There are things on social media that set apart the altruistic (check out this cool thing!), from the self-serving (buy my widget now!). If you do nothing else, consider creating your social media strategy to encompass increasingly pro-social guidelines. The more you give, the more the community will give back, but it needs to be done with a sensitive hand. Think of communities as roses to be tendered and beware of the thorns, check that your social media activities are based on strategy, structure, focus and value. The more value you create, the more customers will find you and of course insure that you are able to measure this.

1. Make your social media about YOU!

You can opt to use social media as tools for yourself, your organisations and your followers – to enhance communication, info sharing, etc. It is okay to promote yourself and the things you love, but do it sensitively and with thought to the value you are creating for your community, lurk for a while to get the vibe before you start making contributions. Use Twitter and Pinterest as social bookmarking tools.

Pinterest:

The new kid on the block is Pinterest which is great because It can unite a bunch of interests in a visually pleasing way. The sheer uniformity and quality of images on Pinterest sets it apart from nearly every other user generated content spaces. Pinterest applies order to chaos with elegant results.

2. Share more

Share, share and share some more. But make sure that what you’re sharing is relevant to your audience.

Your childhood friends (Facebook, most likely) care about what you are doing for the weekend or how your cooking classes are coming on– your Linked In colleagues? Not so much. But Linked In can be a great vehicle for establishing street cred quickly. You can ask questions or answer them, post useful updates, comment in groups, etc.

3. Leverage yourself

Think about how to inter-connect your social media outlets and efforts. Facebook, Twitter and Linked In all offer easy integration with each other, and there are many widgets available such as widget box, that allow you to embed your real-time streams into other locations. This is great because it keeps your content fresh, without having to do a bunch more work.

4. Aggregate your social streams

If you are one of those people or organizations who is heavy into social media, there are a whole crop of tools that make stream management so much easier. Google Places and  Hootsuite,  lets you aggregate your streams in one place for easy viewing (by you or others). Some are focused more on publishing (TweetDeck), others on analytics and other influence/reach metrics:

5. Don’t get too attached to any one platform

It’s pretty likely we have no idea what social media technology sites will be by, 2015.  Many of the current tools have allowed a range of social phenomena we have really never seen before.

Early adopters can sometimes find a massive advantage with one clever idea. Things occasionally go viral and enchant millions. This is a level of reach and connectedness we have never known.  What’s incredible about social media is what they enable in our culture, not whether it’s called Facebook or Twitter. Just because you have a hammer, it doesn’t make everything else a chisel and thinking it does will limit you from acting nimbly on new opportunities.