A Quick Guide to Happier Social Media
“I’m supposed to be active on here to heighten my comedic profile but I think I’d rather be gunned down in an alley.” -Eddie Pepitone
Social Media fatigue is a common issue, and something I dealt with early on social media… up until maybe this year when I decided to make Social Media work for me. I’m not a comedian, actor, or athlete so my definition of “working for me” is not going to be the same as someone who is trying to get their name felt. HOWEVER, the basics are the same.
- What do you want from social?
- What is the brand you are selling?
- How do I post efficiently?
- How do I deal with comments?
- Can I cheat the system?
OK, let’s pull the band-aid off these questions and look at what is going on underneath. (…also, I’ll be quoting Eddie Pepitone’s Twitter account as it was the inspiration for this post. Follow him at @EddiePepitone before he shuts it all down and moves into a cave.)
What do you want from social?
“Being continually semi-witty on Twitter is not only a waste of time but it shortens my life.” -Eddie Pepitone
If you are trying to sell shoes, get asses in seats, start off your porn career, social media can do it for you. …but you need to know what it is you want to do.
If you are using social to be social, then only do that. Don’t wake up one day and say, “hey, I know you have been liking my vacation photos – want to buy some succulents?” That’s not how advertising works, and it’s gross.
The reasons a “switching of personas” doesn’t work is:
- It’s brand rape
- It lacks authenticity
“Real” gets votes, and it doesn’t have to actually be all that real. (This is where I quote Shakespeare “To thy own self be true” and my 5th grade english teacher can die happy.) The truth is marketable “Real” only has to be true to it’s self. To prove this point here are
The 3 Levels of Authenticity:
- Real-Real: This is maybe best defined by Tig Notaro’s breakout moment. He stopped her comedy set to talk about her cancer diagnosis (find it, watch it). Before then she was a successful comedian drawing her comedy from (what we will get to in a moment) “fake-fake” experiences and her ability to deliver a line. It wasn’t until she opened herself up and was real that she was able to hit stardom. This kind of honesty is hard to pull off and even harder to maintain. It will start draining your humanity. It works for Tig because she was already a master story-teller, and her brand only needed a push.
- Real-Fake: Mickey Mouse is a real fake. He is honest and true to himself, but we would never expect to see the actual Mickey in the real world. Mickey is real to the world he exhists in, and you recognize things that within that world. You can buy into the whole thing and know it’s fake, and be fine with it. This is not only the easiest level of reality to create, but it is also the easiest to maintain. You don’t need to be a great storyteller, if people buy into the world you have invented. This is also how the Kardasians are famous, and this is how religion works. (Before you say you get mad about religion being “real-fake” — do you believe a talking donkey saved a man from being murdered by a ghost? Because it’s in the Bible, as a real thing that happened.)
- Fake-Fake: These don’t tend to last very long, they blow up big and burn out quickly. Take for example Banksy’s Dismaland. It was a very creative take on a Disneyland that had dissolved itself from the stygian inner core outward through the hard candy shell. The exhibits were comically depressing, the guides where hopeless, and so close to being a masterful “real-fake” ruined by currators explaining each exhibit as “art”. You can’t have realism if someone is there to tell you why it isn’t real. This is why, “Why did the chicken, who was very hungry, cross the road, to a side where the restaurant is? Although the idea of a chicken eating at a restaurant, let alone understanding the concept of needing to visit one, is nonsensical.” isn’t a joke.
What is the brand you are selling?
“Tapping into the Zeitgeist has to be done under supervision and try not to hit a bad vein.” -Eddie Pepitone
The only way to sleep well at night is to compartmentalize your social. If you can separate your brand from your personal do it, and NEVER cross streams.
Think of your Social Media persona as Superman and Clark Kent having Instagram accounts, if a photo is posted to the wrong account, the jig is up.
Your brand is your Superman, put only your best stuff out there.
Your personal is your Clark Kent, put only your personal stuff there.
If you merge your brand and your personal, you’ll become Andrew Dice Clay–a persona that has taken over the life of Andrew Clay Silverstein–a man who has completely lost his own identity and who walks this earth as an empty vessel needing the spotlight to fill the vacuum where his humanity once was. (Actually, he used to be my neighbor and a pretty sweet dad–but I’ll bet he would sell his bone marrow for 3 lines in a KIA commercial.)
My brand “DrPunchman” has been left undefined. I use it to keep my personal identity offline as best I can. However, my Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook have been separated out for different uses.
- Instagram: It’s my happy place – sketches, photos, etc. Nothing too personal, and I don’t tend to interact often. I keep it light.
- Twitter: It’s the most personal, lizard brained, side of me. Anything my horrible brain bubbles up during the day from it’s tar-filled depths goes here. I needed a place to be horrible in public, and this works for me.
- Facebook: I deleted 99% of everyone off my Facebook–friends, family, etc. I only use it to aggregate news from a hand-full of sources. Basically it’s an RSS stream at the end of the day. Anyone who wants to “follow” me on Facebook gets a boilerplate response, and turned away. Because if you know me, and want to know what is going on in my life, you can call or email me like a goddamned human being.
