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Using social media tools is all about content creation. Whether you call it writing a blog or posting a FB update or tweeting or creating a YouTube video it falls under the giant umbrella of content creation. Some people have taken to it like fish to water while others struggle with the idea of what to create and how to share? I run into clients who have some familiarity with social media and yet seem to struggle with defining their content. If you are among those who have an inclination to try this out but feel uncertain about how to use if for your personal branding or business, here are a few basic guidelines on how you can get started.

You can see different examples of social media tools effectively used by various individuals and companies and it can be tempting to try a little bit of everything. I strongly advice that you take on no more than two platform to start with, if you are going it alone.  Social media is easy to use, but it is important to be consistent and thoughtful so it doesn’t make sense to spread yourself too thin.

Here are a few criteria to keep in mind when choosing your media and in generating content:

  • Is your target audience hyper-local or global?
  • Are you trying to reach businesses or consumers?
  • Are you looking for hourly engagement or weekly interaction?
  • Do you seek to make announcements or do you want to create a strong feedback mechanism?

Once you address these cornerstone questions, you will get a clearer idea of whether you want to build a profile on LinkedIn and tap into its professional network or create a Facebook page and promote your products through references from friends and family. In either case, you will find that your profile is a relevant tool, only if you post content on a regular basis. Otherwise it will be the equivalent of having a storefront with no inventory on the shelves!

If you find it hard to think of things to post, here are a few triggers that can be helpful:

  • Think of writing blogs that establish your familiarity or expertise in your field. Bring clarity to a confounding question or report on a new development – either way, it will help to build our brand reputation.
  • Keep track of the latest in news and cultural developments and, if it relates to your field, find ways to integrate it into your social media updates. This is a good way to garner the attention of your lay audience.
  • Consider tweeting information that is relevant to your followers whether it is a link to demographic statistics or an event in the city. Find a way to generate a conversation whenever possible and do not assume it has to be directly business related.
  • Social media is a world of give and take and if there is great content out there, consider sharing it while giving proper credit, and after getting permission if needed.