Social Media – Musings

Social media is the new form of communication out there.  From Twitter to Instagram to Facebook and Google+, it’s all the rage.  It’s interesting to see how things are slowly shifting too, Google’s starting to look at forms of instant communication (Twitter, Facebook public statuses, etc.) and indexing it for specific on-trend topics.  More information, more relevant information – faster.

For an online business though, Starlit Citadel’s been pretty lax about taking part in this revolution.  Sure, we have a Twitter and FB account.  Heck, we even have a Google+ and Pinterest accounts.  We just don’t use them as much as we probably could….

Time Sinks

That is one of the problems with social media in that they are time sinks.  Assuming you want to do them well, that means actually doing that rather important ‘social’ bit.  In terms of Twitter or Facebook or Google+ which are full-on networks, it means finding and following interesting people and commenting on posts / getting involved in conversations.

Spread across 3 networks, figure 5 minutes each and say you check in twice a day – well, now you’ve lost at least 30 minutes.  If you actually get into conversations, you’ll have to check in more…

That’s not to say it’s a bad thing mind you, and it’s fun; but with everything else that you need to be doing as a business, it’s no wonder that bigger companies have dedicated social media staff.

Doing What You Can

So, what can you do? Well, for one – make good use of your time.  There are a number of automation tools out there that allow you to cross-post various pieces of information.  For example, our blog has an RSS feed.  We use Hootsuite to pick up the feed and push it to both Facebook, Twitter and Google+ every time we write a post.  This saves us the time of posting individually.

In addition, there’s IFTT  which allows you to create simple automated scripts.  I haven’t really used it much yet, but with a bit of exploration I’m sure I’ll be able to automate a few more of these tasks.  There’s a nice one for Instagram, but since we don’t use Instagram it’s a non-issue.

That’s the other tip – pick the one’s that you think will work for you best and use that, ignore the rest.  For us, it’s mostly Facebook and Twitter.  Pinterest we have set-up on the site and occasionally add our own pins and Google+ I bimble over to once in a while, but our best return is Facebook and Twitter.  So that’s where we focus.

 

Public and Private Personas

At first, I was going to write a post about the entire Geek Girl issue, but I’ve never gotten an angle on it that I felt comfortable writing about.  Frankly, I think the topic is something Kaja is better of writing rather than me.  Instead, I think I’ll talk about public / private personas especially when dealing with marketing the store.

Being Public

Both Kaja and myself to a lesser extent have a ‘public’ persona.  Kaja’s much more obvious with her being the main employee face in our video reviews.  I, on the other hand mostly post on the twitter account and the blog.  As these are ‘corporate’ personas, they are in some ways different from our private personalities.  As a simple example – both Kaja and I swear a lot less when posting / reviewing for the company.   There’s a certain level of professionalism that is both expected and required when we ‘work’.  While Starlit Citadel allows us to be more ‘us’ than a job in say, a bank; it still requires a level of professionalism.

The problem with having a public persona, especially one online; is that you open up to a lot more comments & discussions than any other job does.  It surely is something that you invite, but due to the nature of how we interact online, it removes some of the perceived barriers between the public and private.

This isn’t to say that it doesn’t happen in other jobs, it’s just that we are in a way both inviting more comments.  There’s a difference between the salesperson you see in the store and the salesperson who invites you back to his house for a BBQ.

The Medium is the Message

Alright, this isn’t exactly right since the medium is the Internet. However, there’s a difference between say a blog post with a video review with a twitter message with a FB post.  Some are perceived inherently to be more permanent (blog posts, video messages) than others (a twitter message).  The same comment posted as a blog post would be taken differently than one on Twitter.

The Private Line

In a way, as public personas we dictate the line that is drawn by what we speak about / discuss publicly.  For example, by never posting about personal events on a public account, we don’t invite comments about our personal lives.  That’s a line that we draw.  I post about the business, so I expect to get questions about the business – but I stay away from actual sales numbers, which is why I’ve never received a question about ‘what’s your sales’.  Again, we set the expectation.

The issue is, while we perceive this line to be set not everyone gets the memo.  Sometimes, its just a matter of lack of clarity – there’s no actual document out there saying do not say X or comment on Y.  Sometimes, it’s because we actually cross the lines accidentally, or just haven’t ‘set’ the lines as tightly in our own minds.   After all, there’s nothing wrong with interacting socially with customers right? Mostly….

Resetting those lines though requires a touch of finesse.  A great example is comments on Kaja’s & Joanna’s appearances on the videos.  Sure, they are pretty and complimenting them on this is fine… but at a certain point, these comments stop being compliments and just become creepy.  However, because it’s a ‘corporate’ account, we have to be careful of exactly how we reset those lines.

That public / private line issue is much more apparent for Kaja than me.  Part of that of course is the medium, part of that is what we discuss (I’m boring with my business posts) and partly, it’s the gender thing.  For some reason, being female in some minds means that the line gets reset back a lot further than if you were male.

Balancing where and how we talk about these things is a constant issue, and frankly; one that is both intriguing in an academic sense and frustrating sometimes on a personal level.