12 Social Media Rules For eLearning Professionals
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus are a few of the biggest names in social media today, and these sites carry a great deal of weight when it comes to your online reputation. Not having an online presence on these platforms can be as much of a hindrance to your professional success as not following the proper social media netiquette. So, how can you be sure that your online presence is as effective as it could be? Posting, tweeting and responding to comments may not be enough. In this article, I will reveal the 12 golden social media rules for eLearning professionals, so that you make sure that your online presence successfully reflects your eLearning professional identity.
- Introduce yourself properly.
A good start is halfway to success. Be sure that your profile is in-line with your professional image. Include a polished profile picture, logos, and any other company branding that accurately reflects your message. Make sure that the profiles of all social media you use are complete, as unfinished ones may give the impression that you never finish what you start, and, of course, consistent and related to each other. In addition, make sure that you’ve linked to any and all sites that may be useful to your followers. Include a section that provides your profile viewers with detailed information about who you are; this is how you will present yourself to your audience, clients and potential partners. The more concrete and clear your self-introduction is, the more likely will be for your profile viewers to actually follow you. Furthermore, when applicable, consider customizing your profile with a background that is related to your brand and don’t forget to link to your social media profiles on your website or within your eLearning course, so that they can contact you via those avenues.
- Check for language, grammar, and spelling mistakes.
Your online presence on social media sites must be perfect. Proofread every post, tweet, or comment before you actually post it, to ensure that there is no grammar or spelling mistake. In fact, it may be wise to type up your post in a word document beforehand, so that you can catch any mistakes and go through it with a fine toothed comb, rather than run the risk of publishing an error-ridden post. Furthermore, make sure that you use correctly not only your own language, but also the language of social media. For instance, on Twitter or Instagram one hashtag, or maybe two, is fine but ten hashtags in a row is not.
- Be original.
For your online presence to stand out on social media, it needs to be authentic; the posts that really stand out in people’s minds and stick in their memory are the ones that are original, creative, and engaging. Don’t re-post and re-tweet the same thing that everyone else has already posted and tweeted, and, if you insist on doing so, present the topic from a different perspective. If you can look at it from a fresh angle or use your unique talent and expertise to tackle an entirely new topic, then you will be able to create a thriving social media presence that stands the test of time. Furthermore, make sure you provide your account followers with current information in a creative way, in order to spark online discussion. And why not interact with your followers by asking them a question or starting an active discussion? You may ask their opinions about any issue, as long as it’s not too controversial, or ask for their feedback. This not only shows that you care what they think or how they feel, but allows you to directly interact with them.
- Establish a consistent online presence.
If your eLearning team does not have a member exclusively dedicated to protect and promote your brand’s social networks, think of hiring one. If this is not an option and you have to do it yourself, keep in mind that social media management is not a 9-to-5 job; your social media presence must be frequent and consistent. To stay up-to-date with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus and so on, all of which are incredibly fluid, you need to post, reply, comment, re-post and re-tweet several times a day, every day, including weekends and holidays. Otherwise, your brand awareness will fade out and your account followers will disengage and forget about you.
- Avoid becoming bothersome.
Avoid just posting for the sake of posting. Make sure that every time you do it, you have something meaningful to say. It can be tricky to know just how often you should post on your social media accounts. While it is important to be consistent, you shouldn’t post on your page just because you want to stay fresh in their minds. In other words, if you don’t have anything that is worth posting, then wait until you have something worthwhile to say. You can also do a bit of research in eLearning blogs or scan news sites to find valuable eLearning articles that you may want to share with your followers.
- Share only relevant content and quality news.
Offering information of value is the top quality that makes your eLearning presence stand out on social media. Worthwhile information, best practices and useful resources are what will make your account followers to depend on you and always ask for more. Build your credibility by sharing quality news, eLearning articles, different perspectives, and trends that your audience may be interested in, and give them links to sites they may find helpful, or tell them about breaking industry news or trends. Be the person who everyone turns to for insight into your eLearning niche by giving them inspirational bits of advice that they can use in their everyday lives. The content that you post on your social media pages must be relevant and offer your followers real value, as well as relate to them on some level, personally or professionally. Your message should be that you haven’t created your account to abuse your followers’ trust by constantly pitching about you and your brand, trying to sell them, but rather to share useful content of common interest, exchange ideas, and cultivate a fruitful dialogue. Make sure that this message is clearly reflected on your posts and it will be greatly appreciated by everyone.
- Be polite. Do not send automated responses and messages.
Needless to say that personal attacks, insults, ethnic slurs or obscenity on your behalf are under no circumstances acceptable; this is an unquestionable social media rule in general. But there are also some other ways to be impolite: automated responses and messages. If you want to keep your social media followers and friends engaged, avoid sending them automatic messages to thank them for following you or for accepting your connection request. Personalize your requests by explaining why you want to connect, and your “thank you” messages, by making a brief but thoughtful comment. This way, you show that you respect your followers and you give real value to your connections. Furthermore, always try to respond to all comments and messages as quickly as possible, as this also shows consideration and courtesy.
- Respect someone's decision NOT to accept your invitation.
Speaking of courtesy, if someone doesn’t accept your connection request, for any reason, accept their decision and don’t insist; after all, it is their right to decline your request, as it is yours to manage your social network in any way you like. Furthermore, always make sure that your messages, posts, tweets and comments are graceful and politically correct, as well as that you never put pressure on people to follow you; provide them with reasons why they should do so, instead.
- Maintain separately personal and professional connections.
Your personal connections have no place in the account you have as an eLearning professional. Business and pleasure don’t go together and the best thing to do is to maintain separate profiles and accounts for your personal and professional life. If you insist on including your friends and relatives in both accounts, remember to keep a distance from them in the professional one; you cannot comment on your cousin’s photo with your eLearning identity. Consequently, don’t send invitations for birthdays and games to your followers or business associates. Define your core audience and focus on them.
- Do not violate copyright laws.
In order for your online material to be reliable, whether it is an article or a simple comment, always make sure that you follow one of the greatest social media rules for eLearning professionals: don’t violate copyright laws and always refer to the source you were inspired from. Try to include only authoritative sources to validate your posts and tweets and don’t cite your audience, clients, employees and partners without their permission. This way, you can be sure that your social media content is trustworthy and really valuable.
- Provide evidence for your posts.
We’ve all followed or “liked” someone on social media who has posted something that turned out to be completely unfounded. In many cases, they had no reason to believe that the post was untrue, but simply didn’t research the evidence before announcing it on a social media site. This is why it’s essential, as an eLearning professional, to verify every post that you make. Any factual post that you write should have supporting evidence. For example, if you post a statistic, you will probably want to also include a link to the article in which you found the information. Also, make sure that it’s a credible and authoritative site that can validate your post.
- Use every post to reinforce your professional identity.
Finally, remember that everything you post reflects your brand and your professional identity. Don’t put anything on the internet that you don’t want your clients and partners to see and never post when your are tired or upset. Finally, take responsibility for everything you upload. Stay focused on promoting a credible, professional eLearning identity and try to make the most out of all the exciting experiences that social media have to offer you.
Keep this social networking eLearning guide on hand when venturing onto social media sites, so that you can make the most of your social media profiles and successfully cultivate and manage your eLearning image.
Now that you know the basic social media rules for eLearning professionals, you may want to know how you can establish yourself as an eLearning professional in a strictly professional network. Read the article 10 LinkedIn Profile Mistakes That eLearning Professionals Should Avoid and find out how your LinkedIn presence can successfully promote your eLearning professional identity.