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5 Tips for New Social Media Users

23 Sep

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Social media has been described as a “jungle” by many people.  The reason for this is that social media has its own technology, social etiquette, and unwritten rules of usage.  Many businesses have in-house social media experts, or outsource their social media needs.  However, what can a novice entrepreneur or author do to navigate the Amazon jungle of Social Media?  Here are some basic tips on getting started in social media:

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1. Don’t overload the system
Don’t flood the system with posts.  Most people enjoy posts of cute kids and animals, inspiring or amusing quotes, or beautiful landscapes—in moderation.  However, users may start to get frustrated if you share too many of them.
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2. Respect Your Audience
Respect Your Audience’s Belief System
If you want to be inclusive, make sure that you don’t post material that might beoffensive to some people.  I know people that have de-friended others on Facebook, and been de-friended, because of posts that were incompatible with their values. For example, if you want to attract followers from a variety of religious backgrounds, you might want to reconsider posting moralizing photos and text.  Keep in mind that your passion might not coincide with other users’ passion. For instance, some of your followers may not be interested in viewing numerous political posts–especially if they differ from their own political beliefs.

Respect Your Audience’s Time
Don’t share, or re-tweet, everything that you like; that overloads the system. It forces users to sift through more posts than they would like. “Like”ing “favorite”ing, and “1+”ing posts is sufficient, in many cases . I shared so many posts at one time—for weeks–that Google+ locked me out of the system for 24 hours.  Some Facebook friends may share every inspiring, or amusing, post that they find. Most people are too busy to glance through dozens of posts, especially YouTube videos.  I ignore some of their posts because I don’t have the time to look at them, or listen to them.
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3. Listen to the Experts
Members of the Google+ help community gave me valuable advice when I got locked out of Google+:

  • Send out fewer posts at a time, or people may delete you from their circles.
  • If you must send the same post out more than once a day, try to comment on it, or edit the text, in some way.
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4. Be Aware of the Distinction between the Social Media Sites:
Every social media site is unique in how it works. A Google+ friend compared Facebook to a group of friends sitting around chatting over a dinner table; Twitter is equivalent to a huge, noisy crowd in a football stadium, and; Google+ is similar to a few close friends eating pizza on a couch while watching a favorite movie.

  • Facebook is useful for sharing family news. It is also a platform for the discrete promotion of authors and other entrepreneurs.
  • Many people try to sell products and services on Twitter.  People may also mention what’s happening in their personal lives.
  • Google+ is not a site for aggressive sales. It’s a place to interact with people in a friendly manner. Other users won’t want to be bombarded with virtual commercials.  One man used this analogy: Would we want watch our favorite show and be interrupted constantly by commercials?
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5. Be Aware that Social Media Sites are more than Marketing Platforms:
People don’t want to hear constant sales pitches online, by phone, or on TV; that’s aggravating.  For example, I got frustrated when one of my favorite movies was split up with continual commercials. The entire movie consisted of ten minutes of movie alternating with ten minutes of commercials.  Frequent repeats of commercials, or advertisements, are also aggravating. An example of this is a certain reality show that is often interrupted by commercials that never change. In the same way, a flood of repetitive promotional posts will annoy online users.

Three experts have practical ideas on how to market yourself, your services, or your product on social media:

  • Jeff Bullas, in an article entitled “38 Tips on Social Media Etiquette for Business”, says that a good rule of thumb for Facebook is to divide posts in this manner: 80% personal and 20% business-related. He also states that Facebook users should respond to every comment, good or bad. On Google+, it’s important to thank people and add commentary.
  • Chris Makara, in his article titled “I’m Surprised by These Mistakes Made with Google+ Profiles” suggests that people engage other people, within reason. We don’t want to flood them with messages.
  • Krista Bunskoek has a helpful article entitled “10 Tips: How not to Use Google Plus” on SocialMediaToday.com. She also recommends Jeff Bullas’ 80% personal/20% business-related rule of thumb for posting.

In conclusion: Engagement is the main component of success on any social media site!
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About the Author:  Traci Lawrence writes about her passion: communication, relationships, the value of individuals and rising above verbal bullying, or trash talk. She lives in the Northern Virginia area of the USA and teaches English, among other subjects. Please find more on her blog, and read her book: Accept No Trash Talk

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