When I talk to artists, designers, and photographers about social media, most confess that they feel there just isn't enough time in the day to spend on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest. In many cases, social media can be a full-time job. With so many different networks to master, it is easy to become overwhelmed. That is why it is important to get the most from social media sites in the few hours or minutes per week that you do have to spend on them.
I am a long-time social media user and run the social media for Psdtuts+, as well as my own personal accounts. Over the years, I've learned quite a bit about what it takes to be successful on social media sites and in this article, I would like to share a few tips to help you get the most from these social networks.
Before we begin, it's important to note that social media can help you in primarily two ways; to meet new people, and to consume or to disseminate information. In order to be successful at both, there are a handful of simple tasks that you can perform to help make your time and effort on social media sites much more worthwhile.
1. Actively Follow New People
If you would like to get the most out of your social media experience, it is very important to follow enough of the right people. There is a tendency for many social media users to become complacent over time and to stop following new people. If you limit the number of people you follow to a select group, you are insulating yourself from information. To get the most from social media, you need to constantly reach out to and connect to new users in order to receive a diverse amount of information.
Finding new people to follow can be challenging however. There are several things that you can do to find new followers but there is one technique that I have found that works the best for me; I call it the Breadcrumb Technique.
The Breadcrumb Technique involves using some users as gateways to others. To use this technique, simply find a person or website that you enjoy and follow other users that they follow or communicate with. In real life this would be equivalent to befriending people that your friends are friends with. I like this technique because the people that I find are more likely to share common interests with me as well as other people that I follow. Those interests could include a love for Photoshop, graphic design, photography, or even something as simple as knowing the same people.
While the Breadcrumb Technique is great, it only works if you are constantly on the look out for new people to follow. If you stop paying attention or become complacent, it will stop being a useful way to find new followers. Remember, finding new people to follow is a long-term process and is not something you'll be able to do over the course of a couple of days or weeks. In fact, it's something you should spend years doing.
To get the most from social media, you need to constantly reach out to and connect to new users.
2. Share What Interests You
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then sharing something on social media is the nicest thing that you can do. As mentioned earlier, social media has two main functions, to meet people, and to help consume or spread information. Sharing something on a social network is one thing that you can do to accomplish both tasks at the same time. By sharing someone's post you're not only telling that person how much you like what they have to say, but you're also sharing that information with the people that you know. This means that you'll not only get the attention and appreciation of the original content creator, but you'll also become even more valuable to the people that follow you.
3. Leave Comments
While liking and sharing other people's content on social media is a great way to interact with them, likes and shares are only good for one-way communication. If you truly want to meet and make friends with someone on a social network, the best way to do this is to actually talk to them. Leave them a comment or simply reply to their tweet. Tell them what you think of their post, or even ask them a question. While most users love to count their own content's likes and shares, what they are really looking for is an engaging conversation.
4. Like and Favorite Everything
If your goal on social media is to meet new people, it is important to actively like and favorite everything you actually like. One of the biggest mistakes that people make on social media is that they don't spend enough time liking and favoriting things. To get the most out of social media, it's not enough to read someone's updates; you also need to acknowledge that you've read it, by either liking or favoriting their post.
Why is this important? It's important because most social networks send users notifications every time someone likes or favorites their posts. These notifications are a great way to help you connect, and eventually, users will begin to recognize and hopefully interact with you.
Liking and favoriting things are also great ways to leave a comment without actually having to leave a comment. While comments are certainly the most effective way to interact with someone on social media networks, sometimes, you will find that a comment either isn't an appropriate response or that you don't actually have anything meaningful to say. In that case, a like or favorite is the perfect response. Another thing to note is that there is such a thing as being excessive. Try to like and favorite things appropriately. You don't want to come across as too aggressive.
5. Don't Spread Yourself Too Thin
Some social media users will tell you that it is important to have a presence on every social media network. For some users that might be true, but for most of us, you need to use your time more wisely. A large brand with a social media team can easily manage several social media accounts. Unfortunately, most of us don't have a team of community managers to rely on, most us have to manage these accounts on our own.
To get the most of your social media experience, focus your attention to just a handful of social networks. Figure out which networks are best for you and focus your energy there. If you create lots of digital artwork, then you might find it best to focus on Twitter, Facebook, and possibly other sites like Behance. If you create lots of video content, then you might want to use Youtube, as well.
When I joined my first social network back in 2005, I had no idea what I was in for. Social media changed my life in more ways than I could have imagined. It helped me to land a great job, it taught me what it takes to build and promote a successful website, but most importantly, it helped to me to meet a lot of amazing people.
To be successful on these social networks, it is important to do more than just consume information. You have to reach out to and interact with people. For artists, designers, and photographers, that means seeking out people that share your interests, sharing interesting things with them, and actively communicating with people in your network. While many of these tips might sound like common sense to the average social media power user, it's important for users to not get complacent and just use social media as a way to consume information. By surrounding yourself with like-minded people and immersing yourself into the conversation, you are much more likely to get the most from your social media experience.