TECH, BUSINESS AND CAREER INSIGHTS

I Have a Social Media Account — Now What?

By: Chris Skaggs | @chrislskaggs

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So you were told, “you need to be on social media!” and like a good soldier you signed up. You were smart, and heeded advice to start small and grow your social media presence gradually. Now what?

We are most certainly living in a digital world and social media dominates that world. According to a LinkedIn article by Jeff Bullas, of the 7.2 billion people living on this planet:

  • 3.0 billion people are active internet users
  • 2.1 billion people have social media accounts
  • 1.7 billion people have active social media accounts

RESISTANCE TO SOCIAL MEDIA IS FUTILE
With these huge numbers, your potential reach and impact from utilizing social media is unfathomably (and equally) large. But just having an account in this noisy digital landscape is not enough for you to be noticed. In order to see real impact with social media, you need to own your personal brand, insert yourself into the conversations, and post content regularly.

SAY CHEESE!
When you signed up for your social media account, you probably went through a setup wizard that allowed you to upload a profile picture and create a biography. WHAT?! You skipped that step?

Do yourself a favor and get a profile picture (actually a photo of yourself) uploaded ASAP. I know I like to see who I am engaging with online. Having a profile picture lessens the digital obscurity. Your photo doesn’t need to be a professional headshot, but make sure it’s clear quality and appropriate for public consumption. Bonus points if it shows your personality somehow.

Your biography is another integral piece of your social media strategy and often one of the first places many people will look. Just like people judge books by their covers, people judge social media profiles on that first touchpoint with your bio. They will quickly review it and decide whether or not following you is worth their precious time.

It won’t matter how great your content is if you don’t have an inviting biography, because no one will see it! Internally, your biography is also a great way to make sure your content remains aligned with your brand and strategy. If you find yourself posting content that doesn’t quite fit, maybe it’s time to edit your biography. It’s not a headstone, you can revise your biography.

IT'S NOT A HEADSTONE
So you have a profile picture and a pithy biography, what about content? For some, this can be the hardest part. What should I post? What time of day should I post? How many times a day/week/month should I post? These are all legitimate questions, and ones that often lead to paralysis for newbie social media users. If you’re not a great writer or don’t want to generate your own content, have no fear.

Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme. The work involves sifting, sorting, arranging, and publishing information. There is real value in this process, because it saves other people (your followers) the hassle of sifting through the information overload themselves.

Subscribe to some reputable blogs, save websites that generate great content to your favorites, and follow other social media accounts that align with your interests. You will soon have loads of quality content to share and curate. Who knows, you might get so inspired by reading and sharing other people’s content you could get the urge to start generating your own.

Another simple trick for great content is to follow what’s happening, even trending, in pop culture. There is a hashtag for just about every event. Insert yourself into those events by utilizing the appropriate hashtag. Just make sure whatever you are posting is relevant, don’t be a HashHole. No one wants to read about your “new book that is available for purchase #SuperBowl.”

HAPPY NATIONAL "TALK LIKE A PIRATE" DAY
The other easy content generation idea is to celebrate holidays. And, I’m not talking about just the standard national holidays. I mean celebrate National Waffle Day and National Talk Like a Pirate Day, and definitely don’t forget World Beard Day (a personal favorite). These obscure holidays have a lot of social media activity and they are just plain fun!

Most importantly, have fun. Social media isn’t brain surgery. If you post content that gets suboptimal engagement, you will live, I promise! Too often newbie social media users get too caught up in what to do or what not to do, and end up falling off the social media bandwagon. Avoid analysis paralysis by keeping it fun and doing what feels right for you and your brand. 

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