There are millions of social media how-to’s around the Internet. In fact, I’ve contributed to the clutter surrounding social media.
I love social media. It’s one of my passions, if that’s something you can be passionate about. Maybe just digital media in general. Regardless: I love social media. I’m interested in learning more about it. I’m interested in expanding my social media skills. I’m no expert, but it’s something I enjoy and that I want to share with others.
Social media is all about building a community, and some social media users don’t seem to understand that. How can you foster a community and create a presence that you enjoy keeping up with?
1. Don’t complain
A pet peeve of mine begins my list of social media don’ts. You might have had the worst day of your life. You might have lost your job. You might have gotten in a fight with your best friend. You might have eaten a burnt steak. I understand–sometimes things go wrong. There are better places to turn to than social media when you need to complain: text a friend, call the restaurant manager, talk to a therapist.
Alternatively, if you DO decide to complain on social media, make sure you’re using your complaint as a call to action. If Papa John’s messed up your order, try tagging them in your post in order to catch their attention–otherwise you’re essentially talking to a wall. Social media has become a customer service haven, so make sure you’re doing all that you can when you’re seeking problem resolution.
2. Don’t go private
When I see a private Twitter or Instagram account, my first thought is always that someone has something to hide. There’s nothing wrong with wanting an extra layer of protection from the big, bad Internet, but if you’re going to join a social network, go for it 100 percent. You’ll have a harder time growing a community if people can’t access you. As fun as sharing a photo with the same 100 (or 1000, or however many) people you know on a private account is, it’s a lot more fun to share with a huge network, with people who want to interact, learn more and add to the conversation.
Side note: this is where using hashtags comes in. I don’t encourage using 15 different hashtags (that spells desperate), but adding one or two hashtags allows you to easily insert your post into conversations on the hashtagged topic, thus growing your community.
3. Don’t overdo it
Quality over quantity, always. Retweeting 30 “Common White Girl” tweets into your followers’ timelines isn’t helping anyone, is it? Instead of going on RT sprees, send a link to a friend or give the tweet a favorite. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying an account or message, but there’s no need to flood others with it. I’m not saying that you should curb your enthusiasm for something, but I am saying that you should be courteous to your followers. In other words, I’m telling you to… curb your enthusiasm.
“Don’t overdo it” also applies to your networking efforts. You don’t need to tag every professional you know in a post just because you know they shared an article on the same topic two years ago. Don’t bombard people with messages on social media. Not everyone checks social media as often as the Millennial generation does, so give your potential network a couple day’s breathing room.
4. Don’t be fake.
Whether you like it or not, people in “real life” are going to follow you on social media (unless you’re using an alias, which is a whole new issue). These “real life” people are the ones who interact with you every day, whether it’s at work, at school, in a club or organization, the list goes on and on. These people know your disposition. Professionalism on social media is great (and is too often overlooked, especially by students), but again, don’t overdo it. If you have a more boisterous personality, let that show through in a professional way. If you’re the queen of comedy, showcase your good judgment skills by adding tasteful humor into your posts.
Social media is an ever-changing world. Rules are meant to be broken. These guidelines are a few of the things I keep in mind when posting online, but aren’t all-encompassing. I try to maintain a positive, humorous but professional brand on Twitter.
What do you avoid when posting on social media? How do you classify social media personality?