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Social media is a term most of us are familiar with. Its now used by most companies and online papers for marketing purposes and has opened up many new job titles such as, ‘social media manager’, that are unique to our generation. Whether you use Facebook and other social media accounts to promote your new blog, business, product or brand name or just as a social tool for keeping in touch with friends, it’s good to know how to make it work for you. In your social media sites you are creating a virtual version of yourself, you are ‘branding’ yourself, whether you realize it or not. Your brand is your reputation, your complete package, your message, what you offer and what you represent. I’ve just attended one of the National Union of Journalists’ training seminars on social media. Here are a few sound tips and tricks I picked up on how to make the most of your virtual self-portrait.

Before I discuss how to use social media, here’s a word of warning; don’t let Facebook and other social media sites take your precious time away from real socializing. Remember that getting out there, meeting people and doing things is where life is at. At the end of your year, you will remember the people you met and the things you did, not the hours you spent ‘chatting’ in front of your computer screen. If you’re frittering away your time virtually, every time you get online, ask yourself if it’s really what you need/want to be doing or if there’s a better way to spend your day.

That being said, when used correctly, social media can be a fantastic tool for connecting with people, whether you’re using it for private or commercial purposes.

Here are a few general guidelines for your posting content. DO – post content that is fun/humorous, short, concise, homespun, positive, uplifting, inoffensive, audience appropriate and envy invoking.

DON’T post stuff that is cheesy, has too much text, is boring and offensive to share.

As much as possible, provide an image to go with your content. You want to share anything in a way that drives engagement. Interest in your site is generated when you post attractive, interesting visual images much more than through posting plain text. Use social media to get people to engage with you and find people with similar of interests by talking about what you are interested in.

If you are using social media for career networking or commercial purposes, remember that it’s all about using social sites with strategy. Identify your target audience and what it is that they are interested in, then simply talk about their interests. Find out what pages people from your target audience have liked, and post on these pages as a way of linking you to your audience. In the fast-changing world of social media it’s not a case of, ‘if you build it they will come.’ You may have the best product out there, but if you don’t bring your product to your audience, they will likely never find it. So find out where your audience hangs out online, what their interests are, what pages they like, and bring your product to them in a friendly, sociable manner.


I hope you can use these tips to make social media work for you and have fun using it!

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