or so, then not remember what I was supposed to tweet or share.
15. I can do better at following people back
In the last 60 days, I’ve followed a grand total of 40 people, and my sense is that a good portion of those people are new Buffer teammates we’ve added!
16. I can do better with notifications
I’m good at being notified (email notifications, in-app messages when I’m signed into Twitter or Facebook). I’m really bad at replying in the moment and then equally bad at remembering to come back and reply later.
17. I can do better with real-time events
I love watching sports on TV or the Oscars or lots of other real-time events where it’s so cool to engage and follow along with your social media friends.
Yet every time I get set to tweet about a touchdown, I start writing, then pause for a moment to think “Do I really want this out on the Internet forever?” then think “What value am I adding when I say this?” then “What’s the right hashtag again?” then the moment’s gone.
18. I can do better with remembering people I’ve interacted with before
One of my greatest fears in life (along with bodies of water that I can’t see the bottom of) is that I’ll be oblivious to past interactions with a person while I’m interacting with them. And yes, there’s plenty of chance for this happening on social media!
Here’s a random example, straight from my inbox. Look at the second paragraph in particular.
Turns out, yes I had interacted with Ash before and had completely forgotten.
And yes, turns out this is the same Ash who I ended up interviewing for a job at Buffer and who is now such a key part of our marketing team!
19. I can do better at profile pictures
This was my profile picture for a long time:
I’ve since changed to this one, which is my face cropped out of a family picture with my mom and my brother.
(Bonus thing I could be better at: Knowing whether I should blur or not blur my family’s faces!)
The original profile picture was so strange and off-putting, and the second one might be a bit too formal and stuffy (I haven’t worn a suit and tie since – ha!). I don’t really know, even though I’ve written before about perfect profile pictures.
Smile with teeth
Dark-colored suits, light colored buttondowns
Jawline with a shadow
Head-and-shoulders, or head-to-waist photo
Maybe some day I’ll splurge on having a photographer take a professional one. We might even do this together on our next team retreat, which would be so huge because clearly I’m not too sure what to do here!
20. I think I’m pretty on point with creating cool test accounts, though I’m not sure that’s a good, legal thing.
I’ve got a couple fake Twitter accounts going.
And now that I’ve mentioned about it, I’m starting to wonder: Is it against Twitter’s terms and conditions to create purposefully fake accounts that I never intend to be used by real people?
I don’t know!
21. I could do better at owning my mistakes
22. I could do better with memes
I absolutely, positively love a good meme. I gaze in wonder at pages of memes and how clever people are to come up with so many great plays on words. It’s incredibly entertaining to me!
And I think I’ve come to find that this is an area I can totally leave for others to master. It’s not quite in my wheelhouse, as much as I’d really really love for it to be.
23. I could do better with trending topics
I have a couple different reactions to trending topics:
Deep interest. I’ll see a trend on Facebook and go down this fascinating wormhole of content without ever realizing that oh hey I could be sharing on this same subject and be part of the conversation!
Forgetfulness. I forget these are a thing. Then I’ll spot a cool hashtag and wonder what that’s all about and then aaaaaaaah yes, trending topic!
My teammate Courtney is amazing with trending topics and has a really cool story about how we were able to catch onto the #openpay topic when it went live. Such great inspiration!
This tweet is not from me, but oh how I admire it!
Humor on social media has always been a tough one for me. I want to be funny. I know that humor can be huge for engagement and growth. But I’ve never quite been able to feel fully comfortable with a joke or two. There’s always been that small tug that maybe this won’t go over well with everyone or maybe what I think is funny others might think is lame (or, yikes, offensive!).
How do you all work with this?
25. I can do better at writing a bio
We’ve published 7 great tips for writing a Twitter bio (by Neil Patel!) and a whole post devoted to bio-writing on every major social network.
And still I think mine has tons of room for improvement. And I haven’t touched it in two years!
26. I can do better at self-promotion
I published a new post on the Buffer blog last week — and I forgot to even mention it on social media!
And this is far from the first time I’ve done it.
I have a solution in place. I just need to get better at using it. All the blogs where I write (the Buffer blog, my personal blog) are piped into my Buffer dashboard to the Feeds section where I can add and edit into a social media update with just a few clicks. Now it’s on me for turning this solution into habit.
