How did you get into social media?
I got started in social media completely by accident. I wasn’t planning on working with social media at all but it started as part of a class project as a part of my second Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language. Since it I wasn’t teaching at the time I decided to try out blogs and Facebook with my study abroad students since I was working as a full time Education Abroad Advisor and had a ready supply of students I could make use of. My little project exploded from there and my campus decided to use it as an example and decided to do blogs and other types of social media because of what I had started. My intensive Twitter use came after and was really just me experimenting with the social media that was out there. I have had no formal training with any social media tools and it has really just been me playing around and trying out different social media tools to find the ones I like best.
Why did you start Mandy’s Mashups?
I started Mandy’s Mashups because I saw a need for social media training specifically for international educators. There was quite a bit of social media training out there geared towards the business world and other sectors but nothing that really fit what we as international educators did. I by no means consider myself an expert at all things social media but I have tried out enough social media tools that I figured I could assist people in avoiding some of the pitfalls I met along the way and help direct them in really making use of social media in a way that fits what we as international educators do.
Why is having an online presence important to you?
Having an online presence is important to me for several reasons. One, it allows me to have my voice heard in a way that I wouldn’t be able to otherwise. In your job you come into contact with a certain number of people because of what you do. With social media I am able to expand that circle of people and even expand it to outside of my field and make connections I would not be able to otherwise. I am also able to express myself in a different way. In my job my work generally consists of reports and presentations. However, online I can express what I do and who I am through photos, quotes, fun sayings, and more. I think this allows people to get to know you on another level. I have developed some great online friendships with people I have never met because of that. I will caution that you still need to protect your privacy and remember that everything you put out online is available to everyone.
What advice do you have for students learning to use social media for personal or professional brands?
I have several tips for students wanting to use social media. My first tip is to remember that everything you post can be accessed forever and is available to everyone. This means you should be careful about what you post and don’t be one of those people who goes around posting those drunk photos of yourself and regretting it later. With this you want to make sure you set your privacy settings according to your comfort level so that your posts are only shared with the audience you are most comfortable with.
I also suggest varying your posts. This means varying the content as well as what you write. Try posting some videos as well as photos and text. Generally speaking graphics and more interactive posts tend to grab more attention that simple text based posts. However, your audience may be different so don’t be afraid to try out a few things and see what works for you. Remember what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another person.
My final piece of advice is it is better to be master of only a few social media tools rather than jack of all social media tools. By this I mean try to find your niche within one or two of your favorite social media tools rather than having a hand in every social media tool out there. If you try to conquer every social media tool out there all at the same time you will find it doesn’t work very well and the quality of your posting will be extremely poor since you can’t devote the time that you need to all of those different venues.
A tip for posting to multiple venues is to use a social media management tool like HootSuite. I have tried out several of these management tools and HootSuite is my favorite since it allows you to post to several networks all at the same time as well as monitor all your networks at once. It can save tons of time and energy so I recommend checking it out.
If you have any questions don’t be afraid to Tweet me @mandysmashups!!
Great feature and advice Mandy! Totally agree with how you mention “remember that everything you post can be accessed forever and is available to everyone.” The first step to being successful with social media is being knowledgable about what it is you’re putting out there.