Keys for Effective Social Media Use

Okay, I don’t pretend to be a pro on social media use. Honestly, I use it because I enjoy it. (Yeah, off-the-scale extrovert here.) But I’ve done some research lately for this blog, and found that the following tips I wanted to share were also mentioned in several of the “How To” sites I read. So here are a few collectively suggested “keys” to making sure your social media involvement is as effective as it can be.

First, in answer to the “How do I get started on social media?” question, the consensus seems to be:

  1. Have a quality website. That means a website that looks and acts professional. Which generally means don’t do it yourself unless you really and truly know what you’re doing on every front, including design SEO, and other things about which yours truly knows very little.
  2. Choose one or two social media sites to engage your readers. Base that choice on researching where your specific audience seems to show up most often.
  3. Learn how to use that/those site/s well, and be consistent in using it/them.

And here are three keys to being effective on whatever social media you choose:

Be Authentic. It’s a good thing to keep in mind: God knows your heart. He’s given a task to write, yes, but odds are very good that He’s done so to use you to minister to and help others. If your only reason for using social media is to sell something, don’t bother. You need to care about your audience, to remember that these are real people with real lives and real feelings. And trust me on this, they can tell if you’re there because you care–or if you’re just being a salesman.

Get Engaged! As exciting as it is when something you’ve put out there goes viral, virality (no, I didn’t say virility…sheesh!) doesn’t last. Trying to go viral is, basically, impossible. I hear it over and over when someone has a post or blog or whatever go viral: “I had no idea people would react the way they did.” So a far better focus is on actively engaging your audience. In other words, make your communications about them, not about you. About helping them. About getting to know them and helping them get to know you. Post pictures you think they’ll enjoy. Share what you’re doing and ask them what they’re up to. Invite their participation. Create a place where they feel welcome and part of a community. Where they care about each other.

Be Appealing! Yes, it’s about caring, but you need to know what you’re doing if you’re going to serve your audience well. So are you posting/pinning/tweeting in a way that is appealing to your chosen audience? I learned this principle I the early Christmases of my marriage. Don and I gave each other gifts based on what we thought were cool gifts: I gave him pens, he gave me tools. But friends, my husband couldn’t care less about writing utensils. As for the tools? Um…no. After several less than successful Christmases, we realized what we were doing wrong and changed the focus of our gift giving from ourselves to the other person. And let me tell you, that made all the difference. So make your communication about your audience. If you’re geared to a younger audience, have you refined your skill in using emojis? If your audience is primarily seniors, have you learned what appeals to them most and on which platform? Know your audience, and know which social media best appeals to them.

Stay Mobile! Whatever social media you use, keep in mind that you want it to be mobile friendly, meaning it needs to work well not just on a computer, but on mobile devices as well. That impacts how you build a website, the way you post, even the length of your posts, and so much more.

So there are a few things to keep in mind as you jump in. Now take a deep breath…and get out there and be social!

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