Be Good At Social Media Without TryingIf you've ever read up on social media, you'll get a lot of different answers about best practices. Everyone thinks they're right about when to post or how to engage others. And maybe they are. But let's get past the social networks themselves and think about the strategy involved.
FIVE KEY TECHNIQUES
Reach out to othersEngagement is this kind of nothing word that means, simply, just talking to people. But, when starting out, you can't wait on others to do it first - it's all on you. Plant the seed - follower-based networks like Twitter and Tumblr are great places to do this, because they're open-ended. Facebook, on the other hand, is more closed off. Say smart things; people notice.
Water the plantsBuilding up a network of connections means nothing if you struggle with keeping things moving. Disappear for months, and you have to work much harder to build back your connections. If you don't water the plants, they'll wilt. But on the other hand, find balance. If you water them too much, they'll die for a completely different reason. Overexposure is bad, too.
Do your researchNobody becomes an expert on something right away. And when it comes to social media, it helps to cast a wide net. Read up on the people you're trying to reach and the subjects you're trying to cover, so when that moment comes where you actually need to do something with this info - say, breaking news, or sources for a story - you're not just pulling something out of thin air.
Be yourself, to a pointWant to turn people off quickly? Pretend to be something you're not. People like to know they're talking to real people who actually like tweeting about breaking bad sometimes. Feel free to switch gears from your job - mental health breaks are allowed. But don't turn Twitter into a gossip line or a vent-fest. It makes a bad impression, and you want to make a good one.
Know how to pivotSocial media constantly evolves. Ten years ago, none of the major social networks we use today - Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, even MySpace - even existed. Three years ago, the Facebook like button didn't exist - now it's everywhere. Change with the times: Every month or so, re-assess what you're doing. It's easier to keep up when your habits are flexible.
THREE TOOLS OF THE TRADE
GetPrismaticA number of tools exist to help find and surface content worth reading - including some great iPad apps like Flipboard and Pulse. GetPrismatic big advantages? It figures out who's talking about what most, and focuses the content. It's great.
BufferappOnly have so much time in the day? Use BufferApp to schedule your tweets ahead of time, so you don't have to focus on it so much while you're trying to work. Don't rely too heavily on tools like these, though. They can become crutches, just like anything.
Twitter ListsYou may know about TweetDeck or Hootsuite, but a big list app might be too much for you. Being able to sort between different types of followers is important, though, especially when looking for certain information. Do not be overly dependent on one group, diversity should be your goal. You can get tunnel vision easily if you aren't careful. How To Use Twitter Lists.
CHEAT SHEETS WORTH READINGReuters social media editor Anthony De Rosa, once called the King of Tumblr by the New York Times, started up a detailed social media cheat sheet a while back with techniques showing that work best for each major social network. sfbne.ws/RT43sX
Neetzan Zimmerman, the Gawker editor who founded Daily What, recently wrote a guide about the techniques he uses to finding inserting content before it goes viral. It's tough to follow, but it offers starting points bloggers can learn from. Zimmerman drives more traffic to Gawker than any other writer. Gawker.com/an-impractical-guide.
SOCIAL MEDIA TEMPLATES TO FOLLOWCraig Kanalley (Facebook) - Huffington Post's social media expert is also a force on Twitter and other social networking sites, but his Facebook feed is where he really shines. despite having 120,000 subscribers, he still manages to have deep, lasting conversations with his readers.
@Thematthewkeys (twitter) - Look back at Matthew Keys' feed to see an example of a trailblazing form of news. By balancing his feed between the personal and the professional, the Reuters journalist set something of a template for social media pros.
Brooklyn Mutt (Tumblr) - Peter Wade, a former writer for The Daily, does a very solid job of keeping his feed diverse and interesting, balancing between serious news items, softer news and a personal touch that's well-attuned for Tumbler's extremely quick-hit audience.
@Acarvin (twitter) - How far can you push Twitter and other social media platforms? NPR's Andy Carvin, who become famous for tweeting hundreds of times a day about important news in the Middle East, sets an example for the limits to which it can be taken.
Buzzfeed.com (Everywhere) - It's not just limited to the site itself - look closely at the way they handle their brand on other platforms. There's deep understanding as to how each platform works. Those cleaver ideas (and Ryan Gosling photos) could inspire your own posts.
@Daveweigel (Twitter) - The Slate political blogger and reporter is a great example of how to handle the service as someone who writes humor, an insider's voice, and a touch of humanity. If you're looking for journalist to emulate on Twitter, try him out.
A parting note: Think smarter, not harder. You already have enough on your plate.
Sources : Twitter.com/shortformernie, Shortformblog.com/social-media-handout