3 tips for better social media

Oct 15, 2016 · 4 min read

Be insanely useful! Attend chats, use hashtags, follow more, share more, do this, do that! At this point you are likely to be familiar with all the best practices of how to use social media to gain more followers, more shares, more likes, more conversions, and more everything. Following all the advice has turned out to be exhausting and pointless. Thus today, I will give you three very simple tips, advice I follow. This is the way I make social media work for me, instead of working for social media.

3 tips for better social media -- Mervi Emilia

You aren't a social media sharing algorithm. So be a human.

Your Twitter feed is a constant stream of useless links nobody is clicking (cause we don't have the time to click all your useless links). Your Instagram is full of empty quotes (please, no more Ayn Rand, she was a horrible person), of which origins nobody can be quite sure. Your Pinterest is full of pins with broken links (and I'm reporting the links). I doubt you have checked what's behind all those links you shared. You could be sharing anything. Spam, scams, infected links, porn, offensive stuff... Anything. Though it doesn't matter much, clicking the links is in steep decline anyways. Probably your followers have already muted you, or just learned to ignore your never ending stream of links and quotes.

It may seem like a great way to gain followers, ReTweets, shares and likes. Becoming a content curator, without even curating the content really. Sharing so much you have melt into the background noise. Remember still, how some of us had great hopes for social media? We thought there would be finally signal over the noise. However, everyone decided soon that their signal is the best, and to get it out they should be noisy. And suddenly there was nothing but noise. The algorithmic timelines were introduced as an answer. And to beat the algorithms, you started to share even more.

You've yourself have turned into an algorithm that spits out links and quotes, quotes and links. It's hard to tell if there's a human controlling your stream, or if you are just using services that share for you. The more you share, the less human you become. Be human.

Social media are not games, unless you make them games. You don't have to play.

A common idea is that making everything a game makes everything more interesting. In my childhood there used to be these books. For example it could be a Fantastic Five mystery, but it wasn't a regular kind of a book. Instead, it was a game. Instead of reading the story and getting entertained by the narrative and the writer's choices, the reader was playing the book. After a passage of the story the reader was instructed to choose between what the Fantastic Five would do next, and depending on the choice she was to jump into a certain page. This would go on, until the reader would have made enough wrong choices and run herself and the story into a corner, or made the right choices and played the game until a satisfying conclusion. So yes, a game. I found those books fascinating and, after trying to play one or two, highly infuriating. I love reading, I don't need to play a game to make it somehow more interesting.

Social media services are not games. There are social media based games, social media platforms have games in them, and some games have social media -like features. Twitter is not a game, Facebook is not a game, Instagram is not a game... Unless you make them games. That's up to you, but don't expect everyone to play your game.

With all the numbers and statistics, there's an easy transition to a game. The game of gaining more followers by following lots of people, no matter if they care about your content and if they followed you back to gain more followers themselves. Getting more likes, even though most of them were made by algorithms playing a game of gaining more followers. Sharing lots of content without checking what they are, so that your social score will rise, or you can remain part of a Triberr tribe. You know, all those little games. And there you sit, happy with your vanity metrics that don't mean anything to anyone.

Take all the advice and step-by-step guides about social media with a grain of salt. A huge grain of salt.

The other day a friend pointed out how annoying it is when other people love tell us how to use the Twitter, Facebook and such. How everything you do is wrong and how there's supposed to be a "right way". The thing is, we all have our own preferences on how to use these social media platforms and services, and we get annoyed when someone uses them differently. And sometimes the personal preferences differ, depending on the service. For instance, I hate when there's tons of hashtags on Twitter, but on Instagram I don't mind them at all.

The keywords here are "personal preferences". We all have them. And none of them is better than other. Except for your personal preferences are better for you than someone else's personal preferences would be. So all the advice and tips for better social media have as much value as you give to them. Nothing more, nothing less. Yes, even the tips I give you right now. You can choose to take my tips and run with them, or you can choose to ignore them. They are just tips. Something I've noticed to work to me, and other people.

People have a tendency of wanting to answer every rhetorical question and give advice about every single thing. Although it can be a demanding job, you can choose to ignore that advice and do your own thing. It really depends what you want to accomplish. If you want to annoy everyone, go on with your constant stream of links, too many hashtags, and follow-unfollow-games. Just don't expect me to play along.


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