Do you “collect” social media and networking accounts? You know what I mean — you’ve created an account on Twitter, Google +, etc., but you are unsure about how or why to use it. Or perhaps you do use it, but you are losing sight of its effectiveness or its overall purpose; which leads to an unfocused and unfulfilling experience with social media.
The truth is it is not wise to jump into anything without even a basic vision of what you are shooting for (well, unless you are a genius artist or something). This doesn’t mean that your vision can’t change or adjust, depending on circumstance. In fact, its ideal. With social media, you just can’t create accounts and then just sit back and let them run. You have to look and see what the interaction levels and touchpoints are…and then adjust accordingly.
So let’s start with creating a list of your social media accounts, and then creating a one-sentence statement of your goal with that account (make sure the goal is coming from you; and not what the service says it should be used for). Mine would look like this:
Facebook – my online social network that I use to connect with friends, family, acquaintences; as well as brands, products and services that I like.
Twitter – my real-time connection to current trends of both professional and personal in nature
LinkedIn – my main tool for networking professionally online and finding people/conversations relevant to my professional goals
Tumblr – a way to collect a stream of various things that I find interesting — almost exclusively personal in nature
Google + – an online repository for articles that I’ve liked (+1) online and also a means for me to search for others talking about various subjects of interest.
Now, review – does the activity on these accounts reflect your goals? Should your goals be modified in any way? Do you see any holes or deficiences that aren’t being met by your existing social media accounts? When is the last time you updated a particular account (dormant accounts don’t accomplish anything – make a committment to update it, or just delete it).
Next, make sure that your profiles are all up to date and complete (even if you don’t want to put your home address or phone number online, at least provide an email address…or some way for people to contact you directly if they wish). Keep an eye on your privacy settings and your online image. Google yourself and see what the world sees in regards to how your image is presented through social media.
And finally know your connections. What are your standards for connecting with others through your various social media accounts? What does each connection bring to your network? Is the relationship between you and a particular connection one of 1) having an audience (‘your outbox’). 2) consuming media of other (‘your inbox’) or 3) having a conversation (‘your telephone’). And don’t forget to examine personal connections vs. professional connections. It is fine to have a social media account that is a combination of both; but be sure to tailor your output and activities accordingly.
There! Now you are on the road of taking charge of your social media accounts. There’s a lot more that you can do (obviously) to refine your effectiveness, but this should provide a good start. 🙂
(While this post specifically has the individual in mind, its general premise could be applied to businesses as well.)