Your following on social media that is. Is it big? Does size really matter? Whether you’re a professional speaker, writer, artist or business owner, social media can be an excellent tool for making new connections. But in order for it to be helpful, it needs to be used correctly.

The problem with social media is that it’s always evolving so many people misuse it. While hackers and spammers are the prime misusers of these services, a vast amount of people with good intentions struggle to make use of the medium. Many treat it like a mailing list — like it’s another method of one way communication. Some use it as a popularity contest — the person with the most connections wins. However, the point of social media (especially from a business standpoint) is to create and maintain relationships from the comfort of your keyboard.

Is having a large following great? Definitely. But it also has its own set of challenges. Remember that these services are meant to facilitate two-way interactions and not playing the game can damage your brand or reputation. While many people will tolerate being ignored by household names like Bill Cosby or Kelsey Grammar (they have thousands of fans vying for their attention) they’re not likely to take it from Joe Schmoe the so-called law of attraction expert.

So here are ten tips for getting the most out of social media:

  1. Seek out people with similar interests and interact with them.
  2. Don’t ignore people just because they don’t seem important to you at the time. They may have a significant following in the future.
  3. Share your knowledge, experiences and expertise when appropriate.
  4. Be careful when connecting with people just for the sake of increasing your friend count. You may not want to be associated with certain people (people who use vulgar language, harass others, etc…).
  5. Don’t take it personal if someone chooses to not connect with you (or decides to stop). People can be finicky and/or mean and it’s much easier to do so when hiding behind an avatar or username.
  6. Don’t be afraid to try to connect with people that you’re interested in connecting with. If they ignore you, move on.
  7. Use social media as a two-way interactive tool. It’s not a mailing list where you just post what you’re doing (or what you’re selling).
  8. Treat others that use the services you use the way you want to be treated. Remember that even if the person hides behind a cartoon picture, he or she probably has feelings.
  9. While it’s great to connect with people with big followings, you’ll get a larger share of someone’s attention when they have a smaller following.
  10. Have fun with social media. If you just focus on your professional reasons for connecting, it’ll become more of a chore or to do item.

Again, social media is an excellent tool for promoting your business, making friends and reconnecting with people from your past. But it’s always evolving so keep an aye out for trends and don’t be afraid to experiment.

How Big is Yours?
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