A client is taking the long term view of social media and making a brave and sensible step in encouraging all of their marketing people to get accounts on the main social media sites where they don't have them already, and to use them to engage on behalf of the organisation. Accompanying this is training, coaching and policies and guidelines on how to use the various sites & tools.
We will be doing the training. The people attending will have been encouraged to set up their accounts beforehand. We wish to offer them advice on what they should consider, before setting up the accounts on say Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, Foursquare, YouTube & Flickr.
My initial thoughts are below. I'd be interested in your views - whether additions or corrections.
- If you haven't seen the site you are signing up to before, take a look, see what people share, how they call themselves (usernames) and what images (avatars) they use to identify themselves.
- What username do you want? It makes sense, unless you have specific reasons to not want to do this, to have the same name on each social media domain? e.g. mine is nickodoherty on most sites. But nowadays most common names have been taken. Simple ways to create an identity that people will identify as you, but that are less likely to be taken are:
- Replace letters by numbers in your name. So my user-id on most sites is nickodoherty, but I could replace i by 1, and o by 0 and come up with n1ck0d0herty. Replacing e by 3, s by 5 also work.
- Use a phrase with your name e.g. nickthebeekeeper or kentishnick.
- Embed your name in other letters e.g. xxnickodxx.
- There are still many ways you can include your real name in a user-id. Or you can choose a complete pseudonym in e.g. pinknebulae, drybeer. goforth
- In all cases keeping the user name: short - less than ten characters ideally; long lasting - something that you won't quickly outgrow and want to change; and hard to spell wrong.
- Practical implications are: a) that you may want to have the account setup screens for each site open in separate windows and get to the point of finding whether a username is available on each of them before commiting on any.
- Having chosen a preferred username are there acceptable variants, if for instance the preferred names is available on all but one site e.g. in my case I might accept a variant on that one site such as odohertynick, n1ckodoherty, nickpodoherty
- What avatar or physical representation do you want to have? In some cases, like LinkedIn a photo is recommended but not demanded. Something that people who know you will associate with you is sensible, say a chess piece if you are a chess player. My business partner Cormac uses this avatar, but has started using a photo with avatar embedded on sites or in situations where a photo makes sense.
- If you have a work email and a home email it might be an idea to set up a separate email account for social media domains because:
- the volume of stuff that might come through depending on your account settings might be annoying in the other email accounts.
- some sites e.g. Flickr demand that you sign in with a Yahoo id, Facebook or a Google account. If you don't have any of these, it will offer to set you up with a Yahoo id (email account) which you don't have to use for email but will have to use to sign in to Flickr in the future.
- If you are going to have an additional email account because of Flickr, then it might be better to make a conscious choice between Yahoo and Google. I wouldn't advise on using Facebook ids to sign into other social media domains until the current situation on Timelines and "forced sharing" is better understood. I have both a Yahoo id and a Google account, and the Yahoo id is the email address for my Google account. Strange and with forethought I might have done differently, but it works.
- Order of setting up accounts: if you do not have a Google account, you will need one for Google+, and can use it to sign into Flickr, it can be based on a Google email address (Google email account is separate from Google account) any other email account. So the initial decision is really about whether you want a separate email account for social media. Once you have decided, I'd suggest setting up a Google account
- Most social media accounts request a small biography have a look to see what others have provided and having something prepared that you can cut an paste in. Keep it short.
- On some sites you will be asked to make initial decisions about how your posts will be treated. If in doubt, choose the most restrictive to begin with. So on Flickr, you can make the photos you share there available for all to see, or friends to see or just you to see. You can relatively easily change this decision later. So why not start with friends as the default.
- In most cases on starting a new account with these sites, the site asks if it can look through your address book for friends who are already there. It is safe to say yes, the sites above do not automatically request a connection. You have the final say. It is always useful to have a few people as "friends" or "connections" or "in circles" just to see how that aspect of it works from the beginning - so we will be recommending to our client contact that he makes his accounts availabel in this way for the first week of this activity.
- For more information on setting up accounts on these sites, look here