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Productivity

Why Your Brand Needs a Social Ritual

Sticking to a content schedule is tough.

Even the word “schedule” has the ick-factor. It makes you feel like you’ve behind before you’ve even started.

So… switch up the language and make it fun. Instead of a schedule, have a ritual.

Having a social ritual means creating a particular kind of content, in the same way each time, and doing it on a regular basis.

To put it simply: do a cool thing on social media, and do it regularly. It’s just like a schedule, but with added magic dust.

Examples of social rituals from the A-Listers

  • Marie Forleo releases a new video released every Tuesday, “Q&A Tuesday”
  • Danielle LaPorte sends a “Truth Bomb” to all her social media platforms every day.
  • Havi Brooks blogs about her week and her wishes every weekend.
  • Curvy Yoga focuses on a yoga pose every month.
  • Sounds True releases a new podcast every weekend.
  • And at Social Caffeine, we make sure we publish at least two blog posts a week.

Why rituals are awesome

  • Rituals build engagement and community. People can comment on your blog or show up on Instagram and hang out with you, your product and each other.
  • People have a chance to engage with your product or thing, over and over again. Unless you are selling something that people only need to buy once in their lives (ie: a house?), your biggest customers are going to be raving fans who can’t get enough of you. Make it easier for them by bringing your product into their lives over and over again.
  • Trust. Showing up regularly helps people trust you and your product. You move from being an “occasional website click” to a trusted partner in their life.
  • Accountability for you and your team. Having a social media ritual forces you to show up for your community in a way that just “blogging whenever I feel inspired” doesn’t. It also helps create accountability for your community: they have to commit to something that will make their lives better.
  • You get to know your followers and fans. You get to know their struggles, needs and dreams and so you can help them better.

Examples of how you could use rituals in your business

If you help people…

  • Eat healthier, you could set up a “new ingredient of the month”, along with a simple recipe for your community to try.
  • De-clutter, you could run a weekly challenge on social media like “Say goodbye to something Day”.
  • Stop procrastinating, you can give your community a small challenge every week.

3 things to consider before you get started with your ritual

Showing up regularly is a challenge. You have to come up with a new angle on the same topic over and over again.

And – with apologies for using the ick word – you also need to have a scheduling system for when you are busy living your life and can’t show up on that particular day.

Make sure you choose your ritual carefully, and remember to have fun in the process. If you enjoy your ritual, your community is likely to enjoy it as well.

Social Media Addict

Do you ever log onto to Twitter “for five minutes” only to find that two hours later, you’re still browsing your news feed?

Or do you find yourself constantly checking for Facebook updates on your smartphone?

Don’t panic – you’re not alone. Research shows that social media is incredibly addictive. One study has found that staying away from Twitter is harder than quitting smoking. Incredible, hey?

What Makes Social Media so Addictive?

The key to social media addiction is dopamine.

You’ve probably heard of dopamine as the pleasure hormone. This isn’t strictly true.

What dopamine actually does is encourage us to look for stuff.

As the folks at Team W explain:

From an evolutionary stand-point this is critical. The dopamine seeking system keeps us motivated to move through our world, learn, and survive. It’s not just about physical needs such as food, or sex, but also about abstract concepts. Dopamine makes us curious about ideas and fuels our searching for information.

Do you see where this is going? Dopamine makes us what to look for new stuff. Twitter and Facebook are veritable goldmines of new stuff. Your brain on Twitter is like Scrooge McDuck diving into his money vault. Everywhere you turn, your brain thinks happy days.

Well, almost. There’s one more trick that Twitter has up its sleeve, which makes it even more powerful: unpredictability. Sometimes you’ll go on Twitter and Facebook, and your mind is blown. Boom! Sometimes you’ll have a ton of notifications. Again, this sends a flood of dopamine to your brain.

Other times, it’s a slow day (or a slow five minutes). Nothing much interesting. No notifications.

This unpredictability stimulates dopamine.

And there’s one more thing… dopamine loves chasing down rabbit holes. If you have incomplete information (e.g. a 140 character tweet), you won’t feel satisfied. You’ll need more. So you’ll keep looking. Hence, you stay on Twitter for hours.

Here’s One Approach You Can Use to Break Social Media Addiction

Social media isn’t going away. For most of us, it’s integral to our lives – if not to our work, then at least to our social lives. And your brain isn’t going to stop producing dopamine anytime soon.

As the folks at Harvard Health explain, your best bet is to find other ways of making your brain happy, and fulfilling your desire for new things:

It is not enough to “just say no”—as the 1980s slogan suggested. Instead, you can protect (and heal) yourself from addiction by saying “yes” to other things. Cultivate diverse interests that provide meaning to your life.

