Social media truths I wish I knew 5 years ago

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Social media waits for no one.I learnt the truth the hard way.  Social media has catapulted many into popularity and success and has also been the downfall of many. Would you believe I have been on most social networks  (Blogger,Facebook, twitter)  since 2009?  I had the advantage of knowing about these networks early but didn't use them regularly till 2015 when I finally understood how they work. Almost a  6-year waste. I just registered them and left them without taking no action.
  In fact, am yet to fully comprehend the unlimited possibilities that exist with the proper use of the social media platforms but am learning.  Most people think Facebook is just for sharing pictures, finding new relationships and keeping tabs on other people's lives. But let me tell you, it is the greatest platform where millions of dollars are made everyday. 
While some individuals are multimillionaires just by understanding how Facebook and other online media works and put it to good use, others surf the net to  browse, read gossip,post negative comments and anonymously win the Internet troll of the year award .The former group understand the basic principles of  social media success : TIMELY POSTS, CONSISTENCY AND  RELEVANCE. They continuously make money at the expense of the later. 
So here are ten social media truths I wish I knew years earlier,but if acted on will increase your social media visibility and  keep you relevant always.

1.  Follow your instinct :

When I started, there were so many ideas I had to share, but was skeptical about reception and  now they are just part of the many posts that will  remain unshared. You should not tame your ideas or put a block on your expression. Its all part of who you are. No one can determine what post will go viral, receive backlash or be totally ignored.  Its good to be sensible,yet many social media users are popular for their controversy ,humor, funny quotes, while others just because they share good advice.If  you are considering building a long term brand,  you will want to choose carefully what you put out there online, once it's there, you cant take it back. Even when you delete,someone might have screen munched it. Everything and anything can be shared but make Your ideas stand out. If you don't feel comfortable or want to be associated with any post,video, image, then do not share it. Remember, your posts are an extension of your voice, thoughts or feelings, if you do not share them at the right time, its either you forget or they lose relevance.My advice, keep a record of whatever you wish to share, if its a blog post, do a draft and reread. Stand out with your own uniqueness ( See Tonto Dikeh, DonJazzy, Tolu Ogunlesi). BE YOU!!

2.  Engagement is key :

Co-linking,thank yous, Mentions, co-shares,likes, comments, replies, Proper use of hashtags,participating  in discussions is key to successfully engaging an  audience. Sometimes I don't reply to comments which is bad  especially if someone expresses a view different from mine, my silence indicates that I agree with whatever he/she has said. I cringed every time I remember how many messages I forgot to reply, people's emails and numbers I didn't keep, some of them would have come in handy now.  Converse,don't broadcast. Stop spamming people with bbm broadcasts, automated feeds or malicious comments. Controversy sometimes can be good publicity, just don't go along with every like or mainstream opinion especially if you don't agree with it.

3. Know your network  social influencers and Monitor for feedback :

  Even if you decide to follow everyone or like every page, be able to determine those that are great influencers in your network, who share same or similar interests, passion so you can actively discuss and engage with them.  They will be the ones to recommend and refer your posts to others who will also share with others. It is best to have few followers who interact with you actively than have thousands of followers who just glance at your post and move on to the next one.Imagine you tweeting, a friend with 20000 followers can retweet, and it goes on till your original tweet becomes viral. Just concentrate on having the right people in your network and watch your networth grow. You don't have to follow every celebrity who will probably not notice your 37,000th comment on their post, but you can actively engage with a lesser known role model who can become your best buddy and mentor later. Build more friends with your social media following than enemies.
 So Many of our  posts are out there, but we not take out  time and effort  to know our  audience (Gender, location, their favorite posts) and how they link back to the posts.This is why the Use of  google analytics, sitemetrics and pingbacks, tweetmeter,is necessary to monitor feedback and audience's reactions. The feedback allows for more targeted posts and getting to know more about who your audience is, where they are coming from ,their interests and which of your posts they love reading.

4. Select an active Platform(s) and post consistently with a focus:

At a point, I had people sending me messages on my Facebook page that they look forward to my posts because of  its entertainment and educative value. When you allow  others take over your timeline or you post randomly,No frequency, no order, no focus then you lose rankings.  Now it doesn't matter what platform you use, Instagram, twitter, Facebook, snapchat,  blackberry,YouTube,  you can easily cross feed and share content on the various platforms at once. But choose one or two that you can really be active on, each social media platform has its own unique characteristic, so explore your options, know your targeted audience and choose wisely. A photographer who wants his works to be seen should consider image based platforms like Instagram or pinterest, this may not work for a politician who needs to share ideas with his followers and will  therefore achieve more using twitter or a Facebook page. Be consistent,post at least once a day and give your content a feel unique to you. Always make your audience have something to look forward too.

