Top 5 Tips from Emerson College Social Media Panel

Last night I had the pleasure of moderating Emerson College’s social media panel, better known as #ECpanel. The idea of the event was to bring together students and professionals for a discussion of the key trends driving social networking activity, and how students can use social media to their advantage. The panelists consisted of active members of the Boston social media scene, including Joselin Mane, Tom O’Keefe, Jenna Lebel, and Janet Aronica.

The event was a great success as students gained key insights from the panelists, and we even got #ECpanel to become a Twitter trending topic in Boston. Below are my top five favorite tips from last night’s panel.

1. Be passionate. There is an old adage that you should write what you know about. Turns out, this couldn’t be more true. Find something that you love, and create content about that particular area of interest. Writing about your passion allows you to be authentic and engaging. By doing so, you naturally become associated with that interest, and after enough content is created, you can work your way into the heralded position of a thought leader.

2. Use social media as an extension of your voice. When discussing whether or not social media tools such as Twitter are breaking down our society’s ability to effectively communicate the old-fashioned way (you know – in person), it was noted that this is not the case. Instead, social media is an extension of our voices and should be used as such; it’s not a replacement. The way you act online should ultimately reflect who you are offline.

3. Use your head. This one may seem obvious, but I think it needs to be said. You want to use social media intelligently, and the only way to do so is to use your head. Proofread those status updates before sending them out to your entire social graph. Make sure that photograph you are posting represents you and the way you want others to see you. If not, trash it. And finally, think twice, tweet once.

4. It’s called SOCIAL media. If you’re using social media purely as a distribution channel, you’re doing it wrong. There’s a reason it’s called social media, and that reason is because these tools are actually conversation channels and must be treated as such in order to effectively function. Take some time to engage your social graph in authentic, meaningful dialogue. Build lasting connections and your time spent on social media will be infinitely more valuable.

5. Spread goodness. Social media is the great amplifier – if you’re a good person offline, chances are you will be viewed as a good person online as well. With the abundance of online resources at our disposal, it’s not long before the real you comes across online – for better or for worse. Therefore, if you remember to spread goodness wherever you are, you simply can’t lose. People will enjoy your company more, and you in turn will enjoy theirs.

Those were just a few of the many fantastic points made at the #ECpanel. If you also attended, what were some of your favorite points? If you didn’t make it to the panel, what other social media tips would you add to this list?

[Photo: Twitpic/celianissen]

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