by Yvonne DiVita, co-founder of BlogPaws, pet-blogger at Scratchings & Sniffings
We often talk about what NOT to do when writing your blog or sharing information on Twitter and Facebook. It's easy to say, "Don't run on and on about yourself. It's not about you…it's about your readers." And, "Don't forget to use images – pictures and video are powerful connectors." We even advise, "Share an easy way to connect – have a dedicated email address for folks to write to you – not hotmail, not aol not yahoo…it needs to be professional. Your name is always good."
But, what about best practices? What kinds of things should you be doing on a day-to-day basis? Here are 5 Best Practices for Social Media Success:
1. Be present. In other words, don't start a blog and write in it 'occasionally.' Be active, participate in the conversation, invite feedback. On Facebook and Twitter, share other people's comments and content, where it's relevant. The more you support them, the more they will support you.
2. Be careful. Not a great writer? Use a dictionary, use spell-check (knowing it doesn't catch everything), and write shorter, simple sentences. It's better to provide simple, straight-forward information that won't contain misspellings or bad grammar, than to try and write a complicated essay.
3. Shorter is better. Again, short sentences and paragraphs but also short posts. Occasional longer posts (500 words or more) are okay, but for the most part, people have short attention spans online. Two- hundred words or less are best. I strive for between 200 -300 words on a daily basis for my blogs.
4. Cite sources. Cite more than one source. No matter how much of an expert you are – the world wants to know where you're getting your information. Even trusted sources like CNN have to show where the reporters received the information. Use links, use quotes, use discretion.
5. Don't spread rumors. It's tempting to see a blog post or a Facebook note and say, "Wow, I didn't know that! I have to share!" Before you share – check the sources. Being a loud voice in the wild discussion of a hot topic is not always best. Make sure the content you are about to share has merit – and the folks already talking about it aren't just shouting for the sake of shouting.
What best practices do you follow on your blog and social media sites?