5 Social Media Must-Dos

Posted by | June 21, 2011 | Social Media Basics

As companies put together comprehensive multi-year plans to tackle the rising influence of social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the following question arises, are individuals doing the same at a personal level?

With the following list of must-dos I hope to provide a good starting point for those looking to engage in social media and build a personal brand online.

1. Google Yourself

As cliched as it may seem, Googling yourself is actually an eye-opening experience, especially if you participate on websites with comments, reviews, and other interactions.

You may find that someone who shares your name happens to be a convict who regularly tweets about his adventures at a local pub.

Googling yourself provides a lot of insight regarding other personas, what people are saying about you and any other interactions you’ve had online in the past. Yes, the past can come back to haunt you if you said or did something online that would bring your character into question.

2. Protect Your Identity

In today’s hyper-connected world users have no choice but to protect their identities online. There are several things you can do to at least stake a claim to your presence online.

Staking your presence online means that you need to create user accounts on the popular social media services like Facebook, Twitter, Google and LinkedIn. This will ensure that someone doesn’t take your name and tarnish it.

I also suggest that you try to purchase a domain in your name so that you can use that as your official page and the email address when registering accounts online.

You can use this domain to point to your public profile on pages like About.me, Google Profiles, Twitter, or your Facebook page.

3. Create a Business Profile & Join Groups

Create an account on LinkedIn and join groups related to your industry and your company.

If you run your own business, this becomes even more important because you will need to be able to leverage your network to find new business, suppliers, employees, etc.

If you find that there aren’t any groups related to your industry you can always create one and invite your contacts to join in.

4. Use Social Media Tools

The fact that social media interactions are open to the public should be reason enough to scare away a lot of folks, but that most daunting aspect of social media is keeping up with it.

If you stick to using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media services via their respective websites, you will never get anything done.

Instead check out free tools like Seemic Desktop, TweetDeck and Hootsuite that allow you to aggregate you social media profiles to one screen rather than three or four.

5. Participate Publicly

If creating profiles in social media channels is the tip of the iceberg, then participating online is the submerged portion of the iceberg.

Participating in social media channels requires three basic things:

  • Understanding how to use the various channels. You need to know the difference between the @ symbol in Twitter and what # tags mean. So make sure you understand the lingo before delving in social media.
  • You need to exercise prudence when posting online. Everything you say or do online will most likely be there 20 years from now. Employers will Google when you are looking for work and while you are employed.
  • Consistency is important. Participating online requires that you participate frequently and consistently. Doing so will ensure that others follow/subscribe to your feeds and that your content remains current and relevant.

One thing to keep in mind when posting online is to focus on quality rather than quantity, so you are better off tweeting five good articles a week instead of 100 irrelevant tweets.

So there you have it, five must dos to get you started with social media. Have any suggestions or wish to share your experiences? Use the comments form below.

Source What’s Your Social Media Strategy? HBR November 2010.

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