A Beginner’s Guide To Using Social Media

October 11th 2011       Sally Ormond       blogging for business, facebook, search engine optimisation, twitter for business

 

Starting out in Social mediaSome people take to social media like a duck to water, others find it slightly trickier to get to grip with how to use it and how to get the most from it.

If you are not sure about how to use social media and fear falling foul of what is seen as the correct etiquette, this blog post is for you.

By the time you read the last word, you’ll be ready and raring to go.

Most people find the biggest hurdles in social media (whether that’s Twitter, Facebook or blogging) are:

  • Not knowing what to say
  • Not sure how to say what they want to say
  • Not knowing how to interact with other people

Don’t worry, all is about to become clear.

Let’s get right back to basics.

Your social media look

Don’t worry, this isn’t a blogging version of How to Look Good Naked.

When you set up your Twitter account, Facebook page or blog, always load your avatar. If you’re a sole trader, I would strongly recommend you use a recent photo of yourself. Yes, you see lots of people using company logos or one of the generic avatars, but what signals is that giving to your followers?

If you have nothing to hide, show your face. Seeing a human face helps build relationships and trust.

The guide to following

In the Twitterverse, the key is to interact with others to gather followers.

Many people worry about the type of person that follows them. If you are really concerned, you can protect your tweets so people have to ‘apply’ to follow you. Personally, I wouldn’t do that because it can make you look secretive and unapproachable, which many could find off putting.

If someone does follow you who you’d really rather didn’t, you can block them. Plus, remember that just because someone follows you, you don’t have to follow them back. Take a look at their profile and tweets, if they seem interesting follow them, but if not, don’t.

Twitter has made people much more accessible. Now, you can contact people who you would never have been able to before. And as for whether you should follow your competitors or not – of course you should. You can learn a lot from each other’s tweets and it’s always good to interact with people within your industry.

Your first words

First things first. If you think social media is simply a free form of advertising, think again. If all you do is promote your business, people will get fed up with you pretty quickly and you’ll come across as a spammer.

The art of social media is interaction. Listen to people, chat with them, offer advice when you can and if you read something useful, re-tweet it.

But don’t forget, if someone re-tweets you, comments on your Facebook page or blog, thank them.

Anything else?

Although blatant advertising should be avoided at all costs when using social media, you can use it to help your search engine optimisation. Don’t be afraid to link back to your website in your blog posts, tweets and updates so long as the link will add value to the reader and is relevant.

Plus, if you are inserting a link to a product, which is an affiliate link, be honest and tell them it’s an affiliate.

OK, it’s social, but I want to use it to promote my business too – how do I do that?

As I mentioned earlier, blatant self-promotion through social media is about as welcome as an angry skunk in a lift.

But if you give great information, you’ll be seen as an expert in your field, a good egg and the type of person they want to interact with.

If you have special offers you can mention them, just make sure your social media usage is balanced and that you give more than you take.

Just one thing about the re-tweeting aspect, if you want people to re-tweet your stuff, make sure you leave them room. If you send a tweet that’s 139 characters long, re-tweeting isn’t very easy.

Over to you

Social media is great fun and not at all scary. Start off small and build your network as your confidence grows.

Chat, interact and give information. You’ll be amazed at the people you meet and connections you make. So give it a try.

Don’t be shy.

Sally Ormond – freelance copywriter & tweeter (@sallyormond)

Tags: blogging for business, facebook, search engine optimisation, twitter for business
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