Leveraging Social Media With Enthusiasm

The fact is that we are a culture of convenience. Most people opt for the easiest way to do whatever. However, the easiest way is not always the best (or most effective) way to do things. The same concept applies to social media. When it comes to using social media and really working our connections, it is very easy to fall into the trap of choosing what is easiest. It may be time to look at what we are doing and eliminate the easy path if it is not the way that produces the best results.

Breaking old habits 
One click of the button often gets you to where you want to go. However, sometimes, the issue is that if you get used to such extreme, easy circumstances, it is often difficult to get used to making more effort again. Being lazy (or making a little effort) is probably not the best approach to take in general. Of course, that does not mean that efficiency is overrated. It certainly has its merits. The fact is that, nowadays, people don't have a lot of time on their hands and they have gotten used to doing things quickly and receiving things that can be digested or resolved very easily. If they need to spend any more than a short time on anything, they may not be willing to do so. It is not anyone's fault, it is just the world that we live in now.

It is very easy to see some content that may or may not be of value and, without thinking too much about it, just forward it to other people in your online social circles. It is a wonderful idea to share valuable content; however, there are times when it is probably beneficial to take a careful look at what you are forwarding before you actually forward it. If you make that effort, you may find that you don't think that forwarding it to other people is such a brilliant idea after all.

It is important for you to remember that if you forward content to other people online (people whom you presumably trust and value), it is your reputation on the line. That is why it is so critical that you share only the content that you really believe is worth sharing. If what you are sharing is in any way inappropriate (or insensitive), you shouldn't do it. The one thing that you should never do is to share a piece of content without reading it first. If you are trying to boost your professional reputation, that is not the way to do it. In fact, it may damage your reputation.

This is not meant to discourage you from reposting articles that you find interesting and valuable. It is just meant to encourage you to make informed decisions before you repost. There are a few ground rules that you may wish to follow.

Only share content if it is truly justified in your opinion: If you come across content that you feel will help other people in some way (and boost your reputation at the same time), it is worth reposting. In that situation, you are giving something positive to someone else. However, if you are on the fence about whether the content actually holds value and you aren't sure that anyone else will benefit from reading that content, you probably shouldn't send it to anyone.

Give something of value to the other person: If you come across an article and you enjoy reading it, that isn't necessarily enough of a criterion to pass it on to someone else. Even if that article is extremely well written, you need more than that to justify sharing it. You need to be fairly confident that it is not only worth your time but that it is also worthwhile for the other person. Again, it is your reputation at stake so make sure that you are certain that you know what you are doing.

Read the content all the way to the end: This can't be emphasized enough. If you don't read the entire article, you shouldn't share it with anyone. That should hopefully relatively painless for you. Many pieces of content are not very long. However, they can be very valuable. You will only be able to determine that if you read it. It is a fact that the title of an article is the first thing to attract the reader and that reader will only take 3 seconds (or less) before he or she will decide to continue reading or move on to someone else's article. If you make it past the title, hopefully, the rest of the article will hold a lot of promise. Take the time to read it. Most likely, you will be happy that you did.

Do more than just like content: Once you have read the article, it is really valuable for you to express your opinion about what you have just read. Everyone is interested in what you have to say. If you just like everyone, people may start to think about you as the boy who cried wolf. Liking everything is the same as liking nothing. Frankly, it is the easy way out. It might make other people think that you are involved when you really aren't. You should be genuinely involved. That is how you establish relationships and that is how you build trust and credibility.

Push yourself to do more: Make it a consistent habit to make some sort of valuable comment or post a thought-provoking question of some kind at the end of each post that you forward. It will get the conversation moving and the interactions that everyone experiences will be stimulating. If you make the effort to get involved, other people will have a positive perception of you and they will want to interact with you further.

Identify your target audience before anything else: It shouldn't be extremely difficult to determine exactly who your target audience is. Once you have done that, you will be able to wrap your mind around what they want and need and make a big effort to give it to them. In addition to your target audience's wants and needs, you should also try to figure out what is interesting to them. If you can determine that, you will also have a clear sense of how to "speak" to them in their language, which will be extremely effective and useful.

Laziness never really results in anything positive. Not for you and not for other people around you. Another side effect of laziness that you probably want to avoid is procrastination. If you give into that, your productivity will go out the window. If you are naturally inclined to choose the easy path (which most human beings are), stop and think about it and try to redirect and choose the approach that requires more effort but that also yields more positive results. You should do everything possible to stay motivated. You will do exceptional work if you do.

Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies. Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company's Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. He also reduced company travel and travel costs by introducing and implementing various collaboration technologies.

His expertise includes business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.

Mr. Cohn earned a Master's degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master's degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.

Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

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