Lilac and Lime

Contrasts in colour, contrasts in life – Mary Bruce

Making the social media “A” list

[Published in the OSALL newsletter of January 2014]

Love it or hate it, social media has changed the way we interact on a business and personal level and indeed how the world perceives us individually. Advice abounds on how to handle the extended horizons and conduct ourselves in full view of a much larger audience than ever before. I have recently read a few articles that provide practical guidelines on how particular platforms can be used to our advantage and some tips on adjusting settings that could work against us.

One of the forums that crosses effortlessly between work and play is Twitter. It is by far the most useful social media platform I use and it is always worth knowing if one can do more to optimize the benefits and give back to the greater community at the same time.

10 Twitter tips & tricks to keep your followers engaged1 was written two weeks ago and offers useful tips on the use of images and type of content, making use of statistics to bring home the author’s points, for example : using images has been found to increase the rate of Retweets by 94% ; using quotes increases Retweets by 10%. Three factors the author suggests we consider when deciding on the content of our posts are : will it “trigger feelings”, is it newsworthy, and will it surprise our readers? We are also reminded of the importance of participation : Twitter is about interaction, not just distribution. The article offers practical advice on the use of hashtags and suggests using software to distribute posts at a time when most followers will see them. It also offers guidelines on the perennial matters of how often to post and how long tweets should be, suggesting that 70 to 100 characters constitutes the ideal length. Have you considered what impact too little tweeting will have on your profile? Among the comments at the end of the article, one reader raises a question about the impact of the background and header image. All in all, this article offers a lot of grist for one’s social media mill.

Developing personality and tone on social is vital : here’s how to do it2 focuses on effectively representing one’s brand on social media, giving consideration to displaying human qualities and opinions. I suggest that any of us who tweet on behalf an employer read this article and discuss it with relevant colleagues.

Tips for live tweeting an event : before, during and afterwards3 appeared on the ever interesting Grubstreet blog during February. This is the most concise advice I’ve read on the topic, from what information to research and have at hand, keeping up with last minute changes to the programme, who is at the podium, the type of images and links to tweet, to the conclusion and follow-up.

Moving along to LinkedIn . . .

Try Googling yourself and notice how much significance the rankings give to your LinkedIn profile. Take control of what people will know about you.

Lawyers and LinkedIn : a necessity for survival4 is written by an attorney in America. He tells us why he thinks “LinkedIn is the best place for an attorney to get his/her feet wet in the world of social media”. One of the statistics he refers to in encouraging attorneys to use the platform is this : “Last year, LexisNexis reported that 76% of adult Internet users in the US utilized online resources when hiring an attorney”. This article advises his target audience to use social networks to “build trust and credibility”. Within LinkedIn, he joins the chorus of online recommendations to personalise one’s URL. He advocates the judicious use of relevant groups, recommends actively participating in these forums, explains how to send meaningful invitations and to whom. The article includes advice on posting updates.

On the matter of taking control of what your audience sees, LinkedIn settings mistakes people still make5 tells us how to use LinkedIn’s auto-update settings to our advantage. Unless one changes the default settings, people to whom we are connected are going to receive a notification everytime we make an amendment to our profile. As one might well make more than one change during an editing session, consider the effect on those receiving updates you may not even be aware were sent.

Unfortunately there is no setting that can prevent individuals from exaggerating the extent of their experience and influence but doing so does not create a good impression with those in the know. The writer also tells us how to hide constant updates from people who know no moderation on the publishing front.

She draws extensively on the experiences of Wayne Breitbarth who advises readers “to take a few minutes now, at the start of the year, to make sure your LinkedIn settings are in line with your business and personal strategy”.

And now for something forward-looking and rather sobering : The scary and amazing future of work6. The phrase “the nature of work itself is changing for knowledge workers” near the top of the article caught my eye. Whether or not you fully embrace the predictions made by the author, his insights are interesting and attracted a barrage of comments. He speaks of a “torrent of information-sharing within companies” but also predicts “the intrusion that companies will increasingly make into our lives and the burnout we will suffer from always being at the beck and call of our employers”.

With the second quarter of the year looking us in the eye, best wishes for the rest of 2014.

1 10 Twitter tips & tricks to keep your followers engaged. Katerina Petropoulou. 18 February 2014
http://twittercounter.com/blog/2014/02/10-ways-to-keep-your-twitter-followers-engaged/
2 Developing personality and tone on social is vital : here’s how to do it. John Beale. 8 October 2013
http://memeburn.com/2013/10/developing-personality-and-tone-on-social-is-vital-heres-how-to-do-it/
3 Tips for live tweeting an event : before, during and afterwards. Anne Taylor on Grubstreet. 10 February 2014
http://grubstreet.co.za/2014/02/10/tips-for-live-tweeting-an-event-before-during-and-afterwards/
4 Lawyers and LinkedIn : a necessity for survival. Brad Friedman. 10 October 2013
http://socialmediatoday.com/bradfriedman/1807756/lawyers-and-linkedin-necessity-survival
5 LinkedIn settings mistakes people still make. Cheryl Conner. 25 January 2014
http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2014/01/25/the-important-linkedin-settings-most-people-miss/
6 The scary and amazing future of work. Vivek Wadhwa. 18 November 2013
http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20131118143419-8451-the-scary-and-amazing-future-of-work

Mary Bruce

Opinions expressed in this column are my own and not necessarily those of my employer.

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