Saturday, November 16, 2013

6 simple tips for social media

At a high level, social media seems very simple. Post this, follow her, retweet that, connect with him. But after you dive in, it can be a struggle to stay afloat. You quickly realize that it can be much more complicated than those simple one-click actions. It doesn't have to be.

Here are six simple tips to help you gain more followers and get more likes:

Adopt early: One of the easiest ways to gain popularity on any social media platform is to be an early adopter. Those who join early not only learn the ropes faster, but can also take advantage of the domino effect of all the other people who join from that day forward. Each person that joins a new network immediately follows every one of their friends who are already on that network. If you're not on that list, they may never look for you again.

Follow friends: You should not only follow all of your friends from day one, but also occasionally check to see if any new friends have joined. Some platforms are great about this (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest), sending you notifications any time your friend from Facebook joins. But others take a little more effort. Check your settings or search tools until you find a "Search My Contacts" button or similar link. Most of your friends will follow back, they likely just didn't realize your account existed.

Follow back: The number one rule you'll hear the most when attending networking seminars, reading social media books, or watching a live webinar about social networks is "Follow Back!" It's something I'm not crazy about (for other reasons), but it truly is the quickest and easiest way to gain the most followers and increase interactions with your posts.

Post once per day: Unless you already have over 2,000 followers, friends, and/or connections I'd advise against posting any more than once per day. Spamming people's timelines and feeds with your opinions and stories is the fastest way to get unfollowed, unfriended, deleted, and blocked. If you have more than one post in mind, save it as draft or schedule it go live the following day.

Update profile: When someone finally does find you on any social network, the first thing they will do is read your profile. Keep it short, simple, and creative. But also make it descriptive. No matter how eccentric you are in real-life, your profile should be direct and to the point.

Add profile picture: I lied, the first thing they will do is look at your profile picture. Many times, they won't even make it to your profile because they didn't even realize it was you. If you want people to follow you, replace that Twitter egg with a headshot. Don't have a professional photo? Fine. Just upload anything for now. You can worry about putting your best face forward later.

I know a lot of my readers are also social media gurus and social networking ninjas, so please feel free to post your other tips in the comments section as well:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ten reasons to not follow back

Every social media ninja and social networking jedi says the same thing, "Follow Back!" I disagree. Here are ten reasons why:
  1. First, just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean you should. If Johnny jumped... well, you get the point.
  2. Second, it is okay to follow back, just do not do so blindly. Read their profile and last 3 tweets to see if you have anything in common.
  3. Just because someone is following you doesn't mean you have the same interests. 
  4. There are people out there who follow-unfollow just to gain followers -- so you could end up following people who actually aren't following you back.
  5. You can't legitimately interact with your audience if your timelines and feeds are flooded with thousands of new posts every minute.
  6. Social network influence algorithms like Klout's take your ratio of follows to followers into account when calculating your score -- having more followers than people you follow will improve your score.
  7. Most social media gurus follow a lot less people than they have followers -- so they're not even following their own advice.
  8. The only way to know if someone is worth following is by seeing the number of followers they have (the most interesting people have the most followers), so if we all followed back how would we know who to follow to begin with?
  9. If everyone everywhere followed everyone back what would be the point? The greatest thing about social media is being able to create niche social networks with those of similar interests.
  10. And lastly, by not following back, you're doing your part to put an end to this endless cycle. We have to start somewhere.
Can you think of any other good reasons not to follow back (I struggled with the last 2 if you couldn't tell)? If so, add them to the comments below: