Many of you may be keen to grow your social media presence. By having a good social media presence you can add immense value to your organization and build your personal brand. It also serves as a way to network with peers, gain perspectives and increase your learning beyond the walls of the organization.
While it is easy for you to open accounts on social media platforms, engaging online can be overwhelming without a clear plan. Where does one begin? How can you build a presence? What does it take to succeed?Here are some pointers that you consider while getting started with social media.
To begin your social media journey you need to first start with your personal goals and objectives. What is that people know you best for? Or, what do you want to be known for in the future? What are you passionate about? What can you share which readers will find relevant and useful to their lives?
Frame up your online statement and agenda. For example, ‘to be recognized as a thought leader and mentor in the performance management function within human resources’. Once you have a clear understanding of the area you want to grow into you will be able to focus on social media platforms and forums that will enhance your profile.
Have a point of view:
If you look up research reports on social media activity and behavior people mostly look for ‘thought leadership’ ‘seek the expertise’ of participants online. They expect quality discussions and relevant comments that can further their learning. Therefore, you need to have a point of view and even if you aren’t creating content you can reflect intently on content that others have shared.
Choose your forums:
Very often in our enthusiasm to build a ‘presence’ we enlist on all the leading forums that exist. However, unless you know what each forum caters to and how it complements your passion areas you may not be able to advance your online pursuits. It is important to think about which platforms best speak to your strengths.
For example, if you are keen on business networking, then Linkedin is probably the place to be at. Again, stay away from forums that aren’t appropriate for the profile you aim to build. While Facebook is a great site for informal sharing and engagement it may not be the best place to conduct business networking.
Social media presence isn’t only about networking sites: There are many ways to contribute to the social media world and your passion area. You can join discussions on topics of interest, comment on other peoples’ posts, edit a Wikipedia page related to your functional area, post ratings for products and services, review new applications or books on your domain, volunteer to mentor others in the domain, organize webinars on the subject and a whole lot more!
Be regular and be relevant:
Build your reputation over time. Have a rhythm to your social media engagement. Commit to a schedule. For example, if you want to build a presence on Twitter you need to be posting a few times a day. On the other hand if Linkedin is where you plan to invest your social media time you can aim for a daily or a weekly rhythm. Same with a Google+. A few times Consistency brings big rewards. Be relevant to others and always keen your audience front and center while thinking of content to share.
Stay abreast of trends in social media:
There is so much happening and so many new forums and applications launching every day that staying current is often bewildering. Choose leading websites to get your social media trends from. Sign up for a couple of newsletters – for example, from Social Media Today, Technorati or Mashable.
Take a test drive:
The best way to discover social media is to try out some forums. Join up, explore the various options and tools. Choose to stay ‘private’ till you get familiar with the applications and the usage guidelines. Form a close knit group of friends with whom you can ‘test’ your posts and tweets. Once you gain confidence and are sure of the channel take it live.
Know your standing on the social media ladder: Look up the Forrester study that identifies social media behavior and classifies people on their online activities. Creators (24%) are on top of the rung while Spectators (70%) rank lower on the ladder. The authors added a new group called Conversationalists to factor in those active on Twitter.
The other way to know your current social media presence and reach is to go a Google search for your name and the key words in the functional area you want to be known for. What shows up? Where do you feature? How does it compare with your online activity? Where do you fit in?
Blogging demonstrates your mastery:
If you are keen to showcase your thought leadership then blogging is the route to take. It allows you the flexibility as well as the space to bring your thoughts to the fore. You can engage directly with your readers – that is after you have got readers interested in your content.
Your content stays online FOREVER:
There have been many instances of misunderstood posts, insensitive tweets and inappropriate images that can mar a person’s social media presence. Be aware that what gets posted online stays there forever! So be careful and thoughtful of what you are posting since it directly reflects your personality and image.
As for me I began my blog on internal communications – Intraskope in 2006. I continue to participate actively on LinkedIn and have a presence on WizIQ, Twitter, Slideshare, Google+, and Academia.
The views expressed by the author in this article are personal and do not reflect the views of the organization he works for.