Digitized Koffee With Nick
What I Have Found to Be Important
By Nick Kossovan
Maneuvering social media’s constant hyper-growth can be unnerving. Relevancy changes on whims. The need to respond to current events and stay immersed in the many continually evolving online conversations is why we’re constantly tethered to our smartphone.
24 years after the first recognizable social media site Six Degrees (created in 1997) enabled users to upload a profile and connect with other users, social media is still the wild west when it comes to trying to figure itself out. As the digital age is unfolding, a study by Smart Insights found that in a minute, people publish 3.3 million Facebook posts, 448,800 tweets, 65,972 Instagram photos, and 500 hours of YouTube video.
The vast amount of this activity is ego driven. Having your own space online means you have free reign to post about your favourite subject: yourself.
While you might be ‘interesting’ to some, even many, I have found keeping in mind the following principles enhances the value of social media, whether for personal interactions, marketing your business or positioning yourself as a subject matter expert.
People love visuals.
There’s truth to the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” which is why visuals should be a significant part of your social media content. When posting, make it a point to include a photo, infographic, meme, or video. Visuals is what catches the eyes of a person who is scrolling through their social media feeds, not text.
The risk doesn’t have to be controversial or create negative dialogue, it just needs to be something outside of your comfort zone. Don’t shy away from trying something different or expressing yourself authentically.
A while back, I stepped outside my comfort zone when after studying how to use hashtags to make it easier for users to find and follow my postings, I created #PostNoteThoughts. I write random thoughts on a Post-it Note, take a picture, and upload it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. et al. along with using #PostNoteThoughts.
Instead of posting a static video of an event, take Facebook Live or Twitter Live for a test drive. Live streaming will take you outside your comfort zone.
You control your privacy.
It’s no secret that advertising dollars are how social networks make money, thus social media companies want your information for their advertisers to leverage. This is why to play a game, access an eBook, or browse through a shopping site you’re asked to share a few things about yourself.
Spend some time going through the privacy settings of your social media accounts. Before joining a social media site, read the fine print. Be aware of the things you can control. Pay particular attention to what you are agreeing to share when you sign up. For example, according to Facebook’s ‘Statement of Rights and Responsibilities,’ any photos and videos you post that are then shared by other users will remain on the site after you deactivate your account.
Never broadcast; always engage.
Don’t treat social media as most users do, which is to consistently post ‘Look at me!’ content. Instead, envision social media platforms as parties or clubs. You don’t always have to be the center of attention; just step out of the corner and say a few words every now and then.
When offering your opinion, be respectful. Try to understand the other person’s point of view. There’s no better way to engage with someone than to ask questions to better understand. Like in real life, focusing outward will gain you digital friends and create a positive online reputation, which will serve you well personally and professionally.
Be careful what you believe.
Donald Trump and COVID fully exposed the concept of fake news, where ‘bad actors’ seek to manipulate you by posing as legitimate news organizations. The lessons:
- Never take anything on the internet at face value.
- Check several sources before repeating ‘facts.’
- Don’t just think it and then just say it.
Undeniably we’re growing more dependent on our phones. Such is what we call ‘progress.’ Oh, as to what I have found to be important: Remembering to lift my face from my screen, step away from my devices and spend time making connections that matter right where I am.
~ Nick Kossovan is the Customer Service Professionals Network’s Director of Social Media (Executive Board Member). Submit your social media questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.