Last fall, I decided to get my bearings in the world of social media by taking a class at my local community college. The class, “Social Media for Business,” included an overview and then hands-on sessions focusing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. There was also an introduction to the tools companies use to evaluate the impact of their social media presence. A lot of information was tossed around during those nine three-hour sessions, but thanks to my detailed notes, I was able to capture most of it. Here are some things that stayed with me:
#1. Send Seven Tweets a Day: My teacher, the former head of social media at A&P, suggested that one should tweet seven times per day. That includes several new tweets and a few retweets (incoming tweets that you forward to your own followers). He also suggested following 150 people and/or companies. I’m currently tweeting two or three times on a good day and following 90. Those people represent my main business and personal interests: children’s books (love @SLJournal and @CBCBook), sports, women’s issues, entertainment, friends, and a few celebrity tweeters. I’ve dropped some people who tweet too darned much about pointless things, like the singer who tweeted every minute of a three-hour car ride. And I continue to add folks who seem to have interesting things to say.
#2. In Twitter, Avoid Naked Links and Don’t Pander: (This is not nearly as naughty as it sounds.) Tweets may be only 140 characters long, but they still can have plenty of voice and personality. “Naked links” are tweets that are solely Web addresses, with no introduction, no extra information. They’re boring and annoying, almost as annoying as companies (and people representing products or companies) that pander to their customers. If your customer says, “I love your turkey sandwich,” don’t reply, “You have very good taste!” Say something useful like, “Try it on toasted bread,” or “That’s our best-selling lunch product.” Something that adds information.
#3. Get Demographic Info From Facebook: When you set up a Facebook page for a business (as opposed to a personal page), you gain access to all sorts of demographic information that Facebook hopes you will use to advertise your products on their site. You can find out how many Facebook users in your state or town or Zip Code like Glee, or Harry Potter, or The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie. You can find everyone on Facebook who ever worked for the companies you worked for (you also can do this on LinkedIn) or who shares your birthday. You can search this information to your heart’s content, and you never have to actually buy an ad. All that, and setting up a Facebook business page is free.
#4. Remember LinkedIn: Since social media is not an actual job for most of us, there’s only so much time we can spend posting and reading posts. But LinkedIn is a valuable professional resource and having a presence on the site can pay off in unexpected ways. A former acquaintance recently recommended me for a speaking gig at her new job because she’d been following the news about Wheels of Change through LinkedIn. And because you can program your tweets to show up on your LinkedIn profile page, you can keep the page lively without writing actual LinkedIn posts.
#5. Consider Haul Videos: This one isn’t a tip, it’s a head’s up. Until our YouTube class, I’d never heard of “haul videos.” In case you haven’t, either, they are videos in which young women (I haven’t seen any by young men) parade their purchases from a recent shopping trip for all to see. According to my teacher, haul videos represent the fastest-growing segment on YouTube. One enterprising video maker, juicystar07, has entertained close to a million viewers by showing off her winter wardrobe purchases and 1.4 million viewers by revealing her birthday haul. She’s put up so many videos that she had to add a second YouTube channel and she and her sister have started an online business selling makeup and fashion accessories. As of this month, her videos had over 172,000,000 total views. I could have written an entire blog post about haul videos. Do they signal the impending downfall of society or are they evidence of female ingenuity and empowerment? I'll leave it to you to watch a few and decide for yourselves.