By Amanda Cleary Eastep
I am scrolling through friends.
Faces fly by, thumbnail scenes people chose to represent themselves in the space of 160 x 160 pixels.
Over the past few years, I didn’t engage much with this ever-evolving social utility personally, despite the fact that I manage the Facebook business page for a college.
I found little value in my personal Facebook profile.
I had grown tired of the stream of memes and kitten videos and people ranting about politics. So, I decided to delete myself.
This decision from the social networking gal with three blogs, a Twitter for my freelance writing business, a LinkedIn account, a Google+ page, a Pinterest page, and a Livefyre account for all the discussions I engage in on other blogs.
So, why hate on Facebook?
“Well, Facebook, I admit now it wasn’t you, it was me. Not cute kitten video #3,759, but me. I was putting effort and care into all my other social networks, but not into you.”
The reason I found little value in my personal Facebook profile was because I wasn’t adding value.
That’s my number one rule with my other social media networks. Now it was time to add value on my Facebook profile.
Although there are important differences between a personal Facebook profile and a Facebook page for your business, there are practices you can employ that contribute to the quality of both your personal profiles and your business pages.
ADD VALUE. This may be one of the most overused terms in social media for business, yet it’s still valid and also applies to personal social media sites.
So, what does “adding value” mean? “Sharing useful information that benefits my followers.”
Sure, useful is good. Information, good. Useful and good information delivered to the audience that needs it. Great.
There’s more. Or should be. When I contemplated deleting my Facebook profile, I first asked what I could do better instead. If this tool gave me the power to touch people’s lives, to appear suddenly in their day, couldn’t I be using that power for good? Not just good-useful, but THE Good?
What I contribute/share/Like/tweet/+/pin/post, whether for personal reasons or for business, should answer the question: What difference is this–am I–making?
This goal may seem a bit idealistic, but I Like ideal.
When I’m pinning a homeopathic recipe for eczema cream on Pinterest, it’s because I have a child who has suffered for 17 years and found only temporary relief offered by dozens of specialists, prescriptions and diets. I’m sharing something that I have found from personal experience works and may help someone else.
Similarly, if I tweet a link to an article about improving a small business About page, it’s because I’ve read the article and most likely applied the advice to my own freelance business About page. (Here’s a confession: I am not a prolific tweeter. That’s because I will only retweet or favorite a tweet if I have first read the linked article or it originates from someone I follow closely and respect.)
Will everyone find value, or better yet, Benefit to the Good of All Humankind [insert flowing cape], in everything I share via social media? Nope.
But good–valuable–social media isn’t about Everyone. It isn’t about Facebook. It’s about Me.
Yes, that’s right. And, yes, whether I’m using social media for personal or business purposes or both, it should benefit my audience.
But Good social media has to start with me. With my making the decision that I am also going to make a difference to those Faces whose lives far exceed the parameters of a thumbnail.
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