The evils of social media – or not!

I have a few friends who are staunch haters of Social Media in any form: Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, LinkedIn…the list goes on.  They believe society has lost touch and the human element is removed thanks to the evils of Social Media.

I disagree.

Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have brought me so many wonderful new connections – and not only online!  The reality is, that I live in a relatively remote location.  However geography doesn’t stop me from attending amazing online webinars and even travelling to Melbourne next year to meet with some of Australia’s finest at DPCON12.  There are adults all over the world like me, who for whatever reason make some of their social interactions online.  I also heard recently that our children don’t differentiate between on and offline, to them it is one and the same.  Perhaps this is a little closer to how I feel.  Meeting other mothers on parenting forums, chatting to chefs about great recipes or getting travel advice from others who have travelled is SO much easier thanks to social media.

I understand that there are times when Social Media can feel exclusive and excluding, but I don’t think that occurs as much when you’re using it as a business platform. The support and encouragement I’ve received from other people in the Twittersphere has been so heartening.  Like a big warm enveloping hug.

Considering my experiences across the various SM applications, here are my top 10 tips for newbies to  Social Media:

1. You have to be pro-active  Setting up a Facebook business page or twitter account is not enough.  You need to interact with your followers and likers in order to convert them from readers to active participants.  People like SM due to the two-way conversation.  Otherwise they’d just go to your website.

2. Know your audience  I recently read a Facebook status update with a ‘funny’ image talking about ‘retards’.  I found this incredibly offensive and in poor taste.  It encouraged me to unlike the page.  You need to consider who is reading and what they will respond to.  Teenage boys may find the word ‘retards’ acceptable, but the target audience of this page is mothers…not appropriate

3. Post with regularity   This can be incredibly difficult (especially at this time of year) but your readers love to hear what you’re up to.  Let them know that you’re still around even if you don’t have time to post your regular tidbits.

4. Mix it up   It’s great to be an ‘expert’ in your field and post informative posts about your particular area of interest, but make sure you also add some humour.  Add a joke, a funny story or image every now and again to keep it light.

5. Comment on comments   We’re all busy, there’s no doubt about that.  So when someone takes the time to interact with you, make sure you return the favour.  Reply to their comment or post with a quick response – it will make their day to know they’re not just posting on a wall; they’re interacting with a person.

6. Verse yourself on the basics of netiquette   So often I see status updates and tweets typed SOLELY IN CAPS.  Not only does this hurt my eyes, but it’s really poor netiquette. Typing all in caps is a way of ‘shouting’ on SM.  I understand you may think it makes you stand out, but it’s very poor form.

7. Plan it out   This is totally hypocritical, as I’ve not done this in 2011, but plan to do it in 2012.  You need to set a (rough) plan for your SM.  Think about topical issues and tidbits you can post, then set them up on a calendar for the next week or month.  Posting more than once a day on your page is really important, so if you set your plan then think of other things you want to post about, that’s ok.

8. Include images    It’s a well-known fact that SM activity coupled with an image receives a much greater response than a ‘text only’ update.  Check out places like Pinterest for inspiration but make sure you credit the source!

9. Share the love   You know how much you love to see comments and feedback from your readers?  They love it too.  Take the time to go and check out your favourite pages and give them back some comment-love.

10. Link up   One of my greatest sources of free marketing is when I link up with other working women.  If you read a great article written on another business page, post a link on yours.  If you love what someone has tweeted – retweet it.  You’ll be astounded at the amount of traffic this will drive back to your page.  Karma perhaps.

Most importantly enjoy!  Socail Media can bring your together with people from around the world, and if you treat it with respect, you’ll reap the rewards.

Image source

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Comments

  1. I love social media for all the same reasons as you Kim. Most of my friends and family don’t get it – but some of the people I have met online are some of the loveliest people I know!

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