Social Media: An Introvert’s Guide

12 Tips to Play to Your Strengths on Social Media

Contrary to what you may think social media is an introvert’s paradise. Inwardly focused and thoughtful by nature, introverts need time by themselves to recharge since being with others drains their energy.

Social media engagement affords introverts the ability to engage for short, strategic interactions on their own terms. What’s critical for introverts is to understand how to use social media to their advantage.

As a closet introvert, I’ve learned to play to my strengths and you can too. While those of you who’ve met me or seen me present may not believe it, it’s true. Ask my mother (and she should know!) She kids about observing my first grade class where the boys’ hands all shot up before the teacher finished her question, while I slowly, tentatively raised my hand once I knew the answer. Unlike the boys, I was right.

Here are twelve recommendations to help you play to your strengths to get your social media groove.

  1. Set your social media goals. Like other parts of your life, establish goals for yourself, both professional and personal. This is more critical for introverts since you may not find engaging in public forums natural. Actionable social media tip. Don’t try to change yourself into someone you’re not. Set manageable, attainable goals. The objective is to succeed, not exhaust yourself!
  2. Brand yourself. While introverts may shy away from putting themselves out there, if you don’t decide how your want to be viewed, others will do if for you. As an introvert, you know what you’re about better than others! Use your introspection to your advantage. Actionable social media tip. Create a brand for yourself based on your personality. (Here’s branding help.) Think tag lines, background colors, photographs, videos and links.
  3. Position yourself on social media platforms. Consider how you want to participate on social media. Do you want to keep your professional and personal lives separate? Position yourself for where you want to be. Think 5, 10 and 15 years out. Actionable social media tip. No matter have careful you are, understand information shared on social media networks can become public. Think through how your shared content will reflect on you.
  4. Protect your name on social media networks. Determine how you want to be recognized. Stake out your name across social media platforms. If you’ve a common name, decide how you’ll distinguish yourself. Actionable social media tip. Make it short and easy to spell because too many letters hinder communications on microblogging or others can’t find you because they can’t spell your name. My friend Mike Schneider uses Schneider Mike to distinguish himself on social media (BTW—He’s co-author of Location Based Marketing for Dummies.
  5. Connect with others on social media. This isn’t the same as socializing. It’s about reaching out to family and friends for personal interactions and customers and colleagues for business engagement. This is an easy way to develop a social media tribe. Actionable social media tip. Schedule your social media engagement in short spurts through out the day to show you’re connected without draining yourself. Also personalize your communications and outreach.
  6. Show your social side. While introverts by nature, don’t like small talk and socializing, social media allows you to participate on your terms. Since social media is small talk on a public platform with a very long memory, show you care by remembering people’s birthdays, commenting on people’s walls, and responding to other social media engagement. Given your introspection, you’re unlikely to over share. Actionable social media tip. Socialize in short spurts such as with your morning coffee, lunch and close of business.
  7. Learn the social media lingo. Just as the cool high school kids had their own verbal shorthand, so do social media networks like Twitter.  Social media allow many-to-many communications in addition to one-to-one and one-to-many. Actionable social media tip. Get the Cliff Notes to the various social media platforms. (Here’s how to get your Twitter Mojo.)
  8. Join relevant groups on social media. Introverts should be thrilled since small groups are where a lot of the action is on social media. Find the groups of like-minded individuals across social media platforms. Among the places to look are Facebook fan pages, LinkedIn Groups and Twitter Chats. Actionable social media tip. Expand your reach by connecting with at least a few groups on each social media platform.
  9. Believe you add value. While no one likes a show-off, an unlikely situation for most introverts, social media networks have the goal of sharing useful information and entertaining content. For example, provide insights on LinkedIn Questions and Yahoo Answers, or add feedback on ratings and review sites like TripAdvisor. Actionable social media tip. Provide insights on your schedule by using these forums when you’ve got time and energy to participate.
  10. Contribute to the social media community. Social media has an unwritten rule of paying-it-forward. Show your part of the social media community, by helping others on your terms. Share targeted information, retweet other people’s more interesting tweets, and comment on other people’s blogs. Also, recommend former and current colleagues, staff and bosses on LinkedIn where appropriate. Actionable social media tip. Set aside time each day to help others by contributing your ideas to the conversation.
  11. Star in your social media story. Create videos and photographs to build a social media view of your world. Make it engaging and outgoing regardless of how you feel. Invite others to engage with you and your business. Actionable social media tip. Before posting your media on social networking platforms, have a few trusted friends and colleagues give you input on your content to ensure your portrayal is in line with your brand.
  12. Get out from behind your computer. Schedule time to get together with others in real life when you’re at your best without getting totally drained by the interaction. Meeting your social media buddies face-to-face strengthens relationships. Actionable social media tip. Be strategic in your public time so you get together with those people it’s most important to meet. If you’re going to be at a conference, make a date to have coffee or lunch with someone rather than being seated at large table where you’ll spend lots of energy engaging with strangers.

Social media is powerful platform for introverts because you can leverage your strengths on your terms. The key is doing so in a way that keeps you energized. Remember, as an introvert, you’re the quiet voice of reason.

What else can introverts do to exploit their strengths on social media platforms?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Hat tip to Lisa Petrilli author of The Introvert’s Guide to Success in Business and Leadership for inspiring this post.

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