October 11, 2010

The Social Medium: Common Mistakes on Social Media

1) Don't be impatient.

Social media and your online presence is a long-term investment. Do not expect to take the world by storm online within a few weeks or months and if you do, it probably will not last. Like anything, you need to build up credibility and a good reputation. People like to see an reputatble accumulation of quality content.

2) Don't create without content.

Content is king. I see a lot of go-getters and web enthusiasts trying to create multimedia networks or a bunch of interrelated websites instead of focusing on one good one then branching out. Do one thing well first and then expand your ideas and spread your presence from there. Or sometimes, people spend way too much on design and the superficial looks of their blog or website but lack any substantive content.

If you want to get noticed online, you need high quality, valuable content that no one cannot get anywhere else. Content will keep people coming back.

3) Take it easy. Don't burnout.

A lot of people get gung ho on social media, sign up for all the services, post and update like mad for a few days or week and then fade away. They lose interest. Take your time. Choose one application or service, research it, make a goal of what you want to get out of it and then do it. Success is very hard to measure online so be careful. Make a plan, stick to it, and build up your presence slowly. When you start to see results, it will come all at once.

4) Avoid meaningless titles.

Be clever about job titles or career objectives but stay away from things like social media guru, ninja, the  title "entrepreneur" without any context (unless you can make it mean something), or other meaningless titles. Your title should say something about exactly who you are, what you do, want to do, or are studying to do. Be specific.

Example: Writer and blogger, my friend Steffani Cameron (aka @smuttysteff) labels herself as "writer chick + content stylist" on her website. I thought this was very original as it said something about who she is and what she does, but with a clever twist. I even stole the idea for RickChung.net, calling myself a "culture vulture + media stylist". However, I mainly brand myself as a "Broadcast Journalist" (on my business cards) as per my professional training. I let my other skills and areas of interest like social media speak for themselves.

5) Don't be a dick.

Seriously, don't do it, just don't. You can be honest, be yourself, be critical, but don't be a dick. The nuance of language, discussion, and language can be lost online. Be careful not to offend or rub anyone the wrong way outwardly. People talk online and in real life about other people all the time. If you use people or talk down to them, you will develop a poor reputation fast. Social networking is all about developing and facillitating positive relationships online and in real life. There is no problem with mutually benefitical favours and collaboration as long as its transparent and straightforward. If someone gives to you, give back to them or someone else. People notice others who are open and nice and who is not.

Photo | Hans Gerwitz

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