How do I post efficiently?
“I don’t feel well. I haven’t felt well in decades. If you follow me you too can feel awful. Please join me on the road to being unwell.” -Eddie Pepitone
Instagram: There is no good option to manage your Instagram feed. There are apps that will tell you when is a good time to post, and what hashtags to use (while it still uses hashtags), but it still requires manual maintenance, and until they open their API (technical blah-blah) there won’t be a good option to automate your Instagram.
Twitter: There are a ton of options to automate Twitter, although they do change their API frequently – as long as you aren’t the one coding an automation app who cares?
- Do yourself a favor and install the “TweetDeck” Chrome extension. If you don’t know what I just said, ask your grandkids.
- Go to BevMo.com
- Order yourself a bottle of Ardbeg Uigeadail.
- When it arrives, drink all of it at once.
- If you survive: Tweet everything you know, but don’t post anything
- Schedule your Tweets to post 2 days from now, exponentially
This will set you up with about a month worth of posts that are about as good as they will ever get. The best part is you just “set it and forget it”. You can check back and review your Tweets to adjust for spelling, legibility, and value at your pleasure. You can set up your Tweets to post during times that are most valuable to your audience (usually around 11:00am & 3:00pm Pacific), and never think about them again.
Facebook: I suggest not posting directly to Facebook, but set up Facebook to repost from your Twitter and Instagram. Facebook then becomes your aggregator and mixing Clark Kent and Superman here is somehow more acceptable (I don’t suggest it, but you can do it here and be “OK”).
Personally I like IFTTT (If This Than That) as my social aggrigator. I won’t go into how to set this up if you are having trouble, ask your grandkid.
How do I deal with comments?
“Is anybody else completely over Twitter, Facebook and every other social media fake horseshit site that is a substitute for a life?” -Eddie Pepitone
Actually, to pull from Eddie’s expansive knowledge base, download his podcast (Pep-Talks) and listen to episode #48. Patton Oswalt basically walks you through not getting roped into online debates. It’s Patton, he is the voice of a generation, agree and move on. Also, I’m not going to tell you what he says, you can download one episode of a podcast and thank me for it. I’m not doing all your homework for you. I will also add that Patton doesn’t actually take his own advice, but it’s still damn good advice.
I suggest, don’t “like” every comment. Not everyone needs to be encouraged. Also, blocking people is healthy. Wil Wheaton (@wilw) has a Twitter Block list (Find it here?) that is the most beautiful thing in the world. Thank him for it.
Can I cheat the system?
“We have to face our lives without these distractions for morons. We must rise up and disown Twitter and Facebook and make a craft!” -Eddie Pepitone
My craft is ignoring the rules. So you want a million followers and you don’t want to do any work? Me too. Like I said, I don’t want to be internet famous, I have a better shot of staring on an eventual Simon & Simon reboot.
More followers means you get heard.
Facebook and Instagram populate what is popular not what is good, or timely. To get popular you need to get your name felt. It doesn’t matter if your name is getting felt by bots or by people, numbers don’t know who they belong to.
A bot liking something is just as good as a person liking something.
If I post a painting on social media I can expect 30-40 likes on a good day. If Paul Sheer reposts my image it will get well over 100. This is because I have so fewer followers then he does. My art won’t show up on as many phones as his repost of my art will – because the numbers.
How to get more numbers? Cheat. Why the fuck not?
- Instagram, a friend and I built a little code that gets me maybe 200-500 followers a week depending on how I use it. It’s based on how the follow/unfollow works (it’s somewhere around here…). From this method you can expect a 30% fall off over 4 days; however, once you have over 1000 followers you will recieve about 5-10 followers a week without cheating. Numbers!
- Twitter, I don’t really care – I have no idea why someone would want to read 1000 posts where I shame TV shows …and probably my penis. I’m guessing you can buy into some kinda twitter scam and pay $200 per day to have a “promoted tweet”, or pay $50 to have 3000 fake accounts follow you instantly and eventually take over your Twitter feed with spam.
- Facebook, treat it like LinkedIn, find any random friend of a friend, like something they said, follow them and poof! The bad news is that it is Facebook, but if you have asked your Grandkid for help once during any of this, Facebook is probably more important to you.
So really quick, I didn’t touch on SnapChat or any of the newer social platforms, mostly because I’m not 17 years old, and partly because the three I’m covering are thought of as the gold standards. Agree or not, them’s the way things are. Also, no one that I am mentioning here has given me permission to use their names, quotes, or anything — so don’t think for one second that they agree with me or approve this message. It’s a post in a blog, not a report on Fox News.
If I’ve offended you, what I would like to do is send you a beautiful rant by David Cross, but me being me, most-likely, I’ll delete your comment. You could always comment on my Twitter (@DrPunchman) and I’ll ignore Patton’s advise too.