With the fall of MySpace a few years back, many analysts predicted that social media would just be a fad and would eventually disappear… boy, were they wrong! Social media is now one of the most effective forms of communications and has redefined many industries including public relations.

This is good news for those of us in the public relations world, because this means that there will always be a place for us. The more people have and use social media, the more public relations becomes a necessity.  And from this beast is born a new monster: the social media specialist.

The social media specialist is the person responsible for overseeing and managing the social media sites and creating brand awareness. But beware social media specialist: social media is an effective tool if used correctly, but equally so, social media can also be a deadly weapon against yourself if used incorrectly.  So here are my 5 rules to social media

1.    Don’t overuse social media: Nobody likes the guy who is spamming up your feed with random useless posts and tweets. The same can happen if too much is posted daily by your social media specialist. Don’t make too many posts at one time; separate your posts by at least 2 hours.

2.    Don’t underuse social media: You want to create brand awareness, and you’re not effectively doing that if you only make one post or tweet a day. My general rule of thumb is 2 to 4 posts pending on the content that you are posting or tweeting.

3.    Understand when to use social media: Studies show the most effective times to use social media is between 1:00 pm -4:00 pm in your respected time zones. These are the times when Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube get its heaviest traffic. Post or tweet your most important information at those times. Like everything in life, the earlier the better.

4.    Don’t just retweet or repost other people’s posts: I get it, sometimes posting up other people’s stuff is effective. But if done too often, it makes you look lazy. It’s a nice way of telling your social media audience: “hey, I’m too lazy to come up with any new ideas but check out their idea”. Be creative, who know…other people may start reposting and retweeting your stuff.

5.    Interact: Too often is social media in the professional world treated like a robot, only able to speak but not understand. Communicate with people. Notice the word “social” in social media. We’re all really good at communicating with our personal social media platforms, but we do a horrible job at it with our professional sites. Don’t sound like a robot, talk to the people.

Social media is still in its early age and were all still learning how to use it correctly. But follow these rules and you’re bound for an effective and successful social media campaign.

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