Anyone can create a social media account, but it takes effort and care to actually be good at social networking. Read today’s post for six easy tips on how to dominate communication and networking on your social channels.
Having a profile on Facebook or Twitter is as commonplace as having a driver’s license these days. If you’re reading this right now, you’ve probably at least dabbled in social media at some point in your online career. Even if you have a presence on these networks, though, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a good presence. The whole point of social networking is… well, to network, of course. Despite this, so many businesses, brands and individuals aren’t making an effort to effectively communicate with other users.
Make sure you’re not falling into the trap of having a ho-hum social presence with these six simple tips to maximize your networking and communication capabilities. The more you reach out to other users and start conversations (and eventually relationships!), the more easy and fun it will become. Today’s the day your social networking prowess goes from “blah” to “bravo!”.
1. Don’t be afraid to reach out to users you admire
It can seem scary to approach a bigwig on social media. Whether you’re thinking of tweeting to an industry influencer or leaving a comment on your favorite brand’s Facebook page, making that initial leap can almost be as intimidating as asking a celebrity for an autograph at the mall. There’s one big difference though – when fans bombard a celeb in public, they’re invading their personal time. When well-known brands or individuals make a social media profile, they’re doing it to communicate with their followers. If you have a question or insightful comment you want to share with an influencer, go for it! If someone is incredibly popular, there’s no guarantee they’ll answer you, but you would be surprised by how many huge names regularly respond to their fans.
This doesn’t just go for famous brands or people – maybe there’s a cool business owner whose online store you admire but you’ve never met in person. Social media is the perfect place to introduce yourself. Everyone appreciates a sincere compliment or positive input about their business. Don’t just creep on their page and expect to hear from them; you’re never going to build a relationship if you don’t take the first step and say hello. Like I said, people are on social networks because they want to be social. So what are you waiting for?
2. Give credit where credit is due
Everyone loves to have their content shared on social media, but make sure you’re giving a nod to the user you got it from. Whether it’s a funny link, an interesting factoid or a cool graphic, give credit to the original poster by including their Twitter handle or tagging them on Facebook. Put a spin on what you’re sharing by adding your own opinion or asking a question. After all, nobody likes to feel like their great content or original idea is being stolen by another user. And who knows, you might just get a response or follow from them when they notice you praising and sharing their posts.
3. It’s nice to be nice… even when you don’t feel like it
Trolls are one of the biggest pitfalls of the social media world. While there are millions of engaged, interesting users who want to positively contribute to the landscape of the internet, there’s a pretty vocal handful of people who just like to cause trouble. You know who I’m talking about – users who leave off-color insults in Youtube comments, tweet dramatic complaints about your business or write passive-aggressive Facebook posts.
When you get defensive and stoop to their level in your responses, you don’t look very good, either. If you’re having trouble keeping your cool when dealing with these negative presences, study up on avoiding social media blunders – this is especially crucial if you’re representing your business on social. Address users’ questions and complaints as thoroughly and politely as possible, even when they’re being a pain. Sometimes you just have to kill ‘em with kindness. And if that doesn’t work, you can always report them to Facebook or Twitter.
4. Adapt to change and be willing to grow
If you want to stay on top of your social networking game, you need to be on top of social media in general. Here’s a secret: when Twitter first debuted in 2006, many people weren’t very impressed. They didn’t see the point of joining a site that only let you post 140 characters. However, as anyone who uses Twitter has since found out, it’s blossomed into an awesome way to meet people and share content. Once given the chance, Twitter has quickly become one of the world’s favorite social media platforms – a veritable treasure trove of fruitful online connections.
Likewise, never stop learning and growing, even if you’re naturally resistant to it. Social media does not start and end with having Facebook and Twitter profiles. Take full advantage of hashtags, Facebook tags, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, photo sharing on Flickr, shared Pinboards and everything else! (Though, this doesn’t mean you have to do all of these things all the time. Educate yourself and pick out the ones that will be the most useful for your individual needs.)
5. Remember the little people
So you’ve acted on these tips – following and reaching out to industry influencers, networking with other business owners you admire, tagging and RTing users with good posts, branching out to different social networks and groups, and now you have more followers and you’re actively cultivating relationships with new and exciting people! That’s wonderful! Don’t turn into a social media snob, though.
Just because someone doesn’t have hundreds of fans and followers doesn’t mean they’re not worth your time. If a social media newbie reaches out to you, take the time to answer and encourage them. Once they’ve found their footing and built a follower base, they might just turn into a valuable connection. If not, no harm done – you just spent a few minutes chatting with someone who was interested in you and your brand.
You may very well find that some of your favorite users to follow aren’t the ones with the hugest fanbases – they’re the ones with unique insights, hilarious senses of humor or poignant responses to current events. It’s okay to follow users who aren’t necessarily influencers or experts. Everyone has the potential to contribute something worthwhile.
6. Don’t overthink this stuff
Now, this might sound like the antithesis of everything you just read. Don’t misunderstand, you want to be thinking about your social networking skills and how you can improve them, just don’t be overthinking. If you obsess over each tweet and status update, erasing all personality and quirks before you send it out, you’re going to start to sound like a robot (plus checking and responding to your social media is going to take forever).
Let your individuality shine through. Having the confidence to be yourself and represent your brand honestly is really what will draw followers to you at the end of the day. Tell the truth, ask questions, make mistakes every once in awhile. After all, behind the avatars and usernames, we’re just humans.