27. I can do better at asking for retweets
One of the most powerful words in a tweet, according to research Dan Zarellaand others, is the word “Retweet”—as in “please retweet this.”
Yet I don’t think I’ve ever been able to bring myself to actually ask for retweets of something.
There are some neat uses of this, like the way Euro 2016 engages with its fans here:
What have you found if you’ve given this strategy a try? Any tips?
28. I can do better with mixing personal & professional things
This article at Harvard Business Review sums things up nicely. People take a variety of approaches with sharing personal and professional information on social media. I think this quote sums up where I’m at with things:
It might not be obvious to everyone, but it is true: the more that posts are tailored to specific circles in a social world, the less risk there is that they will cause offense or embarrassment.
29. I can do better with Facebook Messenger stickers
We use Facebook Messenger to communicate on our team retreats, and wow are there some pro sticker users!
I resign myself to a couple different subsets of stickers: Mostly the plusheen cat and a gorilla guy. I’m not entirely sure I’m doing it right.
30. I’ve never checked in anywhere
Geo-tagging is the coolest thing! It’s really fun to see where folks check in from on Facebook or where an Instagram shot was taken. Nearest anyone can tell, I’m always in Idaho (again, the no smartphone thing).
31. I haven’t “liked” a page or article or update in more than 2 years
At the root of this is an underlying question that I should probably look up the answer to: Who all sees which posts and updates I’m liking?
I have a bit of paranoia about how these interactions might be displayed in Facebook, both at present times and perhaps in the future.
Could it be that everything I like gets bumped into the News Feed of all my friends?
Do I really want everyone (mom, friends, Buffer teammates) to see all these New England Patriots articles I enjoy?
32. I can do better with the lingo
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone about social media marketing, heard an acronym or buzzword you had no clue about, and kept right on going as if you were on the same page all along?
That’s totally me.
I even have a list of acronyms and buzzwords that I have to sound out in my head to make sure I am remembering them right:
Owned and earned media
Best practice vs. Best fit
33. I can do better with emoticons
Being at Buffer has had so many wonderful effects on me. One small and noticeable one is that I now use the smiley face emoticon all the time!
And the smiley just about exhausts my knowledge of emoticons. I remember when my teammate Eric joined us, he used the coolest emoticons in our chat room and I was just in awe:
Would love to try that on social media!
34. I can do better with emoji (again, the smartphone thing)
My emoji game is slowly improving; I’ve still got a ways to go.
35. I can do better at keeping up with the latest social media news and announcements
How do you all handle FOMO?
I kind of wish I was more into FOMO than I am. It seems that whenever I consider what would need to happen in order for me to not miss out on the things I miss out on, it’d be a ton of extra time and energy. So I don’t. I let others dive in, like Ash who picked up on the Twitter Polls news as soon as it happened and turned out a gem of a blog post that has brought tons of traffic.
36. I forget to use hashtags
37. I forget to tag people
38. I can do better at social media advertising
I wrote a post about it, which in hindsight was probably not the best thing to do since people may have been hoping to learn something from it!
Social media advertising has always been this thing that I’ve hoped could kind of always live next door to me and I’d never have to visit. We could coexist, it over there and me over here. More and more it’s beginning to look like social media advertising is the new frontier for reach and engagement and, most importantly, it’s a topic that social media audiences want to know more about.
So we hired someone to do it well for us and to help us share with others how to do it well themselves.
39. I can do better at reciprocating on LinkedIn
This one fits quite closely with my failure to reply on social media. I’m fortunate to get a fair number of messages on LinkedIn, and for whatever reason—lack of time, not visiting LinkedIn enough—I rarely get back to people.
(Honestly, I think part of it is that I’ve mentally checked a box that LinkedIn messages may be unsolicited outreach since there’ve been a few of those in the past. Definitely is time for me to challenge that stereotype I’ve created there!)
Same goes for recommendations, references, updating my profile—basically all the good parts of having a strong LinkedIn presence that I sadly tend to neglect!
40. I can do better at livestreaming
I had the great opportunity to take part in a livestream chat for #SbizHour, and boy, I can totally up my game on livestreaming!
