I recently delivered some training to staff at the University of South Wales who all seemed to have similar questions – what is social media? What is it good for? How can I use it? What should I use?
The sessions were really fun to run, with plenty of the kinds of searching questions you’d expect from academics, and a real desire to get to grips with the opportunities available to them. When defining social media, I like to say it refers to participation in the creation of online media – sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Youtube are all similar in that they encourage everyone to participate in the creation of media.
So how can you get involved in that? What does it mean for professionals? The basics of the session can be summarized by three key points:
- Play to your strengths – if you’re a wordsmith write a blog, if you’re a visual image type try Instagram or Tumblr, if you’re a curator try Pinterest. Don’t force yourself to comply with the most popular medium if you won’t enjoy it!
- Focus – don’t start a presence on everything and spread yourself thinly…put your efforts into building something brilliant in one place, then start reaching out to other places to tell people about it!
- Stay motivated – setting sensible benchmarks and targets, having access to meaningful stats and realising real-world objectives will help you remember why you’re doing this! If you’re not making money from it, make sure you have something else to motivate you!
Anyway…the sessions were a great way to kick-start people’s interest in what social media can offer. For academics I recommended the basic social media toolkit of a blog, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. A pretty ‘vanilla’ combo I’m sure you’ll agree, but you can get great results using those platforms.
You can download the (very simple) presentation here – University of South Wales social presentation