If you were born between 1980 and 1996, you are in the Millennial Generation. This means you have always been around home computing and remember life before it became common-place. Being brought up with digital technology has led us all to embrace the new ways of doing things that modern technology allows. We're not apprehensive of software, and we love to play with gadgets. Some of us even know how to program or build the stuff we all use. Social Media has completely changed the world.
The free gifts of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and all the others has moved the whole world towards openness, fairness, and equality. We have become empowered, with audiences reaching into the billions, our message has become louder than ever before. So, how does this change the way we interact and see each other? Part of the phenomenon of text based communication is the lack of body language, lack of social connection, and lack of knowing. We perhaps envisage the people being themselves while talking, we assume what they must be feeling, and the emotional background to their words. We inflect for people, project our own perceptions onto their script and look for validation. It's only normal, don't worry.
We do need to take all this into account though when working on social media. An extremely powerful tool that helps people find employment, friends, and opportunity will quickly become your worst enemy if you don't treat it properly. Needless to say, Alternative Fruit readers are well natured and mannered individuals. But let's be honest, it's not always possible to know exactly what we look like to others, even when we do everything to control it. We must learn to avoid certain types of behaviour that could be interpreted as negative. People won't want your services or products if they interpret you badly. These tips can help minimise this.
De-clutter your feed! It's nice to share people's posts and it's cool to show everyone your family picture, but keep it tidy! An unrelated post doesn't help your career, so always think before pressing submit. Does this matter to me, does it matter to my followers? Only if it's a double yes can you be totally sure of a non-messy post. Imagine scrolling a feed of a famous newspaper and every few items is something random, or a pile of unrelated things just left without explanation. It's unprofessional right? You think to yourself, why did they post this? To be taken seriously, we have to be able to appear as professional as the professionals. Don't feel bad about deleting posts from before, especially if they don't have relevance to your goal. Tip: Deleting other people's posts is not advisable because it can upset them. Complaints and real issues must be left alone or you face a serious backlash. Cyber bullying, name calling, and unfair remarks can of course be sent to the void. A real complaint is polite.
Be bold, come alive. Silent observers don't get any attention. If you don't come out of your shell and begin interacting, demonstrating your work, and making friends with people in your trade, then you'll lose the entire point of networking. Keeping a secret list of great artists or brilliant writers but never interacting with them makes you a fan, not a colleague. Sure, it's a bit scary when someone who is as good as you are comes along and produces content but we're all adults, this isn't a sports competition. Just be nice,
That's another thing. Be nice, always. We don't like being subjected to negativity, self-doubt, reasons why we won't want to pay you for service. Like you, if I'm going to buy someone's service then I want to find a person who is rewarding to be around - Someone who it is a pleasure to do business with. Negative people, moaning people, unconfident and undermining people, manipulative and pushy people, none of these are welcome in a professional workplace. Before you post something, ask if it advertises you or does the opposite. Avoid getting emotional, political, and religious. These things often lack rational thought in favour of hunches and societal grooming. We won't do ourselves any favours by insisting on matters of faith or social conscience. We're all different.
Always be aware of what it is you are for. I know you're a human and there's more to you than what you do for others, but this is a career move. Always be aware of what it is you are offering, why you are offering it, and what you want in return. Keep to these principles and always come back to them when you're drawn off the line. You may have a great page with people interacting with you all day long, but does it make you money? Is it related to making money, ie. Advertising. If it isn't then why are you posting it? We chose this as our job, not a lilly-pad to swat flies from.
That's just the point, we can't eat likes. Likes and interactions help the software to know that it's worth sharing the content again. The likes directly feed into the system and increase the chances of your post being put on someone else's newsfeed. They provide social proof to your validity but they don't equate into pounds and pence. Only sales and contracts do that. So, please stop rating yourself by how many likes you have. They are a means to an end and unless we are reaching that end, then they really don't count for anything. A successful ad can have zero likes and shares but hundreds or thousands of link clicks, each one a visitor to your site.
Quality not quantity. We want followers and connections that matter. OK so we don't get to choose who follows or adds us up, but we can choose who we are writing for, who we are aiming to attract. When we advertise our brand, target the people that like the sort of thing you do. Maybe try a few tangents, ballet fans might like horse-riding for example, it's always worth a shot but always be aware of who you are targeting and try to avoid collecting people who really are not going to be interested. A funny meme about something in the news can be really successful, but are these same people the ones who will love your work? Probably not. Remember that most people are looking for their own opportunity, so avoid becoming just another fish. It's always a two way street. We have to give and take. Just giving or just taking will not get you very far.
You need to have something people can visit outside of social media. In 2020, one of my pages was censored. All the posts and links were removed. Luckily, it was just a Facebook page and not my actual website. I did lose a lotof great contacts, though. Now imagine if I had decided to build the whole thing on Facebook? It would have all been taken away. Dig deep and build roots that go way beyond the social profile. Then keep copies on your drive too, because if your site goes down for some reason, all is not lost.
There is nothing wrong with taking a few days off. People won't forget about you if you have a break. It is better to hold off for six months and post something brilliant than post some random stuff everyday then not have the energy to do the brilliant thing. A lot of people feel compelled to show up and do their best even when they're not up to the job. We're not contracted to show up and post stuff, it is always because we have a direct purpose. So stop treating it like a prison sentence!
So social media sites are an infinite well of continual distraction. We can use it for networking, research, and building up our fan-base, but we can also become a consumer very quickly. It's alright to consume, nothing bad about it, but we're meant to be at work here. This is our job, directly related to our holiday abroad, our food bill, and our car tax. So although watching the cute animals is rewarding, it's also something you'd get fired for. If you could get fired for the way you use social media, you're not using it properly.
Finally, always know what it is you are offering and why. Mentioned before and mentioned again now, it's imperative that your audience knows what to expect from you and why they would visit your page. It has to be relevant, considerate of the audience, two sided and full of interaction. Your page is designed to advertise your professional services or simply your likeable personality so make sure that you know what that is exactly, and what your method of promoting yourself is going to be based on. People want to have a consistent experience or they won't choose you next time. Consistently random is not bad, provided it is consistent and random for a reason. Writing cues or quirky art images for example can be as random as you like, as long as they fit the theme.
So that's it, social media marketing is something we all do naturally. Of course we want people to view us in the best light. With these tips we can just do a bit more the ensure that we only give off the right impression. What do you dislike seeing on people's feeds? Anything you disagree with in this list? Let us know in the comments, we'd love to hear from you.
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