5 General Rules for Being Great at Social Media

Here are five of the most important things I can ever tell you about social media, blogging and websites.

They may seem simple, but if practiced - will be some of the most valuable lessons any of us can learn:

1. Watch & Learn From Others Who Do it Well - My good buddy Darrell blogged for several years and saw it be an effective platform for ministry to real people. He even had people share that they decided to follow Christ as a result of his blogs. But what really shifted things for Darrell, was when he started spending 2-3 hours each morning reading dozens of the best blogger's blogs. I since have taken on the philosophy that while it is great to get experience by simply posting and writing, more importantly - watch and learn from those who are better at it than you. I don't want to define who those people are for you - simply pick out people (and keep a growing list) of twitter-ers, facebook-ers, bloggers and nice looking websites, as you are online everyday and watch and learn from them.

2. Respond and Reciprocate - Notice when other people are replying and retweeting you, and be responsive. Show an interest in others. You can tell when someone totally doesn't understand social media, when they act too big to respond and reciprocate. Besides, reciprocating, responding and reposting content from others helps keep the "social" in social media. Social media and blogs are all about sharing. 

3. Repost Others' Content - Whenever possible, give credit to who you saw content from. I typically will repost no more than 2 sources when reposting statuses on twitter or facebook, but I love to quote the original sources. People are more likely to take notice of and connect with you when you source them in posts and give them the appropriate credit. I take great joy in growing our accounts, and sharing that success by posting other people's content, and not just my own.

4. Don't Just Promote, Add Value - in fact, the less you promote, the more powerful your self promotion will be when you do it. The more you promote, the less potent your self promotion will be. It is important to find ways to communicate the heart of your brand, without constantly making it sound like a sales pitch. Tweak the majority of your posts to add value to your followers.

5. Participate - don't be content to simply post all your granduer ideas on social media and your blog ... read other people's content too! One of the greatest benefits of online sharing is group learning - the abillity to be smarter than you can be alone. Group learning always outperforms single geniuses. Besides, it would be inauthentic to simple spew out your ideas and never listen to anyone else's on these platforms. I now follow close to 600 friends closely on twitter (and many more on facebook), and their daily wisdom has become an enjoyable part of my daily ritual.