Face it: without an online social media presence, you no longer have much of a presence.

Does this mean it’s the best way to handle all business?
Does this mean you must be on every social network to be successful?

No. But what it does mean is that your name or business is more likely to be found if you’re online and engaging, and the thought- gasp- that you can’t find a business on Facebook, well you should know.






So what do I mean by ‘participating or just present’?

Well, I’ll assess myself.
Facebook: Participating.
Twitter: Participating.
Foursquare: Participating.
Google+: Participating.
Instagram: Participating.
Pinterest: Present.
YouTube: Present.

The first five I use pretty regularly; at least one post a day on a typical basis. Instagram is borderline present. The last two I have accounts on, but truth be told I’m not using them in the most effective way- or much at all.

It’s not that I don’t believe they are effective; I’ve just found ways to use the first ones more often. Q: How does this look to followers on those websites, though? A: Like I am not keeping up or care.

Less than a year ago, I only had 3 of these networks. Facebook, Google+ and YouTube. Yes, I was a laggard when it came to Twitter. I began using my Twitter in August of 2011 and have grown to 925 followers. So a little less than 100 followers a month- not bad, but the very heart of social media is what will get me to my next surge of input.

Redefining what got me here to get me there.
The way I began on each network worked successfully, but adapting to the growing trends and the reactions of my followers is the next step. I do this already and it’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I’m passionate about public relations and social media; however, it’s the turn of originating content instead of sharing what everyone else is listening in on too that differentiates an individual or company.

Pictures are really worth 1,000 words.
The visual aspect of social networking is more important than ever. How likely are you to share a post with just words versus a funny or creative picture? People aren’t into reading long stories anymore. A few quick, witty phrases and you have their attention. Without realizing it, we prefer the shorter concepts and are constantly turning into editors. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn. I’m a talker. But I’ve experimented and seen the difference. Social media in sentences are a thing of the past- phrases FTW.

Use the tools available.
Measure the impact of everything you say. Why didn’t anyone comment or retweet you- was it the content? The length? The time you sent it? The frequency? Do people believe you’re a valuable source?
Tools can help you answer all of these questions- Tweriod is a free, in-depth Twitter measurement tool. You can even see what post made a follower unfollow you. Hootsuite- which we all know about- can allow you a full dashboard of all of your social media accounts. Facebook insights have become easier to understand as well. I wouldn’t rely too much on Klout- but if you’re competitive like me, by all means go for it. A few others can be found by clicking here.

Don’t get so personal.
It sounds ironic, right? Did I just tell you not to get personal on your social media networks? Yes I did. If you really want to grow and participate in the ongoing conversation, you have to steer clear of too much personal posting. I hear a good rule of thumb is 3 professional posts for every personal post.

I say toss out the rules. Be bold. Write what you want, but be mindful, too. If the world has really come crashing down, join the social network made for a personal journal-Path. I’m not all sunshine and flowers like my Facebook may suggest, but I don’t believe super personal events or negative thoughts should be consistently shared. It’s still OK to keep some things separate.

What are some more ways to participate in social media instead of just being present?

3 Comments on “Social Media: Are you participating or just present?

  1. Great post, Lauren. I am glad that Simon Oh reblogged this! I am now following you on a variety of social media platforms. What are your thoughts about having a separate personal and professional online presence?

    • Thanks Chris!
      I think it’s up to the person. I know people who have separate accounts and do very well. Personally I don’t separate mine because I feel that it’s moderating which parts of you the world sees. I do think that there should be separation between your whole life and everything you post, though. Passions and interests should always be shared but personal information is on a case by case basis for me.
      Thanks for reading!

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