Mario Armstrong, Digital Lifestyle Expert, is Emmy Award winning, tech commentator for the TODAY show and CNN, and the host of a tech talk radio show on SiriusXM. An entrepreneur by nature, Mario made his passion his career by quitting his day job and founding Mario Armstrong Media. Follow Mario at @MarioArmstrong. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.
Let me start with a disclaimer of sorts: I love Twitter. I’ve sent out thousands of tweets over the past few years, made hundreds of connections and connected other people, been able to promote not only my brand, website, and television content but been able to help other’s get their own messages out. It’s the quickest and fastest way for me to reach out to my network, share and make things happen.
That said, when my following on mobile video site Socialcam grew past half a million people a few weeks ago, I had to do some serious re-evaluation about my social media presence and what it means that more people want to watch my videos than read my tweets. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
Twitter is great for getting out short messages and links to content, and everyone gets that. While top celebrities can claim millions of followers, for the most part the rest of us have to be content with thousands, and that’s okay! Even a few hundred or a thousand followers is a huge number and enough to leverage and makes for an amazing success on Twitter. With retweets and replies, your messages often are able to travel much further than your personal reach.
Meanwhile, Socialcam is a mobile video app that lets individuals take videos of themselves and share them to other people on iPhones and Android devices. For me, I felt like I was just playing around with the format for months, trying out different types of videos—behind the scenes at CNN, and launching a Socialcam-exclusive talk show. But a recent video I made, where I showed off 8 tech gift ideas for Mother’s day really taught me something important. With over 800 likes and a week on the popular page, it was the most successful video I’ve done by myself on Socialcam—and I made it with nothing more than a tripod, my iPhone, and some tech gadgets and accessories I had around the house! There was no camera crew, no 5-point lighting, no sound guy, just me and a camera.
But what made the Mother’s day video work, I think, was that I was able to utilize my expertise as a Digital Lifestyle Expert on the TODAY show and bring a low-budget version of what I’d usually do with Matt Lauer to the small screen. Video is my thing, I’ve invested tons of time to ensure that when I’m on camera I can get everything right, have an engaging on-screen presence and most of all think of the audience and how this will impact the viewer.
While I love Twitter, I’ll never get 800 retweets on a post the way I can get 800 likes on a video. But I’m not a Kanye writing crazy messages out to the Twitterverse, or even a Bret Easton Ellis penning perfect 140 character tweets. What I’m trying to say is that I’m not a rapper or a novelist—words just aren’t my specialty. So I can’t be surprised that while I have a strong and powerful Twitter network, it will never be my #1 presence in social media.
Out of all of this reflection on social media, the best tip I can provide is that when evaluating what social media platform is best for YOU, go with your strengths and don’t worry if you’re not finding success on other social media platforms. If you’re a photographer, be huge on Instagram but don’t sweat Twitter. If you’re a video producer, look to YouTube and Socialcam but don’t freak out if you can’t find a niche on Facebook. If you’re a writer, look into Twitter, Tumblr, and WordPress but don’t worry if nobody but your mom is watching your videos.