10 tips for getting comfortable with social media

By CPC Mastermind, Charmaine Johnson.

As a GenXer, I’ve had the privilege of watching the world go online.  I remember handwriting letters and mailing them until email changed the way we communicated.  I have fully embraced the digital explosion and love all the gadgets that make my life so much easier. Admittedly, I’m not well versed on all the new trends, especially social media.  But, I’m ready to make better use of my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts.

It’s not that I don’t know how to use the social mediums – it’s that I’m not comfortable doing it. Sharing what I’m doing or how I feel every moment is not easy for a private person like myself. How, then, will I be able to effectively market myself and my career services in this social media savvy world?  

My first step is to get comfortable with promoting myself on social media. Isn’t it ironic that my expertise is helping people strategize how to promote themselves for work yet I struggle with promoting myself?!  I digress…

As a CPC Mastermind, I did some research on the topic and I quickly found that I am not the only career service provider who feels intimidated sharing on social media. So, I would like to share my insight on the topic with you.

As a Career Professional, you likely have access to social media tools. You already have accounts on social networking sites, but you may be wondering how to become more active. People want to connect with you – the person behind the career service.  So how do you do this?

Tip 1 – Just do it!

Step out of your comfort zone.  As technology changes the way we interact with the world, we need to find new ways of engaging with our potential clients. People want to connect with a human and they are more likely to share, like or comment on posts that sound more genuine. People want to read helpful, entertaining and educational content.  You could consider blogging – start slowly and find a comfortable level of sharing who you are and what you do.  It’s about being sociable with people who may eventually be clients.

Tip 2 – Prioritize your networks

Don’t spread yourself thin by trying to interact on every medium. First consider the top three social mediums  – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  Each has a wide reach and posts quality content. Each medium has its own tone so figure out what will work best for you and your business. Facebook has a casual, informal tone. LinkedIn has a more business-like, formal tone. Twitter can be both informal and formal, and is great for rapid fire, brief content. Pinterest and Instagram are  great for sharing photos  and videos for highly visual industries such as real estate or fashion.  Build brand identity by using a consistent brand across all mediums. For instance, use the same profile picture, logo and colour scheme to build brand recognition. Match your content and tone to the appropriate medium. Try not to use automated message services across all mediums but take the extra step to change the voice of each message to match the intended medium or audience – it’s more personable.

Tip 3 – Focus on your core audience

You’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.  It can be daunting to think that thousands of people may see your content. Worrying about what they will think of you and your content can shake your self-confidence and make you reluctant to share. Try to focus on your supporters and build a meaningful relationship with them. The others will weed themselves out.

Tip 4 – Interact with your audience

Don’t just set up an account and leave it. Engage in topics your audience is interested in. You should actively respond to posts and questions from your audience.  If you see a question posed on a site and you have an answer, send a friendly reply.  Send thank you messages and give credit to the sources of your information. Try to keep your messages conversational. Don’t appear needy by begging for likes or shares – if you post quality content, it will be shared unprompted. Don’t worry about the number of followers you have, rather focus on the quality of the relationships.

Tip 5 – Share appropriately

You are what you share – consider your image and brand and determine if what you’re going to post lines up with that vision.  You don’t always have to post in real time.  Be cognizant of how often you post and decide what’s most appropriate to share and when.  If you post too often you may become a nuisance and get deleted. Too infrequent and you’ll be forgotten. You might want to start with one post per day on Facebook and LinkedIn and a few tweets per day on Twitter. Remember to use proper grammar, and try not to write only in CAPS unless you’re trying to emphasize a point. Use hashtags appropriately – not every word has to be a hashtag. Think before tagging others in photos or tagging them to your posts – some people value privacy so you may want to ask permission first.

Tip 6 – Share the good and the bad

People want to know what’s going on with you – this builds a relationship and shows them that you’re real. Your like-ability factor is essential – if they like you they’ll do business with you. What you share should be a reflection of who you are both professionally and personally.  Be authentic.

Tip 7 – Use varied content

Consider the 80/20 rule – 80% of what you share should be interesting or informative to your audience, 20% should be business content.  Try to find different ways to engage your reader – use pictures and videos. Don’t keep sharing the same content  (the exception is Twitter, where your content can get lost in the volume of tweets). If you need to repost, vary your words and use new images.

Tip 8 – Lighten up and have fun

Stay positive and don’t take yourself too seriously – it’s okay to post pics of you making silly faces or enjoying life – shows that you are real. Try new ideas and experiment with using different kinds of posts. Stay updated on current trends and try incorporating them in your social media strategy. You’ll eventually find the right mix for yourself.

Tip 9 – Expect some criticism 

Expect that you may get some criticism. It’s best not to run and hide from it. Rather, respond as positively as you can and try not to respond defensively. Try not to let any negativity shake your confidence. Don’t tolerate online bullies. You can always choose to block or delete offensive comments.

Tip 10 – Share without expectations

It’s takes time to get comfortable, build a reputation and grow your following so don’t give up if you don’t initially get the response you’re hoping for – your efforts and persistence will pay off!

Thanks to the following people for their useful posts:

Kim RedmondStephanie ShirleyTamika Brown, and Travis Balinas.

 

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