I have a little love affair with social media and if you follow me on Twitter, you might know that. When I teach people about Twitter and social media (that’s part of my job), I always encourage them to integrate it into their regular lives.

Make a habit of tweeting about what’s going on…not just what you’re eating for lunch but what you see, feel, hear, do. Report your own life!

Sometimes I Instagram from a wedding, tweet from Africa or opine on the latest presidential debate!

When you use social media for promoting your professional work or any kind of message you want the masses to hear, it’s much easier and more effective if it’s already a part of your life.

If people enjoy reading which articles you recommend, seeing a photo of you running or like your commentary, they are more likely to help you promote something when you need it — because they already LIKE you and want to help!

I recently delivered a presentation to some folks attempting to really take advantage of social media for their businesses and organizations. I thought some of my readers might benefit from what I shared with the group as well.

The Social Media Pie

I think about social media — both for my personal blog here and my professional job at Heritage — as a  big communications pie. You need all the pieces to make it whole. Here are some of the pieces in my pie:

  • Facebook: Post only 1-2 times per day, run ads, focus on images, interact, headline writing counts.
  • Twitter: Personality! Posting frequently, reply regularly, be witty, use images, case study strategy. The anatomy of a tweet matters!
  • Tumblr: Spend time getting to know/understand the Tumblr community before you start using it like any other social medium. It’s ironic, edgy, sarcastic — the outcast crowd but cool.
  • YouTube: No one can resist clicking the triangle “play” button. Make videos — even simple ones!
  • Pinterest: Images matter! Make sure you are using them in everything you do & reaching the wider audience here.
  • Google Plus – Google says it matters so it does. Your Google Plus postings are more likely to show up in Google searches and live online longer.
  • Instagram – A behind-the-scenes, more intimate look at you, your organization, etc.
Every well-established and growing social medium deserves your attention. It is there you have the opportunity to reach people in a new kind of audience, in a new kind of way.  Some – like Facebook and Twitter – deserve more of your attention than others. But it depends on your goals so start making some!

Each social medium has its own personality, so to speak, and you should spend some time learning to understand the community, the language and the “manners” of that social medium. Once you have the basics down, it’s easy to adapt your information and material to the medium.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the social media out there but making a simple checklist will be helpful in make sure you hit all the marks.
With my blogger credentials at a conference in DC.

 7 Practices for All-Around Social Media Gold

1. Knowing the Medium and the Community Well. What issues get our fans most fired up? What are the hot words and topics to make them take notice and SHARE the message with others?

2. Asking for Action. Ask your community to comment, favorite, like, click, reply, share, etc. on specific items.  Sometimes all it takes is a prompt.

3. Engagement. Especially when you are just starting out or have a small fan base, this is important. You don’t have to spend hours on it but take 10 minutes each morning and afternoon to reply to tweets, messages, comments, etc.

4. IMAGES. Images are the most shared, commented, liked, etc. Customize your images with quotes, purchased photos or your own photos or Photoshop creations.  Think about what YOU would click “like” on on Facebook and create it.

5. Have Social Media Manners. Promote like-minded people and organizations. Tag your speakers’ handles on Facebook & Twitter, RT those you agree with, ask your friends at other places to RT you or help share your material somehow. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

6. Get Real. Social media may be online but interacting with the real, live people behind the screen is important. That means becoming your own coalitions advocate by attending meetings/gatherings where you will meet those running things at other organizations, online citizen warriors, community leaders who have social media accounts and can help promote you – as well as making contacts with those that work at the social media platform itself!

7. Bloggers are your friends. You need to have an email list of relevant bloggers and/or other media that are your “go-to” people when you have a message to deliver. By sending out a quick, punch email with information and a few action items (please retweet, like on Facebook, repin on Pinterest, etc.) with all the links included, you have an immediate base to get the message going.

Hanging out with some bloggers at another blogging conference. Definitely helps!

MUST REMEMBER: People using social media are doing it for their pleasure and entertainment. You must keep that mindset when you are preparing to spread your message with these tools. My best recommendation is to use personal accounts (if you are doing it for your business or organization) to know and understand what ways will best hit users.

QUESTION: Do you have any social media secrets that have contributed to your success? 
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