I’ve been around the interwebs a long time. And I’ve seen my fair share of behaviour. I’ve been caught up in the rantings of internet trolls, excited by extreme uses of social sites, overwhelmed by trying to keep up with as much as I can… and I’ve come out the other end with sanity restored. If you’re still trying to get there, here are some tips that might help:
1. DON’T FEED THE TROLLS. This is the most important for maintaining sanity. Internet trolls just seem to like to provoke people. How do you recognize them? Easy. They complain. You try and make them happy. They complain more. The cycle continues and you end up nowhere. Break the cycle. Respond once in the same forum they have. Move on.
2. Schedule, schedule, schedule. Make a social media editorial schedule (a tip I picked up from Matt Clark, @itstrue). Follow it as consistently as you can. If it takes you more than an hour to fill it out, you’re taking too much time. Schedule less tweets until you become more proficient. Speaking of scheduling, auto-schedule your tweets and updates (I use Hootsuite)! Just fill the in-between with real conversation.
3. Use the social media rule of thirds. Post one-third content from other people, one-third that’s on topic for you and one-third that’s personal.
4. Lists are your friends. Make topical lists on Twitter wherever you can. Check in on the important ones once a week and comment to people you’d like to connect more with. Don’t worry about everyone else.
5. Be selective about your interactions. Don’t worry about being everyone’s best friend. They don’t want or need you to be. Keep your focus on what you think is relevant and chances are you’ll attract similar minded people.. thus making you relevant either way. Nay-sayers? See point number 1.
6. Quality over quantity, my friend. Always. Don’t have time to spend a quality 10 minutes getting the most out of your time online? Don’t. I’m an advocate about doing as much as you can yourself, but if you must, hire somebody else to get you started. Social media and online marketing are supportive mediums. They’re also amplifiers. Positive word of mouth gets around online. So does the negative. Make sure you’ve got a solid foundation and processes to work from. Then dive in to telling everyone about it.
7. Take a day off, or a week. The interwebs will still be there when you get back. I promise. And it really won’t take you as long as you think to get back in the swing of things. Double promise.
8. Stay realistic about your expectations, whether of online results or of people. Be clear. Be direct. Be confident enough to ask for what you want. If we don’t see your one update about something, it’s not that we don’t care, it’s that we’re busy people too.
9. Set loose goals. Yep, loose. And change them often to suit your needs. The goal is progress, not perfection. Can’t keep up with 10 updates a day? Bring it down to 5. Not sure what your goals should be? Don’t let that stop you, if you’ve got the time, experiment. Sure you’ll make mistakes, but if people stop talking about social media catastrophes like BP (not to make light of the actual environmental catastrophe preceding it), surely they won’t remember yours.
10. DON’T FEED THE TROLLS. Right, I said that one already, but it’s the most important point! For real, that’ll save you hours.
Bonus: When writing blog posts, never publish your first draft without rereading several hours later, or even better, the next day. (Caveat: Unless you’re at least halfway through a bottle of wine).