Sunday, August 28, 2011

Strategies for Sharing

OK, so I use lots of different social networking and sharing tools. At some point, you have to ask yourself:

1. Am I using too many tools?
2. Am I spending too much time with them to the detriment of real work?
3. Has the world changed so that your personal brand deserves attention as much as a marketing budget and sales activities are required for larger businesses?

The Situation
I mainly use Linkedin, Facebook, my blog (which you are reading), and my two web sites, one personal and one business ( and

For research purposes, I track interesting pages with Evernote. With multiple computers, I use Dropbox for exchanging information between machines and with third parties.

What are my decision rules?

First, I try to use new technologies to understand them. That was one of the reasons for putting up my web sites. A particular challenge on my web sites is navigation, so I have experimented with different navigation approaches for accessing photographs and poems on my personal web site. I use a graphical map, categorization by theme, and ratings of quality. It's not social networking, rather it is the classic role of the editor.

Currently, I am experimenting with Twitter, Klout, Tweettronics, Gist and Hootsuite.

Second, I try to distinguish between content with "reader appeal" and content that is narrowly of interest to me. General appeal content I will put up on Facebook. More obscure material that I may use as a reference source in the future for a project or area I work in I will store on Evernote. Longer articles e.g. from consulting firms, I download as pdf files and store in a directory for future sharing. Base upon the number of Likes and comments I receive, I suspect that I put too much up on Facebook.

Third, most of my own writings get put up on my business web site, under Free White Papers.

Fourth, I put very little content up on Linkedin. Linkedin strikes me as a very salesy site. There are a lot of people showing their wares. I use Twitter, linked to Linkedin to highlight my blog posts on the theory that if I bother to write something on my blog, I would like to think I have something to say that may be of interest to others. I also cross post to Facebook.

While Twitter receives a lot of press in the mainstream media, what is most surprising about Twitter is how few people have many followers and how many people have almost no one following them. Using Tweettronics to look at followership, 40% of Twitter authors have less than 15 people following. And if you have several hundred people following you, you are likely in the top 10% of Twitter authors.

As to the question of how much time to spend, I suspect that like all marketing problems, it boils down to short term and long term outcomes. It's surprising how an article or piece of content can generate business years down the road. This lag makes measurement of a personal brand and sales effectiveness difficult. But for the short and medium term, tracking followership, getting reaction from readers and inquires about business or e.g. job proposals on Linkedin is the only measure of whether your personal content strategy is working.

So, if you are reading this post, what are your decision rules? Are you randomly posting and tweeting? Do you have a content or segment strategy for your personal promotion? What decision rules are you using for allocating your time to different tools and topics?

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