Social Networking for Newbies

The Internet today contains an ever increasing proliferation of social media tools with millions upon millions of subscribers each.

How do you traverse your way from wide eyed newcomer to proficient and prolific social media power monger?  The loving Melbournistas team will hold your hand and guide you through the sometimes tricky terrain of getting started with social media.

Planning & Personas

It may seem silly to think about planning your Facebook or Twitter profiles, surely you just post how you feel and what you’re up to and you’ll gain followers right? Wrong!

Because the Internet is full of social media sites and the people that use them, to make the most of your online presence you need to make sure you have a clear idea of what part of your personality or interests you want to focus on.  You only need to look at the Janoskians or Cody Simpson to see how influential Aussies can be in the social media stratosphere.  But they each have a specific persona that they are using social media to portray.  You wouldn’t find the Janoskians posting a video where they enact a scene from Romeo & Juliet or talk about the latest performance from the Australian Ballet Company because that isn’t what their YouTube channel persona’s are popular for and it isn’t what their subscribers are expecting.

So think about yourself and your life, what’s interesting? What’s fun? What do you enjoy doing? What do you love to talk about?  What do you want to achieve?  Are you promoting yourself for potential job opportunities or is it just for fun?

Use these questions as a starting off point to decide which part of yourself you want to focus your social media presences on.  The key here is to focus on something you love!  To have sustained social media power you need to keep your posts coming, this is A LOT easier if you love the topic!

Your Avatar & Username
Now that you’ve decided who you are online & what you want to talk about it pays to take some time to decide on what Avatar & Username you’ll use for your social media presences.  A big part of convergence & social media is having a coherent presence across all the social media platforms you’re engaged in.  A great way to ensure you can keep your username consistent is to check beforehand via a username validation service such as Namechk or Usernamecheck, that way you can decide on your username & ensure it’s available on all the social media sites you want to work on BEFORE you get your profiles underway.
Similarly your avatar is an image that represents you in the online stratosphere.  Next to each of your online profiles you have the option to add an image of yourself or something that represents you.  If you decide to leave your image blank – Beware! This can be interpreted by other users as being inauthentic and a possible spambot profile.  Also make sure the image you choose is consistent across all your social media profiles, it builds your brand and tells the reader that you are the same person they connected with on Twitter & it’s your awesome blog they read.
Now that you’ve got your Avatar and username ready to roll, lets get social!

Chose your Social Media Platforms

Once you have an idea of what you want to say, then you need to get out there & explore where to say it.  Obviously there is not right or wrong answer to this, so instead of telling you where to go (so to speak) check out the list below of some of the plethora of social media sites that you can use:

The list above are for general social media use, which is a great place to start, but it’s always worth investigating to see if there are social media and networking sites that relate to your specific field or persona.  For instance DeviantArt is a fantastic social media site where artists create profiles & post their work online for artists and potential  clients alike can check out their work and collaborate.  There are literally hundreds of social media sites out there, so let your fingers do the walking to find the one’s best suited to you!
We highly recommend setting up your own blog or website so that you can publish your own content & have a central online presence for all of your social media nodes to link back to.  Publishing your own information and content can also help establish you as a thought leader in your chosen area, but more on that later…

Contribute & Connect

This may come as a shock to you but, to get the most out of social media you have to actually post things and get involved!  It may seem daunting at first, but the best way to find out how to use social media to your advantage is to dive in.  If you’re a bit shy, why not comment on something someone else has posted thats related to your persona.  Commenting & engaging with other people is as important as posting your own work on your blog/youtube/flickr/deviantart profile.

The whole point of social networking is to Network! Make sure you get out there, get involved, post a video, upload a photo, write a blog post & then link them all to each other!  If someone is interested enough to look at one piece of information you post, chances are they’ll like more of your work, make it easy for them to find you.

Keep your ear to the grindstone

The fun part of social media is that it’s always changing, there’s always new people to meet & a great new platform to try out.  Make sure you subscribe to any other blogs, social media sites or bookmarking sites (such as Digg or Mashable) to keep across any changes that are happening in your area of interest so that you’re in the know and ready to post your own thoughts and views as soon as possible.

Most importantly have fun! Social media and networking is there for you to be creative, show the world what you can do and what you think!


About sarab2222

Driven by curiosity, creativity and my innate nerdiness, a little over a year ago I dipped my toe into the world of everything web design. With no experience, no formal training and no idea what I was doing I sweated, swore and furrowed over the creation of my first website built from scratch with no templates or guidance to light the way. It was the most frustrating and exhilarating experince watching it come together piece by piece, code by code. Since those innocent beginnings I've dived head first into a Bachelors of Internet Communication with a major in Web Design, I'm devouring tutorials, reading everything I can find to light my way and finding a community of the most creative nerds in the world. So this blog is my way of documenting my journey from wet behind the ears newbie to experienced professional, a place to consolidate and share what I'm learning, display my work and help others at the start of this journey find their way. View all posts by sarab2222

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