10 Habits of Highly Efficient Social Media Power Users
Many people view social media as a waste of time while others expect them to be some kind of promised land for self promotion. Both groups will never use social media to their fullest potential. The truth lies of course somewhere in between.
While it is easy to waste your time on addictive social media sites like Pinterest, Twitter or Inbound.org you can use them responsibly and happily to both the benefit of yourself as well as the respective communities.
While I’m not entirely free of addiction and have to fight time wasting tendencies myself, I have, by now and after years of participation, found out several key factors of using social media in the best possible way.
I’m not zaibatsu but I’m a very active user at the 3 above mentioned communities:
Moreover I am actively participating at
While I am not trying “to leverage traffic” directly from these communities most of the time I benefit from these is several ways:
- Industry recognition as a social media specialist
- Direct contact to clients, some approach me, others look me up
- Entertainment – I feel better afterwards when I take a break to pin
- Information – I’m the first one to know what’s going on in my fields of interest
- I’m famous – this is no joke, people from all over the world know me
To make sense social media need to work both ways. It needs to work for the site and you too.
In case you spend hours daily as a user generating content for free you are basically working like a slave.
So there must be a mutual benefit so that you do not get exploited. When only two or fewer of the above points apply to you and none other positive outcomes come to your mind you should rethink the way you use social media as then these companies use and abuse you as a free workforce.
You are the product not the customer when there is no tangible benefit of social media usage for you.
The best way to make social media work for the mutual benefit of you and not only the venture capitalists behind them is setting up a blog. Remember that social media otherwise own all of you:
- your social relations
- your content
- your time
Having a blog means remaining your own master.
As a blogger you can use social media to drive traffic to your blog or not, but at least nobody can take away your content, make you pay for contacting your friends, or resell your and make money off your work while you earn nothing for it.
Your blog is your focal point of your social media activity.
So implying that you already have a blog you should try to stick to the following 10 habits of highly efficient social media power users:
- Use social media in the morning, during breaks or at the evening. When you’re not able to work yet or already social media will allow you to spend the time somewhat productively despite fatigue. Of course do not spend all your free time using it and do not waste your best working hours.
- Do not read daily newspapers or direct news sources, let the “wisdom of crowds” of social media users filter the important stuff for you, this way you spare time in fact. Check only websites you really can’t live without directly.
- Use a feed reader like Feedly or Netvibes and only read the headlines relevant in a given moment. For instance on Netvibes I have a tab for SEO blogs and another for green blogs. I only read the green blogs when I’m done with my work.
- Socialize with your friends on several platforms. This way no company can take away your social capital or sell it back to you once they leave beta, their share plummets or the company is swallowed by another less scrupulous one.
- Never actively search for content you could share on social media, submit stuff that you read and like anyway.
- Share things that are popular on one platform to another if you think it might be suitable for this audience as well.
- Focus on only a few of your favorite social media sites. Use not the most popular ones but those which have the most benefit to you personally either by suiting your interests best or having a positive impact on your online presence not necessarily via traffic only. For instance Inbound.org is less important for referral traffic but very good for my reputation. Also Google+ is negligible for traffic but I established many relationships there with my peers.
- In case you want to get traffic via social media use them like Domino: for instance in the best case I just need to share a story on Google+ in order to get it tweeted by others or submitted to Inbound.org
- Do not submit your own stories at social media communities unless they really condone it and you are a well known and/or respected community member there.
- Do share stuff of your favorite bloggers and peers. Link them in your blog posts and befriend them where it does make sense. For instance befriending people on Twitter or Google+ does only make sense in case you want their content served in your personal stream. They are also able to send you messages. This can get annoying. Inbound.org has only a rudimentary follow feature in contrast but you can befriend the people on other sites.
When you develop these 10 habits you will get quite popular on social media just after using them for a while.
Participation is key and if you do not expect instant gratification via loads of traffic you will succeed in the middle or long term also as a blogger. Eventually you will get loads of traffic anyway.
Social media participation is not a one night stand, it’s a stable relationship.
Once you understand that, you’re on your way to become a power user.
You don’t have to be a top user to be a power user. It’s not about numbers. It’s about how you participate not solely how much.
Original version published: January 30th, 2008. Last update and V2: May 26th, 2014: Removed defunct or irrelevant social sites and replaced with current ones. Changed wording a bit and improved text formatting. Added a new image.
* Creative Commons image by Hakan Dahlström