Using social media to stay ahead of the curve.

Social media has become a bigger part of business, and indeed life in general, than anyone could have expected. It has become, in only a few years, an all-but essential way of communicating and keeping up with trends. Social media is now a vital part of business branding and communicating with customers, clients and partners.

 

There are endless ways to use social media – a constantly shifting, uncountable number of combinations of services and functions – and the most important thing of all is finding the right one that allows you to get the most out of it and stay ahead of the curve in business. Here are a few of the basics to get you started.

 

Follow the right people

This is step one, and it’s easy to get it wrong from the get-go. On signing up for a service, it will often recommend you people to follow – usually the most popular and well-known users. It may be tempting to sign up to Stephen Fry’s Twitter, but it’s unlikely he’ll have too many business insights. Sir Alan Sugar may seem like a more attractive prospect in that regard, but it’s more likely he’ll be tweeting about himself, or the Apprentice final, to offer up anything useful. It may feel a bit impersonal, but the best resources are content aggregators – the London School of Business and Finance (LSBF), for example, provide daily business and finance news, particularly targeted towards emerging trends and getting started in new fields.

 

Keep organised

If you do decide to widen your net, it’s important to organise the people you follow and subscribe to so the important things don’t get lost in a vast, unending sea of information. Twitter is particularly good for this, providing a Lists feature that allows you to divide the people you follow, and even those you don’t, in to categories. You could have separate Lists for finance, tech, and the various other fields you are interested in, or divide them in to people, companies and news sources – whatever works for you.

 

Don’t always ignore the ads

No one likes seeing their news feeds cluttered with ads, but it can be a bad idea to ignore them altogether. Targeted advertising could be offering you deals based on things you’ve been searching for – a great way to save money – or slightly more natural recommendations that suggests accounts similar to ones you already follow could be pointing you in the direction of something you’ve been missing out on.

 

Keep it separate

All social media services come with smartphone apps, and it could be tempting to have everything on your phone. Eventually, though, the constant access to so much information will only distract you from more important things, or just get exhausting, making you more inclined to ignore it. Set some time aside to keep up to date when it works best for you.