We're told we need to share our work online to grow an audience.
We have to post daily to be even considered by the algorithms.
But this requires time, an endless stream of content and rigor that we simply don't have.
Let me introduce you to gems.
Gems are pieces of your work in progress: texts, graphs, recordings, quotes, screenshots, video clips, illustrations, infographics, memes, lists, useful resources, you name it.
As you create, you'll naturally spot little details you like, learn new things and even delete parts from your work you don't like. Put all of that in a "Gems" folder. Make this "save to gems" a habit.
Then once a day, after you've finished your work, share a gem.
Do it every day at 6pm, set reminders on your phone until it is a habit.
But in order to work, gems must be... GEMS! A simple acronym for you to remember:
- Genuine: being true to yourself, not forcing it.
- Easy: easy to create, if it's too hard to prepare, you won't do it.
- Micro: small pieces of your larger work, provide a preview of it.
- Systematic: just shared every day, consistently posting it.
Where should you post your gems? Glad you asked. Naturally, if your audience hangs out just in one Facebook group, just post your gems there. But this might not be obvious at first, so you have to post on different platforms and see.
So which ones? This used to be easy, because social networks used to be associated to a unique format: Instagram for pictures, Youtube for videos, Medium for text. But this is simply not true anymore: you can post a picture on Youtube and a video on Instagram. The lines have blurred.
Here's roughly what people like to find on each social media:
- Twitter: memes, behind the scenes, milestones, business lesson
- Youtube: interviews, tutorials, stories, advices.
- LinkedIn: graphs/data, behind the scenes, milestones, business lesson
- Reddit: inspiration, celebration
- Facebook: personal realization and discovery
- Instagram: memes, quotes, tutorials in slideshows
- Indiehackers: case studies , behind the scenes, tutorials
Gems are rare, don't post them everywhere. This is a lesson I've learned from Rachel Miller. Similar to Gary Vaynerchuk's repurposing of micro-content, if you see a gem succeed on one platform, take a screenshot of that and repost it somewhere else: it will carry the social validation to prove that the gem is in fact valuable. But posting the same gem in the same shape on all platforms with feel like spam. Don't be spam.
How to frame your gem? By definition, gems are valuable. Or at least, that's how you want to frame them. They're not fast food content. Saying "I found this gem..." naturally leads to more attention than "here's a screenshot of..." Framing matters. And you can literally frame your gems to make them consistent with your brand and appear more valuable.
When is the right time to share a gem? It doesn't really matter. Pick a time and stick to it. Having a set time allows us to be more consistent. "Oh... it's 6pm, gotta post today's gem!". I like 6 pm because it is at the end of a day of work, I'm not in the flow anymore and I can be distracted by social media. Austin Kleon, in his book Show Your Work, presents the same idea:
"Once a day, after you've done your day's work, find one little piece of your process that you can share." - Austin Kleon
How to get gems easily? Preserve anything you cut out from your work - writing, drawing, filming - instead of deleting it, re-use as gems! Don't dispose them, this is not wasted work. This advices comes from Rob Fitzpatrick, author of Write Useful Books. Thanks Rob. Gems don't even have to be things that you create yourself, just things you've learned or appreciated. Put it all in you gems folder. Check copyrights and don't forget to credit.
I personally use Notion and it's handy Web Clipper to store all my gems and see what to share next.
To recap, the habit is two-fold: to grab screenshots and pieces of our work whenever we create something, learn something or delete something. And then consistently share one of these gems.