(Since this is a social media post, seems fitting to start it with social media).

In the past few weeks, I have been on a Twitter bender.

After barely using social media during the past six years (the years I refer to as “the scary six” because I was having dietary and personal troubles throughout) I started tweeting frequently, and saw results. I gained approximately 50 followers in 2 days, and keep getting more.

Let me preface this by saying–I am not a social media professional. I am not one of those fancy people you hire to improve your social media presence, sell your products, or help you “monetize” your twitter feed (whatever that means). I’m just a woman who enjoys writing, blogging, skating, taking photos, and sometimes all those things together at the same time. I’ve learned as I go with social media, and one thing I can definitely say about it is that it is invaluable for being…well, social. You can network, make new friends, connect with people from all walks of life. You can tweet your idol and have them favorite it, or (gasp!) tweet you back. And you can use your platform to motivate, inspire, teach, entertain, or inform others. That used to be the domain of the “rich and famous” but now, social media places that opportunity in your hands–if you know how to use the tools.

As I said above, I started getting more involved with social media a few days ago. It was raining–what else was I supposed to do? I felt bad that i had all these social networks out there doing nothing–I hadn’t updated my Linkedin site, I hadn’t changed my website address on my Twitter feed, and I rarely spent much time on Facebook. Until a few days ago, when I started engaging more with the social media. And social media engaged me right back. In a few days, I have garnered approximately 50 new followers from all walks of life–artists, writers, actors, life coaches, entrepreneurs, quote sites….although it’s certainly not a record-breaking event I still couldn’t believe it. And it all happened because I started to “SHOW UP” and interact, instead of letting the social media profiles cruise on autopilot. Like life, you have to show up and get involved to see any real changes.

I’m going to share some tips I’ve learned about how to use social media to it’s greatest potential–for one reason, because I have nothing else to write about at the moment, and also because I hope these tips and “things I’ve learned” can help my readers up their social media game a bit. Here goes:

1) Engage–You have to be present to win, right? If you never get followers on Twitter or endorsements on Linkedin, it might be because you never spend time on the platform. It sounds obvious, but it’s true. Unless you’re super famous or influential, people won’t follow you just because of your name or reputation. You have to put in time cultivating your presence. That means tweeting on a fairly regular basis, posting on a fairly regular basis, whatever your platform requires. For linkedin it might be that you share links related to your field every week or every few days.

2) Schedule–Clearly, you have a life and don’t want to spend all day on social media (unless that’s your job, in which case, go for it!). That’s where scheduling comes in. Decide when you are going to put aside time for your social media, and try to stick to the schedule. This is originally a “writer’s trick” but works for anything really.

3) Post what you believe in– Another obvious one. Don’t just post or tweet because other people are posting or tweeting, unless you have a strong reason for doing so. Just posting to try to “fit in” is not a good idea. We’re all unique, and should do what we believe in. Before posting something, think about this:

– Is this something I have a strong interest in/believe in?

-Is it appropriate for my audience?

-What outcome am I hoping for (thought-provoking, entertainment, info)?

and most importantly,

-How would I feel if my mom/grandma/kids saw this post/tweet?

Remembering who you are, what you believe in, and being truthful is important on social media, otherwise you’re just a part of the noise. Don’t be afraid to be different!

4) Make your posts appropriate to your audience or brand–I look at something before I tweet and say, “Is this interesting to my audience? Will it improve their life or their day? If not, I don’t post it.

Also, keep in mind that who follows you depends on what you put out there. If you are tweeting a lot of business tweets, for example, you will be followed by a lot of entrepreneurs and business types–if you are tweeting about art, you might be followed by artists. Remember this and tweet accordingly.

5) Post something ONLY YOU CAN POST–In other words, be unique. Try to capture what it is that is different about you, your life, or your brand, and use it. Identifying what it is that draws your followers to you will be helpful in determining what to post. For example, if you live somewhere cool or do something exciting, try to bring people into your life via photos, tweets, and other media. This doesn’t mean you have to tweet every time you do something, but bringing people into your world is what seperates the savvy social media users with lots of followers from those who don’t know how to harness their uniqueness. Remember, there’s only one you! 🙂

6) Don’t be afraid to reach out–As a person who is generally too private for social media, I am trying to get over my fear of connecting with people. You don’t have to be creepy about it–dropping someone who followed you a quick direct message saying “thanks” is a painless way to connect. There are also autoresponder apps for Twitter that do that automatically, but from what I read that isn’t recommended anymore. And wishing friends happy birthday or leaving quick friendly comments is also a good way to connect.

7) Learn more about optimal social media practices–Since we have this wonderful Internet, information is just a click away. Search on Google or follow Twitter feeds that address social media–here are some good articles to start with:

Five Ways to Find Out if Your Instagram is Boring

5 Quick Steps to Grow Your Twitter Following

9 Ways to Grow Your Twitter Following (Ethically)

20 Social Media Marketing Tips from the Pros

Hope these helped and see you on the Internet! 🙂

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