I dove into Pinterest this past weekend. I’ve used it for a bit, but like many things social media, my first impulse was “this is fun, but what’s the point?”. And then a few friends talked me through it, and how they find it helpful. And one of the Sisters in Crime New England board members started a SinCNE site, and I tried to help. Turns out that half of the Wicked Cozy Authors already use Pinterest to engage readers with their series in different ways. So I started to poke around a bit. And I noticed that the sites I was most drawn to followed the 80/20 rule.
What, you may ask, is the 80/20 rule? It is simple. My definition in this context is that 80% of your social media use should be about other people (or organizations). 20% can be in service of yourself. Only 20%. 10% would be better.
Social media has a lot of uses. While it can be used for marketing, it is more than that. Or different, in that it uses engagement tools to build up networks. And while there might be an “ask” as part of the relationship, there may not be. It may just be a relationship. Each social media platform uses a different “language” around engagement. Pinterest, for example, is like a big scrapbooking party. It is all visual. Twitter is confined to 140 characters. These are both the wild, wild west. You can follow anyone, repin or retweet anything or anyone. Facebook requires you to chose your network (by friending), unless you have a page, which moves it back to the wild, wild west. All of these platforms (and others like Tumblr and Instagram) are about having a conversation of some sort.
Think about that. Conversations. You’re at a cocktail party on the web. The 80/20 rule helps you not be the narcissist that everyone wants to get away from. You know that person. “Me, me, me, what do you think of me?” Or “buy my book, buy my book, buy my book.” Blech.
Wouldn’t you rather talk to the person who says “I read this great article”, “here’s a fun recipe that uses tomatoes”, “how cute is that tiny house?”, “do you have a friend who needs help?”, “have you read this book? I know the author. She’s fab.” And who also likes what you say, repeats it back, writes down your suggestions? Eighty percent about others.
Pay it forward. Be the fun person at the cocktail party.
The one who gets invited back.
J.A. Hennrikus/Julianne Holmes is a mystery writer, ED of StageSource, teacher, arts advocate, and lover of social media.