I’m not talking about guarding them physically and/or from harmful (and often questionable) content. I’m referring to the job you have of guarding their time.
In today’s digital paradigm people are much more willing to spend time than money.
So your loyal followers have given you a precious gift. They are investing their precious time in reading your blog, your Facebook updates and your tweets. They browse your pictures on Pinterest and Instagram.
Do not take this gift lightly.
Just this week I’ve received eleven requests from friends to help them promote their work and/or ministry. As a writer I understand this dilemma. We all have to market our work. And the best place to start that process is with the people we know. And that’s where I begin as well. The hard part comes when we have to tell our friends no.
But the truth is this, in these circumstance my first loyalty is to my audience. It has to be.
My audience has given me their trust. And I cannot, in good conscience, betray that trust by promoting every random thing I’m exposed to. EVEN if those random things are good ones.
So how do I evaluate what things I pass on to my social media audience? First I have to know who my audience is and what their preferences are.
I do this by:
- paying attention to the comments and analytics on my blog.
- watching my social media and seeing which updates are being shared and which ones create conversations.
- 1. Will this information irritate my audience? In other words is it, to them, nothing more than a commercial to be ignored? There are lots of good things advertised on TV, but if I’m not interested, it’s just more noise and irritation.
- 2. Will my audience be interested in this thing/person/ministry I’m introducing them to? I don’t mind broadening my audience’s perspective, but it does have to have at least a small bit of relevance that I can highlight in my promotion.
- 3. Will the lives of those who follow me be enriched by the information I’m sharing?
There are times when I share things that don’t pass all three of these filters. I share some personal things on social media, like when I signed with an agent or got a new book contract. I even pass on things that just tickle my funny bone.
The important thing is to make sure these are the EXCEPTION in your regular updates, never the rule.
Truthfully I can’t promote everything I’d like to for my friends because I’d end up driving away my audience. I always try to explain, and most of the time I’m met with understanding.
I truly don’t mind being asked to share information through my social media channels. Heck it’s a great way for me to be valuable with my audience. But I still have to know when to say no. It’s a ticklish line to walk, but it’s a boundary all of us need to establish if we want to keep the respect of those who follow us.
So how about you? How do you respond when friends ask you to share information through your social media platform?
Don’t forget to join the conversation!