There are a lot of social media platforms out there these days. So many, in fact, that you can find whole long lists of them, for example the one on Wikipedia… and it’s a long one. There’s no way you can be a part of them all, so you have to pick and choose which ones are worth your time and forget the others.
If you run a business and want to mingle with potential clients, find out where your potential clients hang out.
If you are into a certain subject, look out for forums and platforms with your interest in mind.
If you fancy talking to the whole world, join Twitter.
No matter which platform you choose, the worst thing you can do (and the most pointless) is to just lurk in the background and do nothing. Seriously what is the point? I’m not going to tell you what to write, what websites there are for automatic uploading of your “messages”, or how often to engage. I’m just going to say…
Put the Social back into Social Media and get yourself out there.
- Just retweet, regram, or re-whatever the Facebook equivalent is.
That’s boring and may get you reported as a spam account.
- Just post messages about your business and nothing else.
“I’m the best editor in the world, hire me now for your project”
“Want a researcher? contact me for quotes!”
“Family history research at historical prices [insert URL here]”
“blah, blah, look at me but don’t expect a conversation, blah”
That’s boring too and may get you reported as a spam account.
- Just pop up when you are promoting something.
People will soon realise it and will mentally switch off or mute you… yes, you can be muted without you knowing it!
- Bombard people with lots of posts in quick succession.
There are accounts out there who throw out lots of posts, one after another, with no interaction… just promotion, promotion, promotion. *yawn*
- Just follow and talk to people who you think could lead to work.
That’s just wrong on so many levels.
- Follow people you are interested in, both in work and out.
You are going to be spending time on these platforms, make it as enjoyable as possible.
- Talk to people when it’s appropriate, but don’t just butt in on conversations (well not until you have established a rapport).
Social media is a bit like a cocktail party, not an office pitch. Be courteous and polite, and talk if you have something valid to say. Build relationships.
- Avoid the hard sell.
No-one likes the hard sell – even if you are good at what you do, are needed or are just trying your hand. Yes, let people know what you do (it should be in your bio anyway, and your logo should be there if you use one), but leave the ball in their court, they may just like something you’ve said.
- Post about things other than work.
Show everyone you are human (I’m presuming all my readers are human and not aliens or android beings – if you are I apologise), get out there, socialise. It’s what it’s all about really.
- Be approachable.
If, through social media, someone wants to talk to you, whether it’s for work or not, be friendly and approachable. Make friends, but stay aware that not everyone is who they say they are.
Don’t get into slanging matches, don’t drunk post and don’t bad-mouth the opposition. Remember, whether you believe it or not, you are the face of your business even when you are out of work mode. Many a career has been compromised by social media. And believe me, I’ve seen a lot of these; from industry “professionals” attacking others in their profession, to late night pictures that should never have been posted. It never ends well. Only post what you want people to see – let others see you as you would like to be seen.