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8 top tips for social media from Jon Bernstein

Blog post   •   Aug 12, 2013 09:39 BST

Jon Bernstein is a digital media consultant, writer and editor. He was the Digital Director and Deputy Editor at the New Statesman, the Multimedia Editor at Channel 4 News, Launch Editor of Channel 4 FactCheck as well as Editor-in Chief at Directgov and

He joined Katie Moffat as one of the presenters at Mynewsdesk’s Digitally Fit Breakfast Seminar. Here are his top 8 tips for social media.

1. Follow key influencers

Follow the people that matter in your field of interest or expertise because they will have interesting things to say, will most likely link to other tweets/posts of interests, and will be followed by your peers. Moreover, if you have insightful things to say they may well follow you back, retweet/repost something you have written and generally expose you to a wider audience of interested people.

2. Retweet and share interesting things                                                              

Demonstrate that you are knowledgeable in your field. Don’t just add to the massive amount of useless content that is churned out continuously. Establish yourself as a curator of interesting and thought-provoking things. By offering this valuable service (filtering the internet so others don’t have to) you are likely to increase your follower count, become a more active part of a community online and able to build valuable and long-lasting subject-oriented relationships.

3. Write sells that really do sell

Think about how you “sell” your tweets/posts. This is not necessarily the same thing as writing headlines for articles. Understand your audience, think beyond the “top line” of your story to other aspects of it that might provoke a reaction, and…

4. Tweet/Post to be retweeted/shared

Always think before you tweet/post. As above, think about the aspects of the story that are likely to be of most interest at that point in time. Remember, news cycles tend to be faster online. And from a practical (Twitter) point of view, leave space for a “manual” retweet. Better to write a 100 character post that leaves space for an endorsement than not. Peer recommendations carry more weight.

5. Time your posts

This means three things: a. don’t spam your followers with endless tweets b. time your posts for when your community is likely to be online (think time zones, think consumption habits that may have changed as a result of smart device use). c. as above, be aware of the general news agenda to avoid being too slow onto a story or posting at an inappropriate moment.

6. Go niche

It is incredibly valuable to explore your area of interest and expertise. You can establish yourself as a thought leader and really build your following if you show that you are particularly knowledgeable within a specific subject area. And don’t be afraid to go niche. You’ll find a much more engaged audience if you do. After all, there’s plenty of generalist stuff out there already.

7. Be funny

People like funny. People retweet funny. People follow funny.

8. Be yourself

As above, it’s good to develop your own tone of voice – even if “you” is an organisation, a publication or a brand. The alternative is to be bland, and nobody notices bland. Be playful (when you can) and inject a bit of your personality into your social networking.

P.S here are some useful Dos and Don’ts

· Do follow

· Don’t forget your own voice

· Do observe

· Don’t just broadcast

· Do engage

· Don’t spam

· Do RT, like and share

· Don’t forget the ‘social’ in social media

You can read Jon’s blog here: