I just read a story on social media about some guy who time-traveled here from 2030 to tell us what's going to happen this year.
That guy is going to have a hard time getting anyone to believe him. Back to the present, let's talk resolutions — five things you can do to be better on social media in 2019.
Know your audience. Where are the people you are trying to reach? You should find out, otherwise you might as well be talking into space because no one will hear you. People get caught up in how many followers they have and how fast "the numbers grow." I'm here to tell you after 12 years of doing this that numbers do not matter. I say this many times a year, but it's always true: I'd rather have 10 extremely engaged followers on one account than 10,000 barely active, probable bots on multiple ones.
Once you identify your audience, keep it and grow it by being useful and interesting. If you post photos on Instagram and someone comments on that photo, comment back even if it's just to give a simple thank you.
Listen to your colleagues and industry peers. What trends are like-minded people capitalizing on? Has everyone jumped ship from LinkedIn and moved to Facebook Groups? Just because they have doesn't mean you should, but it also doesn't mean you shouldn't. Be well-read, well-versed and always up to speed because things change fast in the digital world.
Keep secure, please. Terrible passwords are so 2018. And 2017. And 2016. And … I also write this every single year. And just when I think people will listen and create secure passwords, another story comes out about how this past year's most popular passwords were "Donald," "baseball" and "123456." While technology is advancing enough where we have some sites secured using fingerprints and facial recognition, plenty of websites are still old-fashioned and digitally weak. You can't prevent a company from being hacked and having your information compromised, but you can minimize the damage by creating secure and unique passwords for each of the different sites you visit.
Clean up your followers and connections. Once upon a time, I clicked yes to every single connection request I ever received on LinkedIn. Fast forward to a few thousand people later — people whom I don't know and who have never engaged with me in any meaningful way — and I have a bloated follower count that means nothing. As I noted in the first resolution above, numbers are just numbers. Take the time to disconnect, unfollow and unlike where appropriate.
Update your settings four times this year. We're talking 10 minutes of your time, once every three months. A whole 40 minutes out of 525,600. And by "updating settings," I mean go to the settings menu on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc., and check what's under there. Here's a great example: Did you use Facebook and take one of those seemingly harmless quizzes? If so, there's a 99.9% chance you inadvertently gave someone access to your Facebook account. They might not have your password, but they might be able to post on your behalf. Pro tip: Make it easy for yourself by setting an Outlook reminder on the first day of each season for you to make sure your passwords are secure, and make sure things look the way they should.
You could spend days or weeks tweaking your social media until everything is perfect, but unless your job is in social media and you have all that time to do that, these quick and easy resolutions are more than sufficient to get you safely and securely to 2020. That's when my future self will be working on next year's social media resolutions column.
If you have a social media question or an idea for a column, please let me know. Tweet them to me with the hashtag #onsocialmedia or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And remember to follow InvestmentNews. We're at @newsfromIN on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — and just search InvestmentNews to find us on LinkedIn.
Happy New Year.