Many feel obligated to have a strong social media presence. I need a Facebook page because everyone else has one. I need to post progress photos because everyone else is, or updates on my workout plans, or documenting my meal prep or feign attempts to be relatable to an “audience” I think is paying attention.

Last week I ran an experiment. I posted my Tuesday blog a day late and I did not post my Friday blog at all. In sum I received two e-mails and a few text messages wondering what was happening. I ran the same experiment about two years ago with similar results.

You must ask yourself and answer honestly. If you didn’t tweet, post or share tomorrow – would anyone miss you? Honestly. Would they notice?

If the answer is yes, then you’ve earned the most valuable thing you can online – you’ve earned their attention. Treat it with the highest level of respect you can offer.

However, if the honest answer is that most people just accept you as part of their mindless stream of content they see online, occasionally clicking LIKE but never getting engaged, then you didn’t stand out. You would be forgotten.

So the goal is not to mass a stream of mindless likes or followers but instead to engage an audience who, if you didn’t show up, would miss you. This is accomplished by finding out what your audience wants to see from you and deliver it to them.

James Patrick
instagram @jpatrickphoto