Give Social Media a Try, You’ll be Glad you Did!
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, SnapChat – the list goes on and on…. Social Media is mainstream, and everyone is jumping on board. Many of us don’t really know what it will do, but we are willing to give it a try. They say it will help us connect with friends and family, give us advice about our hobbies, provide insight and guidance with the aging process, and even keep us up to date on current events.
Social Media, as defined by the Oxford dictionary, is a group of online applications that enable users to create and share content. It provides us the opportunity to engage with others that share our interests by eliminating physical, geographic and demographic barriers. We can discover new hobbies, recipes, DIY projects, and get ideas on where to take our next vacation or how to redo our kitchen. There is a ton of information on health and aging issues, information about drugs, discussion about vitamins, food supplements, insurance, as well as advice about local business and services, the list is endless. We can search for as much as we want, and it’s all free! How good is that!
Using Social Media effectively is knowing how to find information and engage with others to build on-line relationships. I like to compare it to a library. Think about walking into your local library. If you walk in and stand there, nothing happens. Maybe someone will ask if you need anything, or you’ll be directed to a popular section. But that doesn’t help you find something specific. This can be stressful as there are so many sections in a library. If you go to a bookshelf, chances are it doesn’t contain any books of interest. When we were kids we were taught how the library is organized, where to look up books, and the procedure to find a specific book’s location.
Just like using the library, we have to learn how to use Social Media. Once we know the basics, we can understand how it fits into our lives, and benefit from our efforts.
7 tips for successfully using Social Media are:
- Introduce yourself by preparing a brief profile. This is the first thing you should do when you get access to a Social Media site. While it can be edited anytime, it is important to prepare your profile right away, as it tells people about you, helping them decide to follow or friend you. Be brief, using a few sentences to identify yourself, where you live, your hobbies, your concerns, and even your challenges. Building your audience is ongoing and a good profile goes a long way in helping others connect with you. Make sure to include a photo so people can better relate to you, or you can use a picture appropriate to your profile. I use pictures of my home in Thailand, and my favorite cat. Being the ‘Happy Cat’ living in Thailand, this is appropriate. See my Twitter home page and profile here.
- Like/Follow/Friend others you find interesting as you scroll through posts from friends/followers, and from the posts provided based your site activity and profile. You should also search for keywords from your interests, hobbies, the current news/entertainment, upcoming events, health issues and so on. When you find a site you like, like/follow/friend it and you’ll start receiving their posts. Chances are they will also like/follow/friend you and see your posts in their feed. By building your contacts, you’ll be improving the content on your page.
- Share/Retweet/Comment on post content you like. This helps build and strengthen your relationships. Retweet posts you really like, and they will appear to all your followers. This encourages others to share your post to their followers, which could result in more followers for you. Click the links on posts your find interesting. Consider commenting or messaging to discuss content. Others will notice your shares/retweets/comments, as you will notice theirs on your posts. All of this engagement increases our volume of relationships and makes them more meaningful.
- Ensure every post has a purpose. The purpose could be your opinion, an observation, or something funny to brighten up someone’s day. Think about how you want your reader to react. Do you want them to agree, to laugh, to share? Do you want them provide their opinion, maybe even to contact you? Providing something, even something small, lets people get to know you, and helps grow your followers/friends.
- Include a photo/videowith your posts. People love visuals, it draws them to the post and keeps them coming back. Text-only posts are rather boring and often people scroll past them, stopping to read posts with a visual. Photo’s don’t have to exactly depict the post content, but they should be related. As you scroll through your post feed you’ll understand the importance of a picture. You may find you are also scrolling past the text posts, looking for something to catch your eye.
- Kept your posts authentic and consistent with your profile and/or previous posts. If you deviate from what you’ve previously said, you could turn off your followers. They also don’t like when you exaggerate or embellish. Stick to the truth. Being real and honest always wins on Social Media.
- Use good format, including proper spelling, grammar and punctuation. Posts should be easy on the eye, allowing it to move around without any errors to slow it down. The use of a title, short paragraphs, and maybe a link, as opposed to posting words all jumbled together, results in a post that is enjoyable to read and easy to like.
Social Media sites all have similar functionality. Once you are comfortable with one, others are easy to figure out. You’ll know what to look for, and be up and running rather quickly.
Social Media is a two-way street: keep your followers happy with interesting and engaging discussion, and they will reciprocate, keeping you happy and engaged.
I’ll see you online!
This article was published in Sixty and Me. Click here, to access this article.