7 Tips for Becoming a Social Media Extrovert
People laugh when I tell them that I was quiet and shy in High School but it’s true. Concerned I wouldn’t meet anyone in college, my dad advised me, “If three people are talking, they probably know each other. Go up to them, introduce yourself and they’ll be impressed with how outgoing you are.” Following my father’s recommendation, I learned to be outgoing.
Well the same basic principles apply to getting positive notice on social media networks. Here are seven tips I learned in high school to help you be the belle of the social media ball.
- Survey the playground. Just as students stick with their friends while they check each other out to find the “cool” kids, invite your friends and colleagues to join you on social media networks so you can have your own “posse” to compare notes with. This is a low risk way to build your base online. Among the questions to consider are: How do people present themselves on this network? What’s acceptable and what’s not? How much information do they present publically? This is important since you don’t want to over-share (aka TMI). How active are they? Do you need to be present continuously or can you just drop in periodically?
- Choose your gangs. Your goal is to find a special niche. The people or groups with which you want to associate will influence your social media presentation and positioning.
- Get the right clothes. Just as high school students dress like the rest of their crowd, be they jocks, nerds, preppies or Goths, your social media presentation requires similar thinking. On social networks, this translates to the type of photograph and/or avatar you post, the type of information presented, and the vocabulary used. [Here's how to create your blog's voice.]
- Put your best foot forward. Post social media profiles on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter so people can get a feel for the “real” you. Include some information and personal stuff but leave your dark secrets out. For example, my positioning is that I’m a Manhattan-based Actionable Marketer who loves to knit.
- Bring the chocolate chip cookies. One of my high school classmates was a woman who was often the center of positive attention due to her amazing homemade cheesecake. What can you contribute to the social dialogue that others will perceive of as having social currency?
- Play well with other children. In social media terms this translates into “Pay it forward.” It includes commenting on other people’s blogs, photographs and other content, re-tweeting other people’s tweets, recognizing people on Twitter and recommending colleagues on LinkedIn. These actions should be positive and enhance the overall conversation. You want your “handle” to be out there so readers will be curious to find out more about you. [For more information, read 7 tips to nurture blog comments.]
- Join some after school activities. Nobody likes a nerd who just studies all of the time. You need to step out from behind your computer screen and meet people in real life. It can be Meetups, conferences, or just one-on-one networking at the local Starbucks. The idea is to expand your horizons and be grounded in real life.
Just as it takes practice to be the star cheerleader in high school, being at the center of a social media tribe takes time, work and practice. It’s accomplished one step at a time. Remember the people at the center of your high school’s “in” crowd didn’t get there over night. They put themselves in a position to take advantage of their natural strengths.
If you have any suggestions that would help others extend their online network and become more socially active (and popular), please add them to the comments section below.
Photo credit: PrettyInPrint via Flickr