May 22nd, 2010
Top 10 social media best practices
By Amanda Maurer
No matter if you’re new to social media or if you’ve been active for years, it’s always a great time to evaluate your efforts. Below are the 10 most popular suggestions I share when it comes to participating on social sites.
1. Start with a plan: Before you sign up for a social site, come up with a game plan. You should be able to answer these questions: What do you want to accomplish? How much time do you have to spend on maintaining a social profile? Who do you want to reach and where can you find them online? Those questions will help determine which tools and sites you should use. If you don’t know, start doing some research.
2. Fill out your profile: Adding a photo or filling out your bio may seem basic, but it shows the community that you care. Photos help users remember you, and bios allow them to find you easily.
3. Be transparent: Interacting with folks on social sites can be a very personal experience. Users want to trust you – so make sure your profiles honestly portray who you are, what company you work for and why you’re on that site.
4. Be genuine: Stay true to who you are. People will want to connect with you if they feel you offer an authentic relationship. Similarly, while setting up RSS feeds to accounts or connecting Twitter feeds to Facebook may save you time, they don’t offer the authentic relationships many users are looking for – or will want to interact with.
5. Stay active and commit time to building your profile: Creating a successful profile online can take weeks, if not months. During that time you’ll learn it’s important to maintain and update your profile every day. Posting often will remind your friends that you’re active on the site, and they’ll be more likely to interact with you. Note: Be careful not to post too often. You don’t want to clog up your friends’ feeds with all of your posts.
6. Listen and interact: For the most part, being active on social sites requires two things: participating and listening. Remember that your profile isn’t a one-sided conversation. If you want folks to comment and interact with you, you’ll need to spend the time interacting with them. Be engaging by posting interesting content, asking questions and being polite (saying thank you, etc.).
7. Follow people back: It’s a general courtesy to follow those who friend you. Mutual friendships offer several benefits like the ability to send private messages to one another. They also show the community that you’re interested in others, rather than keeping to yourself.
8. Edit your posts: Become familiar with the editing options each site offers. On Twitter you can determine how your Tweet reads; but did you also know that you can edit the headline, description and photo on a link posted in Facebook or a link submitted to Digg? This means you can take out the “ – website.com” text that often appears after the headline and customize the description to something that is appealing to your audience.
9. Track metrics: If you’re not sure how much of an impact you’re making, check your metrics. This could be as easy as setting up an account with bit.ly, a link shortening service. It tracks how many clicks each link receives and offers other analytics. It’ll help you figure out if your effort is yielding the response you want.
10. Mistakes happen: We all make mistakes online, but it’s important to learn from them and move on. If a message does go out that’s incorrect or inappropriate, take a moment to correct that mistake or apologize. The community will appreciate it.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!