Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, SnapChat – the list goes on and on…

Social Media is mainstream and everyone is jumping on board. Many of us over 60 don’t really know what Social Media will do, but we are willing to give it a try.

People say it will help us connect with friends and family, give us advice about our hobbies, provide insight and guidance with the aging process and even keep us up to date on current events.

 
 

How is Social Media Defined?

Social Media, as defined by the Oxford dictionary, is a group of online applications that enable users to create and share content. It provides the opportunity to engage with others that share our interests by eliminating physical, geographic and demographic barriers.

We can discover new hobbies, recipes, DIY projects and get ideas on where to take our next vacation or how to redo our kitchen. There is a ton of information on health and aging issues, discussion about drugs, vitamins, food supplements and insurance, as well as advice about local businesses and services. The list is endless. We can search for as much as we want and it’s all free! How good is that!

Understanding How Social Media Works

Using Social Media effectively is knowing how to find information and engage with others to build on-line relationships. I like to compare it to a library. Think about walking into your local library. If you walk in and stand there, nothing happens. Maybe someone will ask if you need anything, or you’ll be directed to a popular section. But that doesn’t help you find something specific.

Not knowing where to start can be stressful as there are so many sections in a library. If you go to a bookshelf, chances are it doesn’t contain any books of interest. When we were kids we were taught how the library is organized, where to look up books and the procedure to find a specific book’s location.

Just like using the library, we have to learn how to use Social Media. Once we know the basics, we can understand how it fits into our lives and benefit from our efforts. Here are seven tips for women over 60 to use social media successfully.

Introduce Yourself

Start by preparing a brief profile. This is the first thing you should do when you get access to a Social Media site. While it can be edited anytime, it is important to prepare your profile right away, as it tells people about you, helping them decide to follow or friend you.

Be brief, using a few sentences to identify yourself, where you live, your hobbies, your concerns and even your challenges. Building your audience is an ongoing process and a good profile goes a long way in helping others connect with you. Make sure to include a photo so people can better relate to you, or you can use a picture appropriate to your profile. I use pictures of my home in Thailand and my favorite cat. Being the “Happy Cat” living in Thailand, this is appropriate.

Like/Follow/Friend

Get engaged with others. You will find interesting people as you scroll through posts from friends/followers and from the posts provided based your site activity and profile. You should also search for keywords from your interests, hobbies, the current news/entertainment, upcoming events, health issues and so on.

When you find a site you like, like/follow/friend it and you’ll start receiving their posts. Chances are they will also like/follow/friend you and see your posts in their feed. By building your contacts, you’ll be improving the content on your page.

Share/Retweet/Comment

Respond to and post content you like. This helps build and strengthen your relationships. Retweet posts you really like and they will appear to all your followers. This encourages others to share your post to their followers, which could result in more followers for you.

Click the links on posts you find interesting. Consider commenting or messaging to discuss content. Others will notice your shares/retweets/comments, as you will notice theirs on your posts. All of this engagement increases our volume of relationships and makes them more meaningful.

Ensure Every Post Has a Purpose

The purpose could be to share your opinion, an observation or something funny to brighten up someone’s day. Think about how you want your reader to react. Do you want them to agree, to laugh, to share? Do you want them provide their opinion, maybe even to contact you? Contributing something, even something small, lets people get to know you and helps grow your followers/friends.

Include a Photo/Video with Your Posts

People love visuals; visuals draw them to the post and keep them coming back. Text-only posts are rather boring and often people scroll past them, stopping to only read posts with a visual. Photos don’t have to exactly depict the post content, but they should be related. As you scroll through your post feed you’ll understand the importance of a picture. You may find you are also scrolling past the text posts, looking for something to catch your eye.

Keep Your Posts Authentic

Stay consistent with your profile and/or previous posts. If you deviate from what you’ve previously said, you could turn off your followers. They also don’t like when you exaggerate or embellish. Stick to the truth. Being real and honest always wins on Social Media.

Use Good Formatting

Be sure to include proper spelling, grammar and punctuation. Posts should be easy on the eye, allowing them to move around without any errors to slow them down. The use of a title, short paragraphs and maybe a link, as opposed to posting words all jumbled together, results in a post that is enjoyable to read and easy to like.

Social Media sites have similar functionality. Once you are comfortable with one, others are easy to figure out. You’ll know what to look for and be up and running rather quickly.

Social Media is a two-way street: keep your followers happy with interesting and engaging discussion and they will reciprocate, keeping you happy and engaged.

How involved are you on Social Media? What channels do you enjoy? Do you love Facebook? Do you tweet or post on Pinterest? Are you on Tumblr, Snapchat or Instagram? Please be “social” and join in the conversation.

Perley-Ann-FriedmanAbout Perley-Ann Friedman – The Happy Cat. I’m Canadian and now live on Koh Lanta, a small island in Thailand. The alternative lifestyle of island living is a great way to ease into retirement. At 61, I’m healthy, active and totally love cats. I’ve consciously chosen to be positive and continuously grow as I journey through life. You can see more of my writing at thehappycat.ca

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