Its finally Spring! The air is warming, the sun is shining, and the snow is gone! What mindset does that put you in? Some look forward to lazy summer days at the beach or poolside. Some think of warm summer nights in the yard watching the moon and stars. I personally, think of gardening. I think of the rich soil, the endless varieties of plants, of nurturing the sprouts into full bloom and finally, of the end product. The hard work of weeding, watering, and fertilizing are in there, but they tend to be forgotten as the pleasure of the garden and the idea of its end product takes hold.
That’s not unlike developing your voice on social platforms. Let’s think a little about this for a moment. To begin, let’s think about social media as a garden. There are steps to maintaining a garden. You must decide where to plant, what to plant, and when to plant. The soil must be tilled, and upkeep is a given. That’s very much like creating your voice as you Grow Social.
No matter the platform, the voice you bring is important. Do you want a loud, commanding voice? A big beautiful Dahlia? A soft, soothing voice? A small sweet pea vine? Or something in the middle? A lovely reach of Daffodils? Whatever you decide on, make sure that you are comfortable with the voice and that you find it personally appealing. Compare it with the voice to your mission statement. Does it align with your goals in the way you want to? Are they at odds? If your goal is to affect change a soft, soothing voice may be the wrong vehicle. Only you can decide that, but make sure the seeds you plant will produce the flowers you want to display.
You’ve planted the seed and now you need to water, weed, and watch it grow. How do you, as the gardener, encourage your virtual garden as you Grow Social? One way is in what you post. This is truly your main and most vocal means of communicating with your fans. Not even your replies to comments have a broader appeal to as many people as your original posts do. Even the best writer can lose fans if they forget to water that garden or don’t pull those weeds.
But what are the topics of your posts? That depends on your business and your goals. Just like gardening, you choose the seeds depending on what plants you want to grow. While the essential process is the same, there is a world of difference between a flower garden, a vegetable garden, and an herb garden. Social media is the same. You want to address different topics, of course, but keep the mission statement and company goals firmly in mind. It’s about your business. That doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and engaging.
Pick three words, like those seeds in your garden, that describe the voice you want to represent in your writing and jot them down. The next time you write, before the first self-edit, compare what you have written to the three descriptive words. See if they match up or if changes need to be made. These words can change as you change and the goals change but have them ready for comparison as you go into first edit.
The hard work of writing is only half of the job. Getting dirt under your nails as you reply to comments and reach out to queries might be more difficult to continue in your voice, but you can do it. Remember your mission statement, your goals, and the flowers you want to pick after months of hard work and growth.
As your flowers sprout, and your voice improves and grows, encourage your personality to shine through. A few comments about family, current events, or ideas will not only bring people into your circle, it will make you and your posts more unique by expressing a bit of your personality.
You can give 100 people a plot of land, seeds, and tools and no two gardens will lookalike. The same can be said for our voices. We all have one and they’re all different. It’s wonderful! Go with it! Follow your strengths! You don’t have just one, so if the first one doesn’t work then go with another one. You can be brainy, funny, and crazy all in the same post if that’s you and it fits the topic - go for it!
Another important way of developing your voice is to listen carefully to feedback from co-workers and readers. Let the gardener next door read it and see what they think. I have found most people have opinions on all sorts of things. Unless they bring some constructive criticism believe in yourself. With a few steps to help you with the process, writing can be as easy as planting a garden.
So now the flowers are blooming, the weeds are in check, and the bees are buzzing. Pick some flowers. Make a bouquet. Fill a vase. Sit back and enjoy the afterglow of all your hard work as you Grow Social.