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Putting SOCIAL back in social media

social media okotoks

Ahhhhh, the rise and fall of being social on social media.

When we all got on Facebook for the first time, how ever long ago, we immediately hunted for old friends, did the standard checking out of how our old flame is doing and curiously checked on people we just met.

Fast forward, years, months, post the newly wed stage. We may have 'poked' someone, connected to say 'hi' and ... nothing. Some stay connected on facebook and other accounts to vicariously live through others, acting like an voyeur of their political stand points, new job/car/baby/relationship without saying anything. Some scroll through, restricting their 'likes' as though they have a budget, never updating their status or only adding their once a quarter picture.

Then you have businesses, they pop on, blast you with their self promotion and sit back in the dark hoping to see if they have caught any interest.

It's called social media. You're doing it wrong.

Scrolling through and watching from the outside and never partaking in the social aspect of social media, is an ineffective way to use the platform. It's designed to allow people to connect, share, engage, create change, movement, advertise and ... yes, shop.

You don't have to jump on board with a goal of becoming an influencer or grab at every event, and relentless push out every new update in your life but, as some say, social media can be depressing, connecting and sharing with others can have an uplifting effect.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Facebook: Say hello, invite a friend for coffee, congratulate someone on something monumental in their life.

Join a group, attend an event and stay connected with your community through local pages. Follow your favourite brands/companies and support them.

LinkedIn: Take the time to write a personal congratulations message (rather than the standard). Share something you have accomplished at work or a professional goal reached. Join a group that is based in your area of expertise.

Instagram: This is a platform you can have a lot of fun with. Its a picture book for adults so you dont have to engage as much and you can have an account based on something other than you (local page, pet page, business page, event, team, motivation etc...) Dip your toes in and have some fun with it.

As for businesses, get over the 'push out' strategy. No one wants to be sold to and if the relationship is one sided, how do you expect to build an excellent customer service base only talking to people without ever listening? You would never act like that in person, so why is it acceptable online? Follow other businesses, develop relationships and star the conversation online, you never know when you can collaborate in the future.

For all: People thrive on praise, why not offer your favourite companies a positive review? Write a thank you note on their page. Connect with an old friend, say congrats and appreciate the fact that they are sharing.

Its a great resource to learn from, online videos, webinars, live feeds and links to other learning resources. Connect, educate and build on your skills or learn something completely new.

Share, if you see a fundraiser, a helpful post, awareness etc, feel free to share it. Share your support for local businesses, they greatly appreciate it.

Shop. Whether online or in person, many companies highlight their products online, from art to shoes. Use Facebook as your local kijiji and get rid of the clutter in your home or pick up something from a neighbour and save it from the landfill. Reduce, reuse, repurpose. Selling items is a great way to earn extra money for the holidays while clearing out your less needed items.

Finally, have fun, be positive. Please don't choose social media as a complaint area, to rant about your daily life or only post something that drives you nuts. We all have days, but no one wants to see non-stop negativity.

Julie Boake

awedity creative

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