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managing your social media profile

Whether you’re conscious of it or not, everything you do online impacts your reputation and either builds or detracts from your ‘social influence’. You see it every time you log onto Facebook, Twitter, or any one of the other social networks – people sharing their thoughts, ideas, pictures or videos – your impression of each person you connect with is based on their activity. Similarly, your reputation is inextricably tied to what you do, say and share which is why it’s incredibly important to understand how it all works.

Whether you’re online casually or building a professional profile, you need to be considering the following points:

1. Expose yourself

First identify your target audiences, the people you want to connect with, and then find out which online networks they use. Facebook, Twitter, MXit, LinkedIn, etc all have slightly different demographics and audiences and, because you can’t do it all, you have to choose wisely.

Once you’ve made the choice expose yourself. Build your profile, fan pages, YouTube channels – whatever connects best with your audience. You’ll be able to tell what types of content work best by simply testing what gets the most attention. Remember, you’re directly connected so they’ll tell you what they like and what they want more of. The rule though is to be constantly creating and sharing great content.

2. Become more connected than a bowl of spaghetti

Because of the networking structure of these sites, the essence of it is to share information across networks of people who share similar interests. As people comment and interact on your profile, people in their network are able to also see what is being said, thus expanding your own network of fans. The most beneficial element of this is that these networks are friends of friends of friends, and recommendations from friends are always more credible. The more networked you become, the more the network will work for you.

3. Follow the basic guidelines

Achieving success online is not a science. Many different people, from different industries have achieved different forms of success using different methods. While there are no steadfast rules, the following guidelines are the most common threads:

“Share, share and share some more”

The most valuable online currency is content. Use every opportunity available to share your knowledge and insights via engaging content: written, video, audio, pictures. Content is king and your pieces of content are the focal points around which your communities will gather so create often and share freely.

 “As you would be in person”

Conduct yourself as you would if you were face-to-face, which hopefully means you’ll be polite and avoid alienating people. You may come across many different types of people who may be starting out with little or no knowledge of your industry or someone who has been involved for years who just wants some advise / insight.

“Honesty is the best policy”

If you are asked about a topic about which you do not have adequate knowledge, it is probably better to tell the user that you can’t help them. If they act on your recommendation and have a bad experience this impacts negatively on you, damaging your online brand.

“Relevance and reality”

As most of what you have to share is based on your own experiences, (unless of course you are qualified) people have to understand that what works for one may not work for all. Be clear in your communications that ‘in your experience’ a certain technique or method was a success or not. Anyone could be reading your posts so be aware of this when writing so nothing can be misunderstood. It might be worth your while to investigate adding a disclaimer to your blog or Facebook Fanpage.

“Be present”

Your fans and followers are going to interact and it will need to be two-way. This is a good thing because interaction is like oxygen to fire. The more you interact, answer questions, or simply respond and acknowledge the more committed and loyal your followers will be and the quicker your community will grow. Interaction is at it’s highest when new content is first shared so if you post a new blog or load a new video you must make sure you have the time to interact straight after loading the new content.

“Integrate and cross pollinate”

If you have more than one social presence (and you probably already do), try to integrate the audiences and cross pollinate. Post your videos on your YouTube channel but also share the link of your Facebook page and Tweet about it. Just keep in mind that they are different audiences so not everything should be cross-posted, but on the whole, integrated networks greatly improve your audience reach and influence.

“Content is King”

I’ve already said that but I’m saying it again so you know how important it is. You can’t just show up and expect people to flock to your awesomeness. Create great content, share your knowledge and get yourself out there.

Those are my top tips for building a strong social media presence. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @kellrodney or comment below.