10 Habits of Highly Efficient Social Media Power Users
Many people view social media as a waste of time while others expect them to be some kind of promised land for self promotion.
The truth is of course somewhere in between those opposites. It of course depends – on you. It can make a difference how you use social media.
In short it’s a difference whether you actively use social media for your purposes or whether social media use you as part of their unpaid workforce.
Why Social Media Does Not Work for You
While it is easy to waste your time on addictive social media sites you can use them responsibly. Also excessively selfish promotion is not social by definition.
When used correctly social media both benefit yourself and also the respective communities. I’m not entirely free of addiction and have to fight time wasting tendencies myself.
I have – by now and after years of participation – found out several key factors of using social media in the best possible way.
I’m not famous influencer but I’m a daily active user at the 3 below mentioned communities:
Moreover I am occasionally participating or contributing on
- Growth Hackers
- Hacker News
to name just a few social media venues I’m less active on.
While I am not trying “to leverage traffic” directly from these communities most of the time I benefit from these is several ways:
- Industry recognition as a social media specialist
- Direct contact to clients, some approach me, others look me up
- Entertainment – I feel better afterwards when I take a break to pin
- Information – I’m the first one to know what’s going on in my fields of interest
- I’m famous – this is no joke, people from all over the world know me
To make sense social media need to work both ways. It needs to work for the site and you too.
In case you spend hours daily as a user generating content for free you are basically working like a slave.
There must be a mutual benefit so that you do not get exploited. Do only two or fewer of the above points apply to you? Do none other positive outcomes come to your mind?
When Social Media Sucks Change Your Mind
In this case you should rethink the way you use social media. Then these companies use and abuse you as a free workforce.
You are the product not the customer when there is no tangible benefit of social media usage for you.
The best way to make social media work for the mutual benefit of you and not only the venture capitalists behind them is setting up a blog. Remember that social media otherwise own all of you:
- your social relations
- your content
- your time
Having a self-hosted blog means remaining your own master. As a blogger you can use social media to drive traffic to your blog or not, but at least nobody can
- take away your content
- make you pay for contacting your friends
- resell your private data
- make money off your work
Without a blog you may end up dealing with one or all of the issues above while you earn nothing on from your contributions.
Your blog is your focal point of your social media activity.
Implying that you already have a blog you should try to stick to the following 10 habits of highly efficient social media power users:
1. Use social media in the morning, during breaks or at the evening. Socialize when you’re not able to work yet or already. When tired relax at the virtual water cooler.
Social media will allow you to spend the time somewhat productively despite fatigue. Of course do not spend all your free time using it and do not waste your best working hours.
2. Do not read daily newspapers or direct news sources. Let the “wisdom of crowds” of social media users filter the important stuff for you.
This way you save time for actual engagement. Check only websites you really can’t live without directly.
On Netvibes I have a tab for SEO blogs and another for green blogs. I only read the green blogs when I’m done with my work.
4. Socialize with your friends on several platforms. This way no company can take away your social capital or sell it back to you once they leave beta, their share plummets or the company is swallowed by another less scrupulous one.
5. Never actively search for content you could share on social media, share things that you read and like anyway.
6. Share things that are popular on one platform to another when you think it might be suitable for this audience as well.
Do not just share the same things everybody else already did.
Popular content and “me too” shares are closely related but have a very different outcome.
7. Focus on only a few of your favorite social media sites. Do not use the most popular ones but those which have the most benefit to you personally.
How to decide? Choose either those suiting your interests best or having a positive impact on your online presence not necessarily via traffic only.
For instance LinkedIn may be less important for referral traffic but very good for my reputation.
Also Instagram is negligible for traffic but I established actual relationships there with people I appreciate.
8. To get traffic via social media use them like Domino: for instance in the best case I just need to share a story on LinkedIn in order to get it tweeted by others
9. Do not push your own content at social media communities unless they really condone it and you are a well known and/or respected community member there.
10. Do share content of your favorite bloggers and peers. Link them in your blog posts and befriend them where it does make sense.
For instance befriending people on Twitter or LinkedIn does only make sense in case you want their content served in your personal stream.
People you follow or connect with are also able to send you messages.
This can get annoying on sites like Twitter and LinkedIn where some people use bots to send automated messages.
When you develop these 10 habits you will get quite popular on social media just after using them for a while.
Be There and Contribute or Fail
Participation is key. When you do not expect instant gratification via loads of traffic you will reap the benefits later.
You will succeed in the middle or long term also as a blogger. Eventually you will get loads of traffic anyway.
Social media is not a one night stand, it’s a stable relationship. Participation means contributing value on a regular basis without automating everything or acting like a robot.
Once you understand that, you’re on your way to become a power user. To be honest it’s not solely about power, influence or reach though.
You don’t have to be a top user to be a power user. It’s not about numbers. It’s about how you participate not just how much.
A few die hard supporters are more important than thousands of casual visitors. True fans who listen to you for years are immensely more valuable.
Last updated: January 17th, 2020.
Updated and published V2: May 26th, 2014: Removed defunct or irrelevant social sites and replaced with current ones. Changed wording a bit and improved text formatting. Added a new image.
Original version published: January 30th, 2008.
* Creative Commons image by Hakan Dahlström