Social Media–A Beginners’ Guide
Build Your Contacts to Important People with Social Media
Even if you already are on social media, this guide will help you evaluate how to participate for maximum success. If you are just beginning, let us give you tips and guide you to have a successful social media experience.
If you have a business and want to use social media to market, we offer tips that are more advanced to enhance your marketing efforts. By signing up for Business Guide to Social Media with your email, we will send your advanced guide. Sign up on Home page.
But, first we focus on getting to know social media and feeling comfortable with participating. If you have a website, you have worked to make it attractive, so others will follow you.
Like your website, make each of your social channels a visual feast for your viewers. For instance, when you share an article across various social media channels, change up the photo, making each channel different.
Social Media’s Wide Reach
According to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, the amount of information people are willing to share online doubles every year. As you become more familiar with social media, you will be willing to share more about you, your business and personal life.
When you first begin to engage in social media, it may seem intimidating. Letting others know personal information is difficult, and it may take time before you are comfortable. But, hang on to the idea; there are many rewards and wonderful people to get to know. The number of new people signing up for social media each year, plus the doubling of information users are willing to share makes the growth of social media exponential. Don’t be left out.
Branch Out for the Ultimate Social Experiences
People are not meant to be isolated. We are much happier when we have regular social contacts. Now, social media adds a new dimension to social.
That doesn’t mean we should spend all our time online; indeed, social media is not a replacement for human contacts and will never have the rewards of actual one-on-one relationships. But, the internet offers a depth of connections, and being isolated from what is happening in our culture is a loss for you.
It is easy to get intimated by social media, but easing yourself into the social media culture is a good way to begin. Then if you begin to feel comfortable, expand your knowledge of the different social medial sites to find what suits you best. You may end up with only 1-3 that fit your comfort level and are worth the time you will spend.
Here’s a sampling of interesting sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, Reddit, Flickr, FriendFeed, Scribd, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Mixx, Picasa, Sphinn, Meetup, Vimeo, Foursquare, Gowalla, TwitPic, Tumblr. Some are mobile apps, so you would need a smartphone to participate. Pick at least 2-3 sites and join.
Scheduling your social media time into your schedule will protect you from letting your online time run away from you and get in the way of a “normal” life. Here you rely on setting your priorities and make time for online contact that does not interfere with other activities that you enjoy. It is not uncommon for someone new to social media to get swallowed up, so be sure you decide your priorities and stick to your goals.
Let’s Start With 2 Popular Sites
Step 1: Begin with Twitter. Go to Twitter.com and begin the signup process. You can use any name you want, but I prefer to use my own name or my website name when I sign up. If your personality leans toward more the flamboyant, you may choose a name to fit. I just like my real name, real location, and real photo. People connect with people on Twitter and it works best if your emphasis is on a person to person format where your real self shows through to give your tweets character and personality. Add to your profile and you are ready to go.
Once your account is set up, you are ready to interact with people on a one-to-one basis. When you first open your account, click on the Gear image at top right. Chose settings and customize your page if you want, or just keep it very simple, until you get more comfortable.
Step 2: How to get followers? Think about why you are here, what do you want to get out of a social media connection. Perhaps, you want to stay in contact with people you work with, or know socially. Twitter is a good place to learn about new trends, technology, events and what is new online.
If you have a business, you likely want to find contacts who will help you build your business. Search people by name or by interests. Click on links on websites that invite you to follow.
Here’s how to get in contact with others who have similar interests. Join Twellow.com, type in a keyword that describes your interests. Follow people you know or would like to network with. The key is to play around, experiment to find others you would like to contact.
Step 3: Begin to tweet, remembering what your goals are for being on Twitter, and tweet what you would like to say. People like to know “how to…” It tells your readers that you are going to solve a problem. Readers are drawn to lists because a list will likely represent a shortcut. “Secrets” also tell the reader that they are promised they will get something …a secret to weight loss for example.
