Social media has revolutionized the world. Since MySpace took off in 2005, people have used social media to connect in a way they couldn’t, or at least hadn’t been so prolific until then.
If you a part of Gen Z you might not even remember MySpace, that’s because social media has evolved and MySpace has been largely replaced by Facebook.
Today, 3.5 billion people (which is 45% of the world’s population) use social media. If you’re new to all this and not sure what to make of it, here are 5 social media basics to help you get started.
What is Social Media?
Social media is an online website or forum that large groups of people use to share content and information, to socialize online, and to form personal and professional contacts.
Most people have some sort of social media account that they use for keeping in touch with friends and family and sharing the parts of their life that they want to.
The key features of social media are:
- It’s online
- You can indicate that you like other people’s content as well as sharing and commenting on it
- You can create your own network or circle of connections
Social media has also become an essential part of running a business. Most social platforms allow you to create a personal page and a business page. You’ll notice a lot of ads on social media which is one of the reasons businesses use it.
5 Social Media Basics: Tips for Beginners
Social media can be a tool for good as well as evil depending on how you use it.
Because the internet has evolved faster than anyone can keep up with there are still a lot of dangers to using social media that have not been addressed.
Learning to use social media well takes a bit of trial and error. These tips will help you adjust smoothly to social media and eliminate some of those errors.
1. Be Safe
Social media comes with its fair share of dangers and it’s important to be aware of these before you dive straight in.
Because social media is largely an unregulated world it has given people the power to do things with no consequences that they can’t do in the physical world.
Online bullying is a real thing that has sadly taken lives. 37% of young people admit to experiencing online bullying. It can be hard to know how to handle this kind of harassment so bookmark this list of helplines; just in case.
Social media also poses a risk to physical and mental health. Staring at a screen all day isn’t good for anybody, so keep tabs on how much of your time is spent online. Social media addiction is also, sadly, a thing.
Instagram has the highest rate of bullying. If you need, here’s how to delete an Instagram account.
2. Connect With Groups You Find Interesting
Social media makes it really easy to find groups of people that are into the same things as you. Facebook and Linkedin have closed groups that you can request to join to share tips and info about your favorite things.
You can also start your own groups, invite your friends, and start a network about anything that interests you.
Another way to do this is by following hashtags. Hashtags are a way of tagging content by topics. Anyone can add hashtags to their posts.
You can then click the hashtag and it acts as a link to all the other content on that same topic. It’s a great way to connect with other people and find what interests you.
3. Social Media for Business is Easy!
Well, at least it’s easy to get started with. Anyone can create a free social media business account and start gaining followers. Some businesses even use their business accounts as their website.
Because it’s free, it’s a fun and low-risk way of seeing if your idea is interesting to others and something you want to do long term.
You can also pay to advertise your content, but one of the best ways to use social media for your business is to build up and engage with your followers every day.
4. Beware of Your Digital Footprint
The internet is free, so is social media, have you ever asked yourself why?
It’s because of data, which is the most valuable resource on earth.
One of the least understood but most important things to understand about social media is that every online action you make is added to your “online profile”, which is called a digital footprint.
Everything you like and share, even your comments, is collected in the form of data and used by businesses to target their advertising towards likely customers. This is, unfortunately, the catch of using social media.
5. Explore Your Own Ideas
One of the best things about social media is being able to create and share your own content. There is an endless amount of ways you can do this.
There is also an endless amount of free apps you can use for editing your own photos and videos, creating your own GIFs and memes, and writing your own blogs.
It’s never been so easy to share your creativity with others. If you come up with something that people love they can share it, so who knows how far your creations will go!
Where to Now?
If you’re new to the digital world, understanding social media basics is important so that you can make the right choices for you.
Every social platform is different and they won’t all be your thing. You might decide social media isn’t for you at all, which is fine as well.
We have a huge range of cool topics on our blog for you, so bookmark us for your downtime reading!