That could mean:

  • Getting out into the real world and meeting new people.
  • Finding a job that’s meaningful and purposeful (that doesn’t necessarily mean quitting your current job – it can just mean subtle changes, or a new attitude)
  • Reading books – especially those outside your main field of interest.
  • Trying a new sport.
  • Cooking a different meal.

All these take more investment than checking social media, and so are more likely to give more long term rewards.

Over to You

What do you do to find meaning and purpose in life? If you’ve recovered from social media addiction, what helped you?

Let us know in the comments section, below.

2015 Social Media

A new year, a fresh start. That’s the theory anyway. Why not make it real too – at least when it comes to social networking.

This is the ideal time of year to press “reset” on your social strategy. You can take a few moments to make sure you’re getting the best out of the time and money you invest in social marketing.

Even if you’re doing really well with social (great job if you are!), it’s still worth doing a raincheck. The landscape of social media is constantly changing, and there’s no right way of doing social. So it’s always good to make sure you’re on the right path.

Here’s how to make sure 2015 is the year you rock it on social media…

Find Out What’s Been Working Well

You’ve heard the phrase “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”. That applies here. Just because you’re rethinking your social strategy doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch.

Look over what’s gone well for you on social media in the past year. For example, you might notice that you’ve:

  • Interacted with an influencer (or influencers) in your niche
  • Received lots of comments from your fans or followers
  • Had a good amount of clicks on the content you’ve shared
  • Performed particularly well on one or two social networks.

You can get some of this information by looking over your social interactions. But you’ll get better information (and be able to see if you’re improving) if you track your metrics. We’ll come to that in a moment.

For now, notice what’s working, and commit to doing more of it.

Throw Out What’s Not Working

Spring cleaning is when you tidy up your house, and it often includes throwing out broken stuff.

The concept of spring cleaning actually comes from the Persian New Year, which falls on the first day of spring. On New Year’s Eve, people in Persia clean everything in their home, as a way of having a fresh start.

So far, you’ve looked at what’s working on social media. Now, it’s time to consider what’s not going so well. This can be tough – because it could mean it’s time to trash projects you’ve spent a lot of time on, or that mean a great deal to you.

When you’re considering what’s not going so well, you might look at:

  • Types of content that doesn’t get shared or commented on
  • Networks where you don’t get much interaction
  • Influencer’s you’ve been targeting who continually ignore you

And so on…

Of course, it could be that you can’t see what’s worked (or failed) on social media, because you’ve been doing very little social networking. If that’s that case, then throw out your laziness, and get to work at making a social splash!

Replace the Broken With Sparkling New Things

You’ve seen what’s working in your social strategy, and you’ve thrown out what’s not.

What’s next? By getting rid of what’s not working, you’ve freed up time to try out some new things.

Remember, social media is an experiment. Not everything you try out will work. But some of it will. So, try out what you’re drawn to, and see how it goes.

Here are some ideas for what you could do.

Find “Influencers” to Connect With

You’ve probably heard that it’s good to connect with “influencers”. Typically, these are people with lots of followers. More followers, more influence, right?

This is only true to an extent. A better way of looking at influencers is to think of the people who can help you because of their position, and the influence they have. For example:

  • If you’re a start up company, then “influencers” could be potential investors
  • If you’re a freelance writer, then “influencers” are the editors who could commission an article from you.
  • If you’re an ecommerce store, then an “influencer” could be a potential supplier you want to get in touch with.

For advice on how to connect with influencers, check out our guides here, here, here, and here.

Try Out a New Network

Which networks should you be using? That all depends on what you’re trying to achieve. For most businesses, we’d recommend you use Twitter and Facebook at minimum, but even those aren’t for everyone.

The right networks for you are the places you can best connect with your customers. For B2B businesses, this is likely to be LinkedIn. If you sell a highly niched product, then you might find the best place to connect with your customers is in an old-school forum. Selling interior design or craft products? Then you can’t ignore Pinterest.

So, take some time to investigate the niche networks that could be a good fit for your business. Then go join them!

Make Sure You’ve got the Basics Covered

The bread-and-butter of social media can seem boring, which is why we’ve saved it until last. But if you’ve not getting the basics right, then there’s little point in growing what you’re doing.

Two simple mistakes we often see are:

  • Not scheduling updates. Scheduling updates using a simple tool such as Buffer App will save you a ton of time if you’re not doing it already. It also has an added advantage: scheduling updates means you’ll be following the most basic role of social media – frequent updates.
  • Failing to track your metrics. Keeping on top of your stats is the only way you can discover what’s really working on social media. It also helps you see how you can improve. Tracking stats doesn’t have to be difficult – there are a ton of different apps that will do it for you.

Over to You

What are your New Year’s Resolutions when it comes to social media? What changes are you planning to make to your social strategy in 2015?