There is are many experts and plenty of advice on how to make social media “work” for you either personally or for a professional brand. I want to focus on one aspect: be courteous.
In my last post I discussed the onus on hiring managers to reply to thank you emails and give the interviewee the courtesy of knowing where they stand (one way or another). In social media, “thank you” also goes a long way.
Here is an example: a few years ago I started an experiment on Twitter and created two alter egos. Today, one of those has 712 followers and a Klout score of 45. For the record, there are brands who would die to have a Klout of 45. This is a ranking on a scale of 1-100 on how influential you are on Twitter. The other twitter handle has a Klout score of 16 and a total of 152 followers.
So what did I do differently?
Successful social media is about engaging with others. If someone retweets your post, send them a “thank you for the RT” message. Every single one of them. It doesn’t take long – unless you are Justin Bieber with a zillion adoring fans – so just make it happen!
Retweet others. You can simply re-send their tweet or you can add a comment at the end such as “love this” or “+1 – great blog”. I recommend mixing it up – try doing both.
If someone you follow is putting a question out there and you have an opinion on it, share it with them. For example, I recently asked if anyone was finding value in Pinterest for traditional marketing of a brand and I received several replies that were helpful. I thanked each person who replied.
Follow people who follow you. Maybe not all of them (some will be spammers or companies hoping to grow their influence) but try to follow the ones who appear to have something in common with you from their profile and have a history of tweets.
Make use of the #FF concept – #FF is “Follow Friday.” You use the hashtag (#) to promote people you feel others should follow. I like to put themes around these such as “#FF to the greatest working moms I know” and then include their twitter handles.
If you are comfortable with it, keep your tweets “unprotected.” This is a bit of a controversial issue – keep in mind anyone can see what you are saying if they search on the right things but it also makes it easier for others to follow you and join in on your conversation if they have good input.
And finally, the best advice I can give: be sincere, be yourself and be genuine. I have been live-tweeting at industry events and met some wonderful people because we are interacting on twitter and finally meet in person. Because social media is SOCIAL, common courtesies and being a social person will make a huge difference.
So what about those two twitter handles I started out discussing? One is about dog “stuff” and the other about travel. One has a fun happy tone and the other is a bit snarky and disengaged. The dog twitter account has brought some amazing new friends in my life, new events, helped me learn about the stubborn breed of dog we have. We work as a group to fundraise for animal rescues and put out notices of missing or lost dogs. We meet in person, our dogs know each other and we do a Secret Santa every year. The travel handle? I’m deleting the account.
Tina Shakour lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband Nasir and one very spoiled Shiba Inu named Zuko. She works for the start-up Veetle, and has been an engineer, an Internet TV “personality” and now spends her time loving video, social media and marketing. You can follow her on Twitter (@tinashakour).