People who are not "into social media" often ask me how I got involved with it all and how I make a living with it. I got started as many fellow millennials did, by browsing the web and joining networks out of curiosity.
This playing turned to testing when I was a reporter, to find sources or promote my stories. Then testing turned into research to try to be more successful on the web and figuring out how to achieve it. When I was accepted into my graduate program I knew I wanted to learn more about online media, and I thank my lucky stars for being accepted into a school that already had a technology evangelist.
Sree Sreenivasan was my class' dean of students, but his career crosses borders and industries. From reporter, teacher and founder of advocacy groups or start-ups, to television commentator and TED talk speaker (5!) he can easily find talking points in diverse audiences and relate to people of all ages. Sree is now the chief digital officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and offers workshops on social media whenever he visits a new town- his "Social Media One-Night Stand" (SMONS) workshops.
While the topic of social media may not be "Fifty Shades Of Grey" racy, attendees still get excited over the event. I've attended two workshops after my time in grad school, and in true nerd-spirit every group shares a collective desire to learn more about the latest social tools or tricks to try.
A week ago, February 19 and 20, Sree visited Boston with his family for February school vacation and like a multitasking champ he offered two free SMONS workshops at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. For both sessions attendees were asked to help make #SreeBOS trend, and for one of them the hashtag did! The beauty, though, is that the hashtag wasn't even used by 100 people when it happened, with give or take 50 individuals the tag trended.
I will list the highlights of Sree's workshop for you to consider in your use of SM. The main point is to remember the power a small group of people can have with the help of social networks. If you're trying to give your brand an extra boost, with organization and a plan you should be able to.
Sree was organized: he got us all in one room, two separate nights wto share content he he knew very well.
Sree had a plan: he have us a hashtag as well as examples of Tweets to share while he spoke, all while reminding us to mention prominent people he used in examples to gain even more attention for our posts.
This past Saturday, February 28, I was at a youth event presenting to teenage entrepreneurs about using social media for their projects. What I said to them I say to you: never stop learning. I learned new things from Sree, which I shared with these teens and now with you... and which I hope you share with others. The "pay-it-forward" effect does apply to social media, but as Sree also mentions in workshops: give credit where credit is due.
Thank Sree for his workshop and try to catch him if he comes near you! You could say, ".@Sree: Thanks for sharing new tools and tricks at #SreeBOS, come visit (Insert your town)!"
Now, the good stuff:
1. How to have a great Twitter profile:
First important detail: Put a space between your name, i.e.: Bessie King vs. BessieKing. People search by a contact's name, not by their handle. They can either search within Twitter or right on Google, this is why it's important to use your name, and have a space in between, even if you didn't find a handle with your whole name in it. Point in case: @bessiejking, the "J" stays until I can get "my name" from Twitter.
Second most important detail is your bio: Be, "your best current you." Every time you switch jobs or achieve something, like writing an e-book or winning an award, you will update your bio. Granted your Twitter bio won't mimic LinkedIn, nor can it due to space, you can still tell the world why you're special without labeling yourself as, "guru," "expert," or "industry leader." The people who get called these terms do not identify themselves with them, othersidentify them as "guru," "expert," or "industry leader" because of activities that have proven their knowledge and skills in a field. Earn the title, don't just give it to yourself.
On the topic of bios: make yours blue! As in, clickable. A god example given was of PRI's David Beard, he lists handles he's connected to, websites to find his work and an email. He makes sure people can reach him. If you're already on social, be social. A tip I've used: create a professional email account you can use for your bios across the web, that way you don't have to use all of your personal information.
2. Across all profiles, change your header image quarterly, not every other week. People can recognize you visually. If you're known for a specific hobby, share that theme each time you change your header, for example. Header images can also reflect the projects you are working on. This point also relates to your profile image, make sure your profile photo looks like YOU. Likewise, maintain a steady profile photo to allow people to recognize your mug. If you don't want a headshot, consider a logo or the first letter of your name as your identifier.
3. Don't worry about being "verified" on social media! The majority of people who are verified are either celebrities, politicians or journalists: so, public figures. Being verified does not open some secret door to better analytics or a post scheduling wizard. Focus on your engagement and maintain a healthy rate of Followers to Following or Page Likes. Your content will verify your skills.
4. Related to verification and content: be interesting in real life to be interesting in social life! Read, listen to music, have discussions, all in the real world. Your activities, your interests, will reflect in your tone and help you stand out.
5. If you want to get noticed, plan it. Twitter lists are useful because you can create a private list with the key people you look up to, want to work for, or want to have follow you. You can also try lists on Facebook to organize your friends into the key contacts you want to interact with professionally, too. Research what your selected social media users post about and learn from their content. Answer questions they post in a helpful manner to get noticed. Share quality content and share it with them directly. All of these activities can grow your following in a valuable way.
6. LinkedIn is more than a job searching tool. Just as you want to share good content on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, LinkedIn's Pulse is an overlooked short-style blogging platform that can get you noticed by clients or colleagues- not just recruiters. Use LinkedIn as a live directory of fellow industry members that can come to or invite you to events, offer their expertise for a project, and even become mentors. One of the first business books I read said networking was not about keeping tabs but about building relationships. LinkedIn can become your platform to build them.
7. Try, try, try! There are new tools in the "old" social networks we use, such as: Twitter video! Facebook CTA buttons! Instagram caption edits! If something new comes out go ahead and test it, don't be afraid to "fail" because we're all figuring out these updates as well.
8. Track your click links, just as you track RTs, Shares, reposts, etcetera. To dothis, use a link shortening site like bitly.com and get free analytics on your links! This way you'll know what type of content your audience responds to.
9. Awesome new tools to try, in no particular order:
Buffer - Buffer makes it super easy to share any page you're reading
Peerindex - check out social ratings with social media analytics based on footprints from use of major social media services, Klout-like
Topsy.com - allows you to search by time & place, set alerts, and analyze sentiment for every tweet ever made
Snapbird.com - helps find old tweets and messages by going months back into a feed
Editonthefly.com - Edit video and photos with effects and audio tools that will make your mobile captures look professional
Twiangulate.com - the leading tool for search, analytics and mapping of connections between Twitter friends and followers
Hashtracking.com - enables you to see at a glance who participated in a chat, how many people were reached, who was retweeted the most
iftt.com - automate actions you already do on the web to be more organized and look like a pro. Such as: "if you post a photo on IG then the native image not the link will be shared on Twitter." There are fancier things like banking tracking but this IG formula made my day
Bananatag.com - know when your email was received and when it was opened without hacking into anyone's account
Rapportive.com - shows you everything about your contacts right inside your inbox
10. Sree is always generous in sharing his slides with us, but to find additional tips and a public set of slides he's edited with more information visit: Bit.ly/sreeslides
I hope you learned something. If you need help figuring out an item mentioned leave a comment or send me a message!
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