9 Tips For Mastering Social Media

1. Be Active on Multiple Social Networks: Especially Facebook and Twitter. Social networks are essential tools to get a sense on what's trending, gather news, and drive readers to your work. This is critical to gaining a readership, especially since Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are factored into your article's Google ranking.

2. Use Your Real Name:


Use your real name for your Facebook username and Twitter handle. This will help build your brand, and make yourself easily searchable on various platforms. We encourage you to identify yourself as a PolicyMic writer in your profile.

3. Friend and Follow:


Friend and follow everyone from the PolicyMic community, including editors, fellow pundits, and contributors. Do this on as many social media networks as possible. Ask everyone to follow you back.

4. Share ALL Your Articles:


Share all your articles through all your social networks as soon as they go "live." Target people and pages that might be interested in your topic and can help your story go viral by posting or retweeting your article to their followers. Don't hesitate to politely ask them to do so, and make sure you follow/friend them and show them love back.

5. Share Other Content: 


Don't forget to share other content. Don't use social media exclusively for shameless professional self-promotion. It'll get tired, quickly. Post and retweet blog posts and op-eds from across the web (from your favorite outlets and writers). This will have the added bonus of keeping your feed full of up to date, relevant information that you and your followers can use for story ideas for their own writing/blogging.

6. Learn the Styles and Languages:


Facebook is more personal, appeals to emotions, and to a sense of belonging to certain social groups (e.g. liberals, conservatives, LGBT ... Homeland fans). Twitter is about immediacy; having a conversation in real time and being able to capitalize on trends in order to broaden the audience as much as possible. Google+ helps with the Google (SEO) rankings of your stories. 

7. Be in a Social Media State of Mind:


Be in a social media state of mind 24/7/365. Be aware of what kind of articles are being most shared on your Facebook feed and think about what you can learn from these articles for your own writing. Take note of the top Twitter, Google+ and Tumblr hashtags. Be aware of the topics people are searching for and talking about all across the web. Also, support your fellow writers by posting their stories and commenting on them, as well as by sharing/reposting and retweeting stories posted by others. 

8. Use Social Media to Generate Story Ideas:

 Use Facebook and Twitter to generate story ideas and help you develop fresh angles on your topic. Curate your social media feeds like a boss, so you receive the information you're interested in from the sources you're passionate about — in real time. Don't be afraid to continually tweak your lists of people you follow to reflect either a change in your interests or a temporary trend you might be performing research on. Also, use the Twitter "lists" feature to gather all your relevant groups (classmates, co-workers, favorite foreign policy/domestic politics columnists, etc.). It’ll save you time when doing research.

9. Be a Storyteller: 


Remember that though social media is good to broadcast your opinion, the medium is mainly about storytelling. While a string of passionate tweets could get you some buzz, people will come back to your feed (and will retweet you, reblog your Tumblrs, and share your FB posts) only if you have a story to tell. Think of tweets and FB posts as a shorter version of your PolicyMic articles; what's the point of them, who would be interested in them and why? Also, give your audience a "behind the scenes" look by sharing a little bit about yourself beyond your role as a writer (e.g. the awesome bar you visited, your new favorite book). Just don't Instagram every meal!

Read: PolicyMic Social Media Guidelines

We welcome and appreciate your feedback in the comments section. You also can contact Alex Marin, PolicyMic's Social Media and Trends Editor, by emailing to alex@policymic.com or tweeting to @marin_alex.