The Greatest Tip in Social Media

Which would you rather be? A marathoner or a 100-metre dasher? (source)

Do you know what the most important tip in social media success is?

Let me give you a few hints.

It isn't about creativity, celebrity or comedy. It isn't about befriending a thousand friends on Facebook, Twitter, or Plurk.

Nor is it about fabulous photographs, wickedly outrageous videos, or prose from paradise.

Give up?

Well, the simple answer is consistency and continuity.

Everybody can start a blog, youtube channel, or flickr page. Putting up a facebook fan page is a breeze, and so are creating short 144 word Twitter or Plurk updates.

However, sustaining them on a regular basis can become a challenge. After a while, writing 100 word posts, editing and selecting photos, and putting up snappy and witty asides on Twitter can become quite a grind. Trying to always be the most comprehensive and updated blogger, twitterer, or video sharer can be a tiring exercise.

Especially when real life (and work) beckons.

How does one maintain an online presence for the long haul then? Here are some rules which I try to follow:

First, be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses. Not everybody can be as funny as Kenny Sia, thought provoking as Seth Godin, or diva-like as Xiaxue. However, you can carve a niche in an area that you're confident in.

Next, be mindful of finding the right rhythm and cadence for yourself. Don't adopt too gruelling a pace and encounter blog burnout. Take it from me. Initially, I tried to be a "post-a-day" blogger, but I found the pace too punishing. I'm now settling for a new post every two to three days, and it seems to be more comfortable.

You should also manage your expectations on what your digital real estate seeks to achieve.

If you're looking to monetize your websites or blogs, be prepared to work hard in getting the right keywords in, follow the latest news, and befriend the greatest number of fans. With a gazillion competitors out there, you have to be relentless and restless.

If however, you just want to a place to share your thoughts and creative outputs, the amount of rigour required would probably be reduced.

Finally, know thyself (as George Lam in a Guiness Stout advert would say).

Are you somebody who has tremendous discipline and are able to stick to a rigid and tight schedule? Or do you prefer to have more flexibility in your life so that you can shoot the breeze when the occasion calls for it?

Establishing a social media presence isn't about a grand beginning or a fabulous finish. It is all about the journey - the steps you take along the route, the friends that you make along the way, and the digital ink that you spill on your virtual canvasses. It is also about balance, moderation and longevity - a marathon if you may as opposed to a sprint.

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