The ABCs of Social Media

Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains ChristianWriters Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for SouthernWriters Magazine and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Social Media is as simple as ABC.

Social Media
doesn’t have to be
difficult. As a matter of fact it’s as simple as the ABCs. Trust me when I tell you that these tips can take you farther, faster if you implement them into
your social networking strategy.

A is for
Answer
. Think about the
questions your target audience has and use social media to give them the
answers. For instance, my followers want to learn how to use social networking
efficiently, so I Tweet short-cuts, tips and easy solutions that take up very
little time.
B is for
Basics
. Whatever you’re
doing, make it excellent. That means take time to check for typos and
readability, in your Tweets, Facebook posts and in your blog. Also be sure
you’re using giving accurate links. There’s nothing more frustrating than
clicking on a link that takes you nowhere.
C is for
Conversation
. Remember
social networking is all about interaction between people. It’s NOT talking at
them…it’s talking with them.
Keep focused on what you’re trying to accomplish.

D is for
Direction
. Think about
what you’re trying to accomplish and be deliberate.

E is for
Effort
. Social Networking
feels like it should be easy. But learning anew language is never done without
expending effort. 
F is for
Friends and Followers
. These
are the basis of your social interaction online. Don’t neglect them and only
chase new connections. Be true to this foundation and it will sustain you over
the long haul.
G is for
Google Alerts
. Google
alerts are one of your best social networking friends. You can set up alerts to
let you know when someone has mentioned you or a subject you’re interested in.
And best of all, it’s a free service. Just click Google Alerts  and follow the
instructions.  
H is for
Hashtags
. These are the
gems in the fields of Twitter. Learn to follow Hashtags and use them correctly
to increase your cyber-reach.
I is for
Include
. Include others
more often than yourself when you send out Tweets, Posts and Updates. The
litany of Me, Me, Me gets old fast in social networking.
J is for
Journey
. Social
networking is all about the journey and the joy of discovery. It’s NOT about
arriving at a static destination.
K is for KISS. KISS is an old-fashioned acronym for Keep
It Simple Stupid
. When you try to use too many different social
networking tools you can get overwhelmed. Stick to three or four that work and
leave the dabbling to others who aren’t working to become writers.
Use links correctly to increase online visibility.

L is for
Links
. Used correctly,
links or (hyperlinks)can increase your visibility and make your content much
more valuable to those who follow you.

M is for
Mobile
. In the social
networking world, more and more people view your blogs, tweets and Facebook
through a mobile device (phone, tablet, even e-reader). Make certain you’re
mobile friendly and all your sites are optimized for mobile viewing.
N is for
Nice
. Nice is the basic
etiquette for social networking. My grandmother would have loved social media
because the rules are simple—treat others the way you want to be treated.
O is for
Original
. Remember that original
is who you are. There isn’t another person like you anywhere. That is
the essence of your value, the way you see things, share things and interact is
filtered through you. Don’t be a copycat, be yourself.
P is for
Permission
. Just because
you see it online doesn’t mean it’s yours to borrow. Remember to respect the
rights of others and take time to learn a little about copyrights. 
Set a time limit for social networking and stick to it!

Q is for
Quit
. That’s right, quit.
Set a time limit for social networking and then quit when it’s reached. You’re
trying to be a writer, not a full-time marketing manager.

R is for
Reach
. Always look for
new places to reach new people. Comment on a new blog or follow  a friend
of a friend. 
S is for
Start
. Many people put
off social networking because they think it’s hard or unpleasant. You’ll never
know till you try (sorry, that’s my grandmother again).
T is for
Tease
. When you compose a
Blog Title, Tweet or Facebook post, don’t sum up your message. Use copywriting
techniques to write effective Headlines. Tease your audience with something
compelling that will encourage them to look further or interact with you and
each other. In other words, become a social networking flirt!
U is for
Understand
. Take time to
understand the social networking world. Learn the etiquette involved before you
run headlong into embarrassment.
V is for
Value
. This is ALWAYS the
basis of your message, no matter your social networking medium. Bring value to
your followers and they’ll be friends for life.
W is for Wait. There are lots of people out there who
are trying to sell you a shortcut to friends and followers. The problem is that
audience is fickle. Take time to build your network through value and personal
relationships and your numbers will mean something—to you and to potential
publishers.
Make certain the bones of your social
networking strategy are strong.

X is for
X-ray
. Make certain the
bones of your social networking strategy are strong. Take time to build a solid
framework and you’ll spend less time and get more results.

Y is for
YouTube
. Videos are
popular on Twitter, Facebook and in Blogs. Learn to leverage the use of videos
to add value and fun to your relationships.
Z is for Zoo. Yes the whole social media thing is a
bit of a zoo. I tell people truthfully, if you don’t feel like you’re behind in
learning everything then you’re doing something right. It doesn’t matter who
you are, NO ONE can know everything about social media, the field is just
expanding too quickly. 

Now it’s your
turn, what have you found most helpful with managing your social networking
connections?