Social media can become overwhelming very fast.
If you’ve been hesitant to dive in to social networking, but are now committed to taking the plunge, here are basic steps for building your online social media presence.
Outline your time commitment and desired outcomes
• Define your target audience and what types of information you’re trying to share with them.
• Decide who you want to invite to connect with you.
• Establish a baseline for how frequently you’ll post/update and when you’ll check and respond to messages and comments.
Tips for creating your online presence
• Consistency in naming is very important, because these key terms will allow others to search and find you online. Your online name can be your actual name, a nickname or a phrase to establish your personal brand. The key is to choose one name and consistently use it across all sites without varying the spelling or spacing.
• Be consistent in your avatar image, as well, whether it be a headshot, bio illustration or design you have created. Select an image that stand out in a way that is memorable yet professional.
• Buy your domain name (.com and/or .net) if it’s still available. This URL will be a great place to build your own website and establish an email address that will remain the same no matter how many times your change jobs. If you choose to have Google Apps host your website, the cost is roughly $10 a year, which covers hosting, rights to the domain name, and full email access — a fantastic deal. Even if you don’t have the time or resources to flesh out a webpage, buy your domain name to prevent others from using it in undesirable or negative ways.
Maximize shared information, minimize the it takes to keep connected
• Facebook — Spend 10 minutes reviewing your newsfeed at the end of each day. See what others are talking about, get a recap of the day’s events, and keep your finger on the pulse of your community. Also review the events section to see what new events have been posted, which events are soon approaching, and which events you might want to attend.
• LinkedIn — Look over the list of profile updates once a day. Keep relationships strong by sending a congratulatory note to connections who have recently updated their job positions. If you’re an iPhone user, I highly recommend getting the CardMunch app, which allows users to scan business cards with the phone, automatically formatting the data to allow you to easily export the information to contact lists and connect on LinkedIn.
• Twitter — Use Twitter primarily for sharing time-sensitive information or spark interest in upcoming events. Check Twitter more than once a day only if you’re promoting an event, watching for news on a specific topic, or viewing what hot topics are currently trending.
After you’ve established your online presence through a personal website, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, follow your interest where it takes you to determine how much more involved you want to get.
Keep an eye on how much time you are spending on your social media accounts and force yourself to take a break from them for a few days if you feel like maintaining them has become overwhelming.
Tim Huebsch is a community connector who has served in leadership roles with organizations throughout the Twin Cities and across the nation. His experiences and more details can be found on his website or on Leadership and Community, where he is a regular contributor.