A little while back I wrote about there being no “I” in social media. The gist of it was that social media isn’t about the me, it’s about the we. What I can do for you to help you and your needs, not what you will do for me and have nothing in return. Simply, being there for each other and to encourage greatness.
Looking back at that post, while I’m not changing the message in it or my belief that we’re all in it together, I’d also say that there are I’s in social media. Specifically, four – and each one offers something for either personal or professional use of social media.
- Identify. There are so many different social media tools and applications that it can often be like trying to work your way around a maze. So many different turns to take, easy to get lost with all the options available – which is why it’s important to take the time to identify what will work for you. Decide what you want from social media and then use the appropriate tools. Chris Brogan makes an excellent point in helping you identify your needs in one of his blog posts.
- Identity. Having an easily identifiable brand is key for anyone both online and off. Although this is usually applicable to business, personal branding offers an invaluable way of building a reputation as someone to go to for a certain niche. So your identity should be the same across whatever platforms you use – from bio, to profile, to picture, to logo – keeping the same identity across social media platforms will help people remember you more easily.
- Invest. There’s an old saying that says, “You get out of it what you put into it.” While this can be used for most topics, it’s particularly true of social media. It’s not something you can dip into now and again – it changes too fast for that. Instead, to really see the fruits of your labour, you need to invest time into it. Social media is all about building relationships – and just like relationships in real life, the best ones take time to foster. Use this mindset with social media, place proper investment into it, and you’ll see the benefits fall into place.
- Interact. It may seem an obvious thing to say, but there are only two words in social media and one of them is social. Yet still so many people – businesses, usually, more than individuals – are missing this key fact. Instead of simply broadcasting yourself, interact with the community and actively take part in social media. Read and comment on blogs, both inside and outside your niche; converse on Twitter instead of just spamming your latest blog post or affiliate deal; share helpful news with people instead of keeping it to yourself for your own benefit.
Social media can often be a difficult thing to navigate, with different uses for different people. One thing it is to everyone, though, is a wonderful communication tool. Actually being social will help you understand and enjoy it even more.