Twitter birdEngagement is the way to be successful in social media but HOW do you go about being engaging? This is the dilemma of many new social media participants. This post is meant to be a guide to get your efforts started and help social media newbies turn into fans! One thing that you learn along the way is that everyone has their own style, likes and dislikes – there is not necessarily a right or wrong way. Jump in the waters great!

All you experienced social media enthusiasts, feel free to add your suggestions in the comments.

Don’t be a lurker

Social media needs to be social so please join the conversation, you will be glad you did! The most polite way on Twitter is to say “hi” directly in a tweet, not to hijack someone’s existing conversation. If you are Facebook stalking, please like or comment on people’s content. They will be thrilled.

Attend a social media conference or workshop

This is a great way to meet new people with common interests and make great connections. Many cities have Social Media Clubs or activities. Some blogs have links for conferences on the sidebars, check them out.

Find interesting people to follow or friend

Learning the ropes from an experienced person is the easiest way to get acclimated. When I was new, so many people answered questions for me and helped me. I try to pay this forward and help out newer people whenever possible.

Don’t get discouraged

If you encounter one rude person, don’t let that sour you from the entire social media world. There are a few people who you might not want to be friends with and that’s ok; isn’t that the same as real life?

Learn the lingo

If you see someone use a phrase you don’t know, ask them what it is. Every medium has its own language and you need to use the proper terminology to participate.

Attend a chat

Best place to meet people on Twitter in my opinion. There is a chat for literally every topic possible, find something that interests you or is work related and enjoy!

Comment on blogs

Bloggers spend a lot of time writing their posts and some do not get a lot of comments. Please take a minute to thoughtfully comment on the post you just read. Bloggers everywhere will rejoice.

Share others content

Did you LOVE the blog you just read? Comment and share: that is the gold star of the day. If I really like the post, I will tweet it, Facebook share it, LinkedIn update it and Stumble It. Good content is made to be shared, if you like it chances are your friends and followers will too. The same goes for tweets or Google+ content.

Say please and thank you

As in life, manners are very important in social media. Saying thank you always goes a long way and help others when you can.

Do not “borrow” others material

If you didn’t write the thought, please credit whoever did. No one appreciates having their material poached, please make sure that you give credit for tweets by including the original senders twitter handle. You should never “borrow” material from a blog without permission. This includes copying the style of people’s engagement to the point of directly using their phrases. Being unique within social media makes all the difference!

Pay attention to details

Ask other people what THEY are doing! Check out their profile, use something interesting to spark a conversation. Nothing interests other people more than YOU being interested in them. (hat tip to Jessica Northey for this one!)

Ask questions!

This is the only way to go! Find smart people, observe and ask questions. You will learn everything you need to know in time. Be patient with yourself and have fun!

I am sure I missed a few ways to be engaging in social media… please share your tips!

Featured image courtesy of wellohorld licensed via Creative Commons.