You don’t have to be a hardcore Social Media expert to know how to use all the networking sites to your advantage. It’s tempting for new users to back away from the overwhelming confusion of the many social media sites and remain skeptical. However, with just a few simple guidelines, you can ease your way into the Social Media race comfortably at your own pace. Before you know it, you will have developed tips and tricks of your own and find yourself mentoring others on the advantages of professional networking.
1) Don’t dive in head first
After creating your Social Media Profiles, relax and observe. There are no rules saying that you have to engage fans and followers with a ruthless offensive. If you starting tweeting and posting updates right away, you may end up making mistakes that could affect you negatively in the long run.
2) Listen before you speak
Listen to what people are talking about, especially if it’s about you. Also pay attention to what’s being said about your competitors as well as by your competitors. This is a way to discover how people react to certain types of information and the approach taken. You can avoid mistakes and embarrassments by following the examples of others.
3) Find out what people want
Do a search based on the products or services that you offer and find out what comments are already out there, even if they are not about you. What do your competitors offer? What attracts people to become part of a fan base? Comments can also give you clues to what people don’t want – egocentric self-promotion, for example, is a big pet peeve and a turn off.
4) Rewards work
You use it on your teenagers, don’t you? Give followers a reason to follow. Don’t just tell people to follow you or “like” you; give them a reason. You have already found out what people want, so give it to them. Provide information, answers, special deals, or even fun and games, and you will find yourself making real connections.
5) Let someone else do the talking
Everyone has opinions and most people love the opportunity to give them. Take advantage of that chance to engage with your network. Ask a question, take a poll, or request feedback. This type of engagement can bring a lot of attention in your direction without appearing as though you’re trying to get attention.
6) Show … then tell
Share pictures and videos. Not only does multi-media liven up your post and updates, this form of entertainment is also more likely to be shared and re-shared, increasing the number of fans and followers who will be introduced to you, even if it is in a round-about way. Visual media is also an easy way to convey an immediate impression that draws in your audience. After all, “A picture is worth a thousand words” – it has been true for a thousand years and it’s still true today.
7) Cultivate your audience
That means spending some time on your social media accounts. Remember: you get out of it what you put into it. The more time you spend on your social media profiles, the more attention you will attract. That doesn’t mean that you have to spend endless hours to get a little attention. A slow start is best to learn a few tricks such as the best time of day to post an update, how to condense a paragraph to a quick attractive sentence, and who to follow and who to remove from your network.
8) Networking isn’t just for friends
The whole point of social media and professional networking is to expand your audience, meet new people. New network connections can also become new resources. There is whole world out there, don’t limit yourself to Parker’s Corners. Networking can also give you an edge when trying to stay ahead of the competition. But how can you know if you are ahead of the competition? By adding them to your network. As Don Corleone once advised, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” That might sound a little strong-armed, but it is a tactic that not only gives you the opportunity to adopt the successful strategies of the competition, you can also avoid their mistakes by keeping an eye on what they’re doing.
No matter how involved you choose to become in the social media race, starting as a quiet observer can be the best way to learn the ropes and avoid the pitfalls before bringing too much attention to yourself too quickly. For more information and some easy guides to navigating the waters of the networking world, visit the blog at CarolyneRegan.com.