Almost every week, I’m asked questions on the merit of social media. People are curious about why one would need to use facebook or twitter. My usual response is that social media works, but it only works if you make it work for you.
Of course it takes time and effort and you will need to moderate your social media accounts. Could you hire someone to do that for you? Sure, but you could also hire someone to look after your kids and raise them. Is that what you want?
In order to clearly explain what I mean by “making it work for you” I thought I would share what my process is and how I make it work for me.
Fortunately, I started early. I’ve been blogging since 2004, so blogging is part of my social media strategy. This strategy is no more than a word though. I don’t have a blogging schedule and I’m not very discipline. I write blog posts when I have something to say but I always write on topic.
If you choose to start a blog, think about what you want to blog about. Check out other blogs and see what they are doing. Would you be simply repeating what others are already saying? Do you feel like you have something important to add? Will you be gaining clients or positioning yourself as a market leader if you do?
More importantly think about your love or writing. If you dislike writing, blogging may not be for you.
I think I joined LinkedIn as early as 2002. LinkedIn was quiet for a long time but recently gained a lot of traction and criticism. I was happy enough with LinkedIn, I never paid attention to it and connected with people I knew when requested, but about 8 months ago, I started receiving many more requests from total strangers. For some reason LinkedIn became more about how many connections one has than who your connections are. I examined my LinkedIn profile and decided that it really wasn’t serving, so simply killed it. Since then, no more requests to connect with strangers.
Since then created I’ve created an about.me profile and posted my resume on Zerply. Why? They were both free and fun to put together. If either one of them follows in LinkedIn’s footsteps and becomes a nuisance, I’ll just delete them.
I joined Facebook 3 years ago (I think). You can look for me if you want but I won’t friend you, sorry. I only use facebook for family and yoga. I use it as a tool to keep informed of upcoming yoga events and look at my sister’s picture. That’s it. I don’t have a fan page and I’ve never ‘Liked’ a page. I personally am not a fan of facebook, because I find it too cluttered and messy. Some folks love it and it works for them, great, but it’s just not for me.
I was a bit late to join twitter and took a while to get it, but twitter is by far my favourite social media tool. I like it because it works for me.
Again, like facebook, I’m very particular about who I follow. 99% of the people I follow are either WordPress developers or work in the web industry. I keep the number of people I follow to about 200 and unfollow anyone who posts too many drunken tweets, sexist ones or only talks about hockey.
Because most of the people I follow are WordPress devs, I tweet a lot about WordPress and use it when I have questions. Just yesterday, I had issues with github. I tweeted my dismay and sure enough, a few minutes later, I had answers to my problem. How brilliant is that?
Sure I could have done the same on facebook, Google + or LinkedIn, but twitter is the medium I prefer.
I don’t think that there’s a definite guide on how to use social media. We all have different needs, different likes and dislikes. If you are curious about social media, I would encourage you to just sign up and open account. Any of them will do. Just try it out. Accounts can always be closed if they are not for you.
There are many dos and don’t when it comes to social media. I won’t go into all of the details here as I am no social media expert. If you’re interested in reading more about Social Media and learning a few tips and tricks, I would recommend that you subscribe to Boxcar Marketing’s Newsletter: Underwire. It’s very well written always packed full of interesting tidbits.