Multiple choice question: A) Were you one of the nearly one million people who retweeted Ellen’s mega-star selfie taken during the Oscars? B) Have you found a favorite recipe or sweet vacation rental on Pinterest? C) Have you read thought-provoking insights from Influencers? D) Have you liked a friend’s video of their adorable dog on Facebook? Or, E) All of the above?
If you answered E, you are a social media sophisticate. If not, my primer will get you social media savvy in the time it takes to tweet your own selfie with some friends.
First and foremost, social media is not only for marketing and communication executives. Social media can help you connect with friends and colleagues around the corner or around the world, it can help you find a job or the perfect lavender plant for your garden, and it can help you keep abreast of local or global happenings.
If you’re not on social media, many of your friends are, 71% of online adults use Facebook, 22% use LinkedIn, 21% use Pinterest and 18% use Twitter.
Importantly, social media is social. Studies have shown that the average user of a social networking site is half as likely to be socially isolated as the average American.
So, get social, here’s a quick guide to the top social media sites:
Most of us have succumbed to the lure of Facebook. On Facebook we can “friend” everyone from grade school and high school acquaintances to distant relatives and old flames. On the Facebook News Feed we can view our “friends” latest news, thoughts, and pictures or we can share interesting videos or articles culled from the web.
Although a major part of Facebook is connecting with friends, most major brands and many smaller businesses, nonprofits, towns and celebrities have Facebook pages where you can get special deals or be the first to hear the latest news.
LinkedIn is recognized as the professional social network. You join LinkedIn, post your professional profile, friend colleagues and other contacts and utilize this network to seek jobs and/or business opportunities. Companies also have LinkedIn sites that can be a source of information for job seekers or business news.
My favorite part of LinkedIn is the LinkedIn Influencers program which brings together 300+ of the world’s top thought leaders to share their professional insights with LinkedIn’s members.
Pinterest is not just for brides-to-be and want-to-be wedding planners. Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board where your can “pin” or post images and videos that you have found on the web. It’s like a virtual collage. You can pin from images found on the Pinterest platform (other members boards). Or, by downloading a “pin it” button on your task bar, you can pin an image from anywhere on the web.
You can organize multiple boards. I have recipe, gardening, travel, home ideas and inspiration boards. The most popular pinboards across Pinterest are “Home”, “Arts and Crafts”, “Style” and “Food.” You can follow other pinners’ boards as well. Ellen DeGeneres, Katie Couric and Oprah are active pinners who have thousands of pins and followers.
Twitter is a social messaging service where you post thoughts or observations in a text message of up to 140 characters. These messages are tweets. You tweet to your followers, who have agreed to follow you and see all of your tweets. Think of tweets as a conversation where everyone in your circle can hear what you have to say. Photos, videos or complete articles can be uploaded into a tweet and are relabeled with a Twitter-specific URL shortener.
Hashtags are a way to label tweets so that other users can see tweets on the same topic. Hashtags contain no spaces or punctuation and begin with a “#” symbol. If you search #Oscars2014 you can read some of the thousands of tweets, many of which include pictures, relating to the 2014 Oscars.
This year’s Oscar’s became a trending topic, that is when a word, phrase or topic becomes extremely popular on Twitter. It is then displayed in a list of other trending topics on Twitter’s home page. Trending topics change frequently.
You can follow fellow Twitterers, I follow Main Line Media News for real time updates on local news. Their tweets on road closures were particularly helpful during this year’s winter storms. On the lighter side, following comedians like Jimmy Fallon allows you to share in their hilarity with tweets of their best jokes and skits.
#noexcusesnow, #getsocial, #connectwithsocialmedia.