We rely on social media to connect, communicate, educate, promote, receive information and be entertained. It is likely that you are participating in more than one social network.
You’re probably already a member of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and perhaps, Foursquare, but…
In the past few years, here are a few other social networks that established a presence: Google+, Pintrest, Instagram*, Path*, Oink*, Quora, LocalMind, Mingle*, Tackable*, Tout, Trover, and GetGlue, (just to name a few)
*designed to be used as a mobile application
As members of these online communities, how can we receive the most value from our participation? Here are four ways that you can use social media to enhance your life:
1) Present Your Personal Brand (Express Your Self)
Social media gives us the opportunity to express our opinions and showcase our talents to the world through text, images, and video. Are you a musician, actor, entertainer, or comedian looking for “your big break?” Social media provides you access to an audience around the world. Are you looking to find a new career? As a job seeker, you can breathe life into your resume by providing your future employer with links to your personal website or professional profile on LinkedIn (be sure to have some stellar recommendations included on your profile).
A word of caution – If you are a member of several online communities, be sure to establish a consistent brand and voice across those networks. Being an online schizophrenic can hurt your chances of developing a relationship with your target audience.
2) Connect With People – Online and Offline
We can use social media to communicate and share information with our current network or we can use it to interact with and engage new contacts. Social media is a powerful tool that allows us opportunities to communicate both in real-time or by leaving a message that can be viewed later. We can communicate both publicly and privately.
Social media enhances our ability to connect both online and offline. If we choose to access our social networks via mobile applications, we can geo-tag our location to let our friends know our whereabouts as we push notifications to our network.
Here is a great story about how my friend used social media to connect with me: Social Media Promotes a Real World Encounter
3) Gather Information
Our social network streams provide us with a continuous flow of updates, information, links, promotions and discount offers. At times, it can almost be overwhelming. Many have made predictions that in 2012, social media users will be more selective in who they choose to Like, Follow and Subscribe to. On another note: The people and brands that we choose to associate with online, send a message about our own personal brand.
The web has always been a fantastic resource to search for information. With the growing influence of social media, we now have the ability to make the information that we want come to us. This can be accomplished by carefully cultivating the people and brands that you Like, Follow, and Subscribe to. Another great method for making the news that you want come to you is by subscribing to the RSS feeds of your favorite blogs and websites.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information that is flooding your social streams, remember you can always UnLike, UnFollow, and UnSubscribe. With social media, you have the power to control the input that you receive.
4) Add Value
Choosing to be a member of a community means that you desire to add value to the group. Yes, there can be lots of benefits to becoming a member, but we also have a responsiblity to contribute and to make that community a better place.
With the recent launch of Facebook’s Timeline, I had the opportunity to review the comments and posts that I had made during my past years of participating in social media. In years past, I am sad to admit that I posted a lot of useless updates. I’ve committed myself to providing updates that will add value to my networks.
I invite you to connect with me online. In most social networks I can be found under the username brianrmohr. I look forward to meeting you.
Make 2012 your best year yet!