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Social media savvy: How to build your following and expand your network!

Social media savvy: How to build your following and expand your network!

CREATED May 8, 2012

Reporter: Claire Doan

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – A decade ago, words like “Twitter” and “Facebook” didn’t even exist. But now social media is everywhere, for people looking to connect or for businesses looking to market their products.
So how does one gain followers? How do you become popular?
It’s inescapable, inevitable and for many indispensable. Social media has become a way of life for Facebook fanatics for Twitter trendsetters. But before you join them, a word of advice from MJ Jensen, the director of The Tucson Business Experts.
“Number one, make sure that the image you represent on your personal branding timeline is what you would be proud anybody to watch – your grandmother, your grandparents, your parents,” Jensen said. Jensen said sharing too much can apply to the family or the public.
Just ask Ashton Kutcher, who caused a firestorm of controversy for his tweet defending Joe Paterno. Or Spike Lee’s retweet of the wrong home address for George Zimmermman, Trayvon Martin’s shooter.
Jensen recommends staying away from politics or religion when you’re trying to gain friends. Remember that you can delete information, but all it takes is a screen capture of your mistake.
“As you’re looking for career paths, your prospective employer can go back and look at the social media activities you’ve had,” Jensen said.
Some Facebook tips 9 On Your Side has gleaned from the social media savvy:
-         add friends of friends, sending a personal message with your request
-         join groups you’re interested in and be active on those pages
-         update your profile with good content, but don’t spam or post too frequently
-         cross-promote yourself, adding your Facebook URL to the bottom of your emails
-         add widgets of different networking sites to your other webpages
But easier than adding a friend is losing one. The top five reasons from getting the boot from a Facebook friend are: offensive comments; not knowing you well; trying to sell something; depressing comments; and lack of interaction.
“You want to engage and be friendly. You don’t want to necessarily just sell and push your product. You want to actually have fun with your customers. It’s social, that’s how it’s designed to be,” said Robert Nissenbaum, the Director of Social Media for the National Business Experts.
He says being well connected is not about how many people you know, but who you know. And raw numbers can lie. For example, having ten friends who don’t have any other friends – may be less beneficial than only five friends who each know people. Reach in the latter case is much better.
Nissenbaum also explained that it’s more important to get the right audience, than simply to gain friends or followers: “If you reach the right people to get your message out and they’re pushing that message further for you, then that’s the right idea.”
But if you’re looking at getting Twitter traction, here are some tips:
-         Show your personality in your picture, your background and your biography
-         Use keywords and hash-tags in your tweets to bring people to you
-         Follow people because they’ll often return the favor
-         Be engaging to be engaged with, by posting relevant and useful information
-         And cross-promote yourself on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and other platforms to make it easy for people to find you.
And one more tip from social media experts: “Just have fun with it. Don’t put yourself in a position where you have to do this. Do a little bit everyday and it won’t be so overwhelming.”
Let Claire know what you think of these tips by tweeting her @ClaireDoan or sending her a Facebook message at www.facebook.com/ClaireDoanNews