LinkedIn: 455 Connections
Works with: Reliance, Franklin Templeton India, Apollo Hospitals, Kotak Mahindra, HUL.
Using Social Media since: 2009 (personally), 2012 (professionally)
HOOTSUITE (Web, Android, iOS) This one-tool-for-all allows you to monitor numerous social networks - Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ Pages, Foursquare, MySpace, Wordpress and Mixi - through a single interface, and even lets you post to them.
More importantly, it comes with a built-in analysis tool that lets you check your Twitter stats, Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, etc. Hootsuite also lets you monitor social networks using keywords. For example, you can search feeds for mentions of 'IPL Finals', a celebrity, or even a particular brand name. And finally, this app also allows you to schedule updates, so that you can write them now, but post them later to your networks.
Treat people with respect, rather than just a meaningless name or Twitter handle. If you add a stranger to your network, make sure you connect with him or her by initiating a conversation. Regularly post updates, tweets, blog posts and anything else you can share. An active account will have people coming back to it again and again.
Afsha Khan, 28 FOUNDER, SOCIAL BOMBILS
Twitter: @FidgetyFsh | 1,400 Followers | 415 Following | Over 6,000 Tweets
FB stats: 400 Friends
LinkedIn: 246 Connections
Works with: Bombil Times, several food, culture and lifestyle brands
Using Social Media since: 2007 (personally & professionally)
MOSTLY OFFICIAL WEBSITES
While third-party tools help augment your social media experience, don't knock the traditional browser experience. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are designed to facilitate a smooth, unobtrusive way of using the social network; and chances are, you will find most of the features you need on the site itself. Besides, their one-dimensional approach also reduces the clutter, making your life a little less 'social' and more about actually doing something - reading, researching, analysing - with the information people are putting out there.
Add value! People want to listen to those who have something useful to say. It may not necessarily be a point they agree with, but so long as it adds to their life in some tiny little way, they want to know what it is. It helps to give your social avatar a purpose. Offering "public service" information - such as updates about what's happening in town, any tips and tricks, or news events - leads to more engagements with followers in the form interactions, queries, and even gratitude.
Malay Desai, 27 FOUNDER, PUNCHLINES CREATIVE SOLUTIONS
Twitter stats: @MalayD | 1,200 Followers | 370 Following | Over 8,250 Tweets
FB stats: 700 Friends
LinkedIn: 184 Connections
Works with: Reliance Entertainment, People's Choice Awards, Francesco's Pizzeria, Studio 62 and an upcoming TV channel.
Using Social Media since: 2006 (personally), 2010 (professionally)
TWEETDECK (Web) Tweetdeck for Twitter and Facebook provides you with a dashboard for all your social networks, whether personal or professional. Load it up with all your accounts and you can set as many columns as you need, be it for tweets, mentions, interactions, hashtags or even searches for a particular term.
Considering the flurry of activity on your timeline, its 'Global Filter' feature is handy to mute certain hashtags or keywords to reduce the noise in your stream.
FLIPBOARD (Android, iOS) A lot of social networking is about knowing what's happening around you, so you need a tool that will help you catch up on your reading. Flipboard is a wonderful social app with an interface that is addictive, intuitive and reader-friendly. Add your favourite blogs, newspapers and sites, and it becomes a custom magazine you can carry and read 24x7. This will let you find new content to talk about.
Complete your profile on all your social network accounts. Be creative in using simple tools such as the Facebook cover picture or the Twitter bio. Start participating everywhere: conversations, forums, hashtags, polls. If your opinions are balanced and backed by sound reasoning, you will be heard and respected.
THE 10 COMMANDMENTS
I Be yourself. Spot your passions, quirks, likes and dislikes and put them out there, not paying heed to whether they will get you followers or not. Your job should be to connect people to content, and the higher your focus on one particular niche (usually your profession or hobby), the better your social profile becomes.
II Give before you take. Provide good information, answer questions as best as you can, keep contributing without expecting anything in return.
III Be active offline. Go to real world meet-ups and events to build credibility and trust, and make new friends.
IV Connect with likeminded people. Follow people because you like them, not because you want them to follow you back.
V Research a topic. Be opinionated, but remain classy. Debate, don't deride.
VI Listen, then talk. Think before you post. It's difficult to undo damage even by hitting that 'Delete' button.
VII Keep creating content. But don't spam timelines with constant updates, especially about the minutiae of your daily life.
VIII Proper English, always. Check for grammar, use spell-checkers, use full works and proper sentences.
IX Focus on the message and not the messenger. If someone doesn't retweet or share your post, it doesn't mean they don't like you; it only means they don't care about what you just said.
X Have fun - it seems obvious, but it's easy to lose sight of it.
-- Mihir Patkar
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