At Frameable Faces we spend a lot of time on social media and facebook in particular. Sure it’s primarily how we market our business and I personally spend a ton of time on the various platforms because I consult on on the side, but it also dominates much of the conversation with our clients in general because we post sneak peaks and/or video clips from the sessions on facebook, this blog, YouTube, even Google + a little, and we tweet as well so it’s just naturally a popular topic. We also pin, use LinkedIn (although frankly we have a ways to go on LinkedIn as a brand) and a few of the others. Based on my own observations I’m not sure the typical casual end user knows where to go for help to get more out of social media for themselves. The social media “gurus” focus much of their content on how brands can build and engage with their peeps, but who is helping the customers to get the most out of social media? People still seem to get frustrated with facebook or don’t quite get twitter for example. So while this is by no means a comprehensive list I thought I’d provide a few of my own tips to help you manage and benefit from the information available on social media platforms.
1. “Like” and more importantly interact with your favorite brands on facebook. More and more companies are dedicating resources to maintaining a presence on facebook and interacting with their customers there. The company website will have information sure, but you can usually interact with your favorite store, restaurant or TV show in daily discussions if you like on facebook. Keep in mind that hitting the “like” button, adding a comment to the conversation or even sharing something you find really worthwhile with your facebook friends will help ensure that future posts from that brand continue to show up prominently in your news feed. This is why the interact part is so key. Plus by liking, commenting and sharing you are putting your own stamp of approval on things that are important to you for others to see (which is one of the social aspects of social media). So as you can see you can essentially craft your own personal flow of the information you care about on facebook.
2. The “unsubscribe” button is your friend. If that annoying acquaintance from high school finds you and insists on telling the world that it’s cold outside every time it’s, uh….well…. cold outside, or that they didn’t sleep well, or who you should vote for, you can just hover over their status update and unsubscribe from their updates. This goes for all of your settings when it comes to customizing your content and your privacy. I still hear a lot of people say they don’t want to be on facebook or don’t like facebook because they don’t want people to know a bunch of information about them, they don’t want to be in contact with a bunch of people from high school they don’t care about, or they don’t care what people ate for breakfast. Facebook has evolved a lot over the last couple of years and you don’t have to share anything you don’t want to share, you can select who sees what, and you can unsubscribe from annoying status updates without potentially hurting someone’s feelings by de-friending them. These are all easy and intuitive tools and if you don’t understand them then ask someone who does. It’s very easy to tailor facebook to your interests so that it becomes a valuable source of information while still filtering all the noise.
3. Follow your favorite brands, news outlets, blogs and teams on twitter. If facebook can function as a good flow of information and interaction with friends and brands, twitter can positively be your personal AP wire. I remember when the first smartphones came out and were shortly followed by sports scores apps where you could pick the teams you cared about to get updated scores. Cool right? Except they never worked, you had to launch the app to get the updates and then they were barely ever updated. Now many sports teams will tweet frequent updates during a game beyond just the score, including stats and even brief mentions about how rowdy the crowd is or if the momentum has shifted. If you want to follow the Detroit News you’ll get breaking news throughout the day. If you follow local blogs you can get updates on what’s happening around town. If you follow your favorite brands you can get updates on their products and content related to those products. You can tweet and retweet as well and build relationships but you don’t necessarily have to to get a lot out of twitter.
4. Make use of lists on twitter. If you start to really dig twitter and find that it’s a great way to stay up to speed on the things you like you may start to find that following too many tweets becomes a little overwhelming. Unlike facebook where your interaction and/or unsubscribing can help shape your news feed, on twitter you are either following or unfollowing a tweeter and that’s pretty much it. You might miss some tweets you may have cared more about because they quickly made their way down the wire behind a slew of other tweets from all the tweeters you are following. That’s where the use of lists can come in handy. You can create lists within twitter and name them by category, slot all the different feeds into the categories and then view the feed for each category. Some of our lists (most of which I’ve left as publicly viewable if you’re interested – you can even subscribe to them) are “Social Media focused”, “Local Detroit / Michigan”, “Photography” and “Bloggers”.
5. Have fun and be smart about it. This is general advice but people often talk about how each new platform is just a new “time suck” – a way to keep themselves from being less productive. Pinterest for example can certainly be that way, but if you think about it as the virtual pinboard that it was designed to be then it can be useful – as if you were pinning things up on a board in your kitchen for use later. YouTube? Subscribe to the official channels of brands, people, teams, things that are of interest to you instead of just aimlessly searching for the new fun popular videos.
What are your favorite tips? Now it’s your turn to interact – remember?