The Revolution will not be Tweeted: How Artists and Activists can Become Savvy Social Media Strategists

It’s amazing how the popularity of social networking sites has changed the way we link with each other in a way that would be unthinkable ten years ago—It’s made our lives easier, more efficient, and definitely more entertaining. Via FB or Twitter, we can now chat with friends in far away places, take part in online campaigns, tweet our favorite blogs, and even connect with celebrities.

Because of this huge shift, activists and artists who build their lives on interacting with others need to keep up with technology and become savvy users of social media. It’s important to note though that simply putting up a Facebook or Twitter profile does not automatically make you a social media expert. As it is, there are clear-cut techniques on how to effectively engage with your social media audience.

Find the perfect platform.
There are many different social media sites that you can use, depending on your needs. The biggest ones, based on the sheer volume of users, are Twitter and Facebook. You can also explore Youtube, Tumblr, and Instagram (for photographers), but for the sake of space, let’s focus first on the biggest players—Twitter and Facebook.

General Tips:

1. Make a “mother site”.

Whether it be a ready-made blog or a pro website with all the works, it’s important to set up a space where folks can head over to read about you. Not only will it give you more weight (read: credibility), but it will also make linking content easier

2. Never link FB and Twitter.

Many social media novices think that linking the two sites is the more practical choice—without considering that they each have their own characteristics and elements that make them very different. Take the time to maintain both or simply focus on one if you wish!

3. Don’t drown your audience with texts!

Post interesting pictures and videos or make a slideshow presentation—all of these forms of media are more engaging than boring old text.

4. Be sociable in social media.

Engage with people, talk to them, answer their questions, and get into debates. All of those are important in building your social media base.

Twitter tips:

Almost everybody knows how Twitter works so I won’t go into details anymore and instead go straight to the question that’s on everyone’s mind: how do I get more followers on Twitter?

Sad to say, there’s really no single, foolproof way to achieve this. Just keep in mind that if you post interesting things, people are more likely to re-tweet and follow you. And where do interesting posts come from, you ask? From leading an interesting life! So make sure to get away from the computer and connect with others in real life, as it will be your main source of inspiration.

1. Talk with people.

Engage in conversations with your followers. A quick and simple tip: putting a period before a person’s handle will make your tweet visible to the public instead of to just your followers.

2. Hashtags are there for a reason, use them.

Using hashtags will make it easier for you to promote an event or to organize your tweets. For example, before a big event, encourage your followers to use a hashtag (example: #DubaiBigEvent) to popularize it.

Facebook Tips:

If you really want to make a big impression on the net, Facebook is where the action is. Currently considered as the reigning king of social media, FB can drive up to 90% of online traffic to your mother site.

1. Don’t over-post:

Resist the urge to post a new status once every minute. Your FB friends will appreciate your status updates more if they see it only once or twice a day, instead of being flooded with mediocre posts that do nothing to improve your online credibility.

2. Remember, quality is better than quantity.

Be interactive. Again, you need to think of ways to engage with your FB contacts. Instead of just passively adding a picture or video, give them an idea of what it is about. Also, make it a point to respond to all comments—the more comments, the higher the chance to show up on others’ newsfeed.

3. “Use FB as your page” button.

It does wonders for your online presence and credibility. Use it.
It’s important to note that having an active online presence does not guarantee that you will gain actual, real-life followers. In the end, social media is just a tool to tell the world about the various campaigns, advocacies, and activities that you or your organization is doing in the real world.

Do you know other tips and tricks that I missed? Do shout out in the comments!

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© 2015 Copyright Hisham Algurg.