5.  To Invest in a smart phone:

It is worth it. The problem I had initially was that I had to wait till am at a cafe, or lucky enough to have a friend share bandwidth before I can log on to a laptop and connect with my audience.Not until recently,  I realized that a smart phone is not a luxury, in fact it's a necessity, no matter what the expense may be. Any one will do as long it has the basics, a camera with quality pixels, video app, whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook, PDF reader, word pad and a good browser.  Also get a good internet or mobile company which offers great bandwidths, flexible prices and has little or no downtime.There should not be  fear of your megabytes (mb) draining within minutes of purchasing it or a disconnect while online.. The world is going mobile and if you are still relying on a laptop before connecting online.Then  you are old "skool" .

6.  Social media is an effective marketing tool: 

One can use social media to increase brand visibility , improve market sales, awaken people's consciousness to recognize you as an authority in a field. This is especially true with Facebook. Moreso,  efffective use Images and videos helps in  increasing promotion .Though it is not necessary  but a good image or video will help get your post noticed more quickly.   A vlogger or YouTube stategist needs to know that clearer, quality and better videos generates more views, so get a professional to help you out or use video editing tools such as adobe premiere , most importantly,Create original videos with some humor thrown in to make it relatable and shareable  (See Ay's comedian concept, his videos always rock).

7. Sharing a post is just a click away:

  To upload or share a post  does not require much time as I thought. Procrastination is a bad disease. I have always thought I needed time to compose a great post before I share ,eventually nothing gets done. Now I have  discovered, a post does not have to been long for it to be great. You can use tumblr or twitter for microblogging and blogger or wordpress or storify for  longer posts and stories. Also you can just post a great picture with few words  or a 5 minutes video and let the imagination of your audience do the the talking for you.

8.  Social media sucess is not a one-day job:

 Forget all those online marketers promising you heaven on earth, unlimited wealth or being an overnight success within days like Caitlyn Jenner garnering a million followers within four hours. Most of them are scams , do not be naive enough to fall their prey,  Social media requires  patience and effort to get the best out of it.It is like nurturing a baby, you have to feed it, give it time to crawl, walk and stand on its own.  Get the best apps to make your post sharing easy, have more quality  and less time  consuming  (Photo editor  apps, sharing and scheduling apps-hoot suite,buffer).

9. Opportunity to Build quality relationships online : 

Not everyone who wants to connect with you is a dupe, scammer , love interest or internet stalker. I have had the opportunity of meeting my favorite clients, making new friends  and connect with positive individuals with like minds and passions.  I have collaborated, networked and gone into partnerships with some online friends  which have yielded fruitful relationships and I wished I wasn't so skeptical when I started out. The most important thing is to be cautious and learn ethics of social media networking without compromising your values.

10. Join the conversation  early:  

That's the essence of being social, you have more views and engagement when post on trending or relevant issues.To be a successful social media practitioner, you need to be always informed , be a step ahead and post on trending topics as it happens , not days or weeks after the event has been forgotten.It  gets your posts to rank better,higher and your audience can trust you to always provide insights when it is needed.   Follow blogs you love, participate in online forums with members who share the same passion or interests, be moderate , join the discussion,but don't derail or be distracted from the original topic. 

Finally, there is no late time to start, but now. Have a focus, the beauty of social media is that no one has the monotony on it yet, its a free world. With what you have learnt and some research,you can join now.do a post minutes later which may go viral or trend for days . Keep it real, no need to buy fake followers or go over bound just to get attention. Just understand what works for you .
 If I had known how powerful social media will be years later, I would have join the train of the social media users 6 years ago,but am still glad I joined and participated when I did and gradually I have been improving in my social media reach. Now I do Understand a social media network is a living being, it has to be fed and nurtured for it to grow and yield results.

Note: 

Social media in this post covers all form of online social platforms, twitter, Instagram, google+, pinterest, facebook, snapchat, you tube and more.
Posts refer to tweets, images, videos, and words uploaded on the social media platform.

Christina

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Comments

Hi Christiana, nice write up, my name is Paul O. Okweshine. I am also a blogger. My blog is www.artserv.blogspot.com
Thanks Paul, will check out your blog too.