Brian Fanzo helped lead the chat (along with Rachel Miller), and Brian was running the Blab (my first one!) plus a Periscope plus a Twitter chat, all at the same time. Brian’s got the new media stuff down pat, always on the cutting edge of things like engagement, livestreaming, video, and more. I learn a ton from him. Next step: Getting livestreaming top of mind when I’ve got something new to share.
41. I probably have impostor syndrome
Looking at this chart from Push to Talk, I definitely have impostor syndrome.
And I’d imagine that listing 50 things I’m no good at with social media could very well be Exhibit A for this, too! There’s lots I do right, and it’d be great to find time to focus on those bits as well.
42. I struggle to find the right GIFs
I could spend hours on Giphy looking at all the amazing GIF collections they have. Problem is, I often need a GIF in seconds and might not have the time to leisurely browse and laugh my way through page after page.
That’s why we built a GIF mood board to help with those quick GIF needs. There’s a great bunch there that I can quickly share—and just hope the occasion doesn’t call for something the board doesn’t cover.
43. I can do better at consistent branding
One of the tips in our latest social media course is to focus your sharing on a single topic that fits within this diagram:
I think I’ve found this: Writing tips and resources.
And yet I tend to find myself sharing just about any interesting article I read, regardless of whether it fits this focus or not.
For the most part, this is okay as I tend to read a lot of writing articles anyway. But over time, and every so often, I’ll browse through my Twitter feed and it reads like an Inbound.org hub instead of the targeted niche I’m going for.
44. I’m not sure what to do with my cover photos
What do you do for yours?
Currently I’ve got an Anne Lamott quote as my cover photo, which is great and I’m totally happy with. Then I’ll go out and visit someone else’s Twitter profile and see this beautiful art or happy picture or strong branding and I’ll suddenly feel quite inadequate about mine.
I kind of want to be Laura Roeder.
45. I’m too good at forgetting what experiments I’m running
Something I’m good at!
I find that I’m not shy at all with trying new experiments on Twitter and charting these cool tests for learning what works and what doesn’t. And then I’ll go and totally forget that I was running them.
Case in point: I’m often curious about the best times of day to post. I set up an experiment three months back with a schedule of posts—one at 10:00 a.m., one at noon, and one at 11:49 p.m.
And I just now remembered that I was testing things!
(Here’re the results, by the way.)
46. I can do better at scientific A/B tests
I love testing different headlines on Twitter and other social sites, but I tend to not do it 100% right. A scientific test, from what I understand, is best when it has a very limited number of variables: preferably just one difference between the control and the experiment. My Twitter tests will change one thing (the words in the headline) but then they also tag on a bunch of other subtle changes, too:
Time of day
All of these can lead to slightly skewed results, and while some test is likely better than no test, I’m never quite sure how much confidence to place in what I find.
47. I can do better at sticking with a sharing ratio
Buffer’s founder Joel has this really cool way of sharing to Twitter where he finds one type of staple tweet, say a link post, and then mixes these staple tweets in with any other type (e.g., photo, quote, retweet) in a 4:1 ratio.
I love the approach. His is one of my favorite Twitter feeds to follow.
And I’ve tried it myself. I just keep forgetting to follow through week after week.
If you see me posting too many photos consecutively on Twitter, could you give me a nudge?
48. I’m no good at remembering to turn my schedule back on after holidays
Which reminds me … did I turn Thursdays back on after Thanksgiving?
49. I could do better at thanking people for swag
A belated thank you to
The Trello team for the awesome t-shirt and stickers
The Track Maven folks for swag galore!
The Short Stack team for the awesome gifts
The Zurb crew for their Christmas present two Christmases ago
50. I could do better at being online more consistently
I tend to be completely offline once I close my computer (again, the no smartphone thing helps tremendously here), and my sense is that social media is perhaps at its most valuable as an always-on medium.
Up for sharing what you’d like to improve with your social media?
Thanks so much for hanging with me through this post. I hope there might be some inspiration or encouragement you can take from this. Grateful for the chance to share with you!
And I’d love to hear: Is there anything that resonated with you from this list?
Would you be up for sharing what you’re no good at with social media?
Looking forward to hearing from you either way.
Image sources: Pablo, Push to Talk, Unsplash, Giphy