Texting your ex is a bad idea.
Eating an entire bag of Lindt white chocolate truffles in one sitting also makes the list of bad ideas. Posting a selfie at midnight on Instagram, bloated and irritable, is also an awful decision. If you're like me, doing all three in one night is the worst decision of all.
While I can't reasonably tell you to not text your ex (that's what your mom is for), and eating chocolate is usually always a good idea, I can tell you that posting a selfie at midnight is a poor decision.
One word: branding. It's important. Your social media identity is your brand. If you post selfies and pictures of your cats, that's your brand. And that's OK, so long as that is what you want to portray yourself as.
Have no worries, cat men and women of the world! There is a method to efficient branding and relationship-building. Let's discuss.
Step 1: Research
Who are you trying to engage? Are you a college student? Business professional trying to promote a product? Each person has a unique audience that are receptive to their posts.
For instance, a mommy blogger is more likely to engage with moms and dads through Facebook (or even Twitter), where the demographics show that 30-49 year-olds are nearly toppling teens in percentage of users.
It's common sense. You dress for the job you want, so make posts for the people you want to reach. It pays to research.
Step 2: Plan
You're probably wondering why I said a selfie at midnight is a bad idea. Unless your audience is a group of insomniacs (in which case, go for it), your posts aren't going to be looked at. In fact, a recent article by Buffer says that businesses get more interaction during business hours than off-hours.
So what do you do after you've gathered your research? Plan out your posts. Spontaneity is a nice dessert, but planned posts are the main entrée.
I prefer to use a regular, standard weekly calendar.
The open-cell format allows you to write in your posts, giving you room for your post name, platform and posting time.
For example, "Picture of Snickers, my cat / on Instagram / 3pm" goes on Wednesday. To spice things up, prioritize certain days for certain posts -- Facebook Fridays, Instagram Wednesdays, Snapchat Sundays ... you get the idea.
Having a stable, efficient means of posting enables the audience to expect content so that you can build relationships with invested viewers.
Step 3: Review
How did your post turn out? How many likes/comments/retweets/shares did it receive? Were you satisfied or dissatisfied?
This is when you take a good, hard look at your content. Date, time, location, hashtag usage, etc. They all play a factor in community reach.
Ask yourself the question, "Why?" (Do this for a lot of aspects in your life.) Why did your selfie get more likes than a picture of your latte? Did your post reinforce your brand? Could you have thought out your content better?
Review is research with a different hat on.
Again, it pays to research.
Step 4: Correspond
Lastly, implement what you've learned. In the case of a business, share your research with others to foster improvement.
All the effort spent in the other steps is nullified if you don't learn from your mistakes and successes.
Reminder: In no way are you meant to follow these steps in order at all times. At any point you may utilize any of the steps.
So, at the end of the day, we all make mistakes. We text our exes. We eat junk food. In the words of Miley Cyrus, "everybody has those days."
But your social media doesn't have to be one of those mistakes.