The idea of social media is to build trust and relationships. The content of your tweets needs to be believable and personal, like you would if you are talking to them in person. Conversational writing is an art and comes with practice.
Also, reply to others’ tweets. It makes them notice you and want to follow you. If others follow you, it gets your tweets out to all their followers. Send direct messages to people whom you follow and who are following you as a way of talking more personally with them. If you see something you think your followers would appreciate, retweet it which is just like forwarding an email.
Tweeting insightful quotes seem to capture others and get their attention. Mix it up by combining the quote with an eye-catching photo. Sharing articles about your knowledge, your successes and lessons along the way are also popular. You don’t need to photograph and share everything you eat or drink. In fact, that approach will likely turn some contacts off. Read your comments and interact with your fans. If your audience appreciates what you contribute, it’s a great opportunity to give them unique, useful and productive messages. Tweet like you would want others to respond to you. In the beginning, your writing should engage others, but when you have built trust with your audience, you will be able to link sales pages for products, services and events.
On to Facebook
Step 1: Go to facebook.com and begin the sign up process.
Step 2: Decide what your goal is for being on Facebook. You must also decide if you are going to operate the account under your own name, a company name or a website name.
2a: If you want to use Facebook purely for making personal connections, playing games, etc., you will have access to all the features and applications you want by signing up on the first page that comes up. You will be led to create your personal profile page, also known as your Personal Timeline where you will connect with friends. You can share photos and participate in groups.
2b: If you have plans to use Facebook as a means of marketing your business, then you best start by creating a “page” rather than a personal profile. You can create your business page by going directly to the bottom of the sign up page, and click on “create a page for a celebrity, band or business.” to begin your sign up.
Step 3. Getting Followers. The “Like” button is very important. Ask friends to like your page. The people who “ like” your page will keep seeing your updates on their own Facebook page and will be reminded to visit your page again. Both Facebook and LinkedIn give you the option to invite friends from your email address books.
Particularly with Linkedn, you may want to be more selective in who you invite because LinkedIn has a definite business orientation and not all persons on your email lists may be suitable.
Promote your new Facebook page on Twitter or any other social media you are on. Make a list of friends or people you would like to be friends with and invite them individually. If you have a website, add an invitation there.
Join groups on Facebook that relate to your interests and actively participate in the groups. The social nature of this media is the key issue. Write comments that encourage others to interact, or ask a question which attracts people your contacts know. The idea is to create an atmosphere that engages others.
Facebook offers a wide variety of ways to interact, like keeping your followers in touch with you and what is happening in your life. As a business owner, Facebook gives you the opportunity to promote products and services. It is a good idea to first add content to your page, if you are using Facebook to market your business.
A status update is the most basic content. You can also add photos, videos, share links, ask a question, or share quotes. Then you can ask others to like your page and you can begin interacting with friends.
The Image Sites: Videos and Photos Abound
YouTube is compelling. Simply create videos using your computer webcam or your smart phone.
Pinterest is a powerful social media network that has about 70 million users. Photos are shared by pinning them to users’ pinterest boards. They always link back to where they originated. Photos can come from the users’ own collections or from the web.
Flickr is the number one site for photos and videos with several billion images on the site. Signup, load pictures of your choice and begin to interact with others Flickr participants.
Use with Smartphones to Expand Your Reach
A large part of our culture surrounds the use of smartphones, like the iPhones and Google Androids. We all know that surviving without our phones may be impossible now. But even a step further is the tremendous applications available on smartphones. The internet is just a click away for smartphone users with all the research possibilities and direct connection to the web.
FourSquare, Gowalla, Brightkite and Loopt are services that let you connect with others on your mobile device to let them know where you are, find places to go and sometimes earn points or discounts from some retailers.
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Thank you Pat for the letter you did for me to send out. Last month, I got two new clients with it. Sincerely, Tonya Harvey
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