If you’re trying to build a brand, rally a tribe, gather an audience, or take over the universe, executing a good social media strategy is critical. I’m no Jedi master, but learning to use social media like a Jedi, I am. So I want to show you how to use social media like a Jedi too.

The advice you’ll receive from supposed social media masters is predictable.

To Use Social Media Like a Jedi:

  • Get on Facebook, you must.
  • Use Twitter like a rented Bantha.
  • Experiment with Pinterest.
  • Start a website that’s really a self-hosted WordPress blog and work at churning out focused, Jedi-worthy content.
  • Strive to become an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) master.

Not bad advice, young Padawan. I do all that stuff. But any fool can swing a lightsaber, send a tweet, post an update, pen a blog post. It takes a Jedi to wield the force. In social media, managing the relationship between all these elements is what makes or breaks your conquest of the empire. A social media Jedi creates synergy between the elements.

You may use each of these elements and more. That doesn’t mean you’re making social headway. So my question is, how are all those elements connected within your little universe? How do they fit together? How are they helping each other grow?

The Downside of Twitter, Pinterest, and Squirrels

Pixar’s brilliant animated movie, Up, features a dog named “Dug” with a painfully short attention span. No matter how focused he is on what he’s doing, Dug’s attention is hijacked whenever he thinks he—

Squirrel!

Bad news. People are a lot like Dug, and social media feeds our continuous distraction. In fact, you could argue that social media gives all the squirrels of the world (that’d be us) a chance to distract people for a second with what we have to offer.

Scanning my Twitter feed, I see nothing much of anything, until… SQUIRREL! I see a headline with a link that looks interesting. I click.

Scrolling down the page on Pinterest, I ignore almost everything I see, pausing here and there, until… SQUIRREL! I see a picture that catches my eye. I click on it.

The problem with attracting Dugs with squirrels is this: Dugs are distracted away from us by other squirrels just as easily as we got their attention in the first place. I find most hits I get from Twitter are one-offs. They don’t subscribe or hang around or read more than the link they clicked on. Same with Pinterest. They liked that picture, not my blog. They often don’t stick around.

The Downside of Google Reader (RSS) and Email Subscriptions.

I’m starting to question some popular advice in light of the social media force. It’s just a theory, but it seems sound to me.

Get people to subscribe to your blog, the commonly shared advice says (mostly because then you have someone’s email address). Okay, awesome. People subscribe via RSS (maybe Google Reader), or via email. Dozens of them. Hundreds. Thousands… of people who never have to set foot in your blog because the info comes to them.

And this is a good thing?

Yes, subscribing makes life easier for our readers. But it also means they aren’t hanging around with us. Or other tribe members. Ever. It also means they’re far less likely to pin, like, or share the content because they’re reading our stuff without a social mindset.

The context in which we experience something has a huge impact on how we respond to it. There are glorious exceptions, but these ‘non-social’ contacts are also far less likely to comment, which means they won’t have a chance to interact with other readers. This is bad. Remember, the social media force is unleashed by interaction, relationship, and cooperation.

I currently use blog subscription options too, but as you can see, there is a dark side. I’m playing with the idea of using newsletter subscriptions but dropping blog subscriptions.

The Downside of Google Search Traffic

The vast majority of traffic you’ll get from Google is also one-off traffic. Most people aren’t searching for you or your blog. Most are looking for the answer to a question. Once you’ve answered it (or not), say goodbye—unless they’re so tantalized by what else you have to offer—SQUIRREL!—that they stick around. Most won’t. That’s not because your site is lousy, it’s because they’re not exploring recreationally. They’re seeking something specific and their quest ends with that something when they’ve found it. Again, the context of their search shapes their response to your content.

Don’t get me wrong, all these elements (Pinterest, Twitter, subscriptions, SEO) have their place. I use them all regularly. It’s just that none of them have (in and of themselves) the power to harness the power of the social media force.

Tomorrow I’m going to continue teaching you how to use social media like a Jedi. I’m going to show you why Facebook can harness the full power of the social media force, and show you how to start using it….

To conquer your little universe.

What say you, fellow Jedi? What are you learning about “using the force” of social media?