Tips and Tricks for Using SOCIAL MEDIA

by Joshua Munchow, APMM VP of Social Media  socialmedia@modelmakers.org

Now that you know where you can go to be social and share things about your projects and interests it’s time to learn how to use them!

The first thing to know about social media is that it doesn’t require much from you besides somewhat regular participation. This doesn’t have to mean taking incredible photos or shooting professional video tutorials every week, it really just means taking a quick photo or two of what’s on your workbench, or commenting on and “sharing” what others are doing. A regular amount of that will go a long way for creating a thriving online community. Think of social media as an updated and more comprehensive (and somewhat automatic) version of the MILE where you can hear others’ thoughts on how to do things, along with seeing cool pictures and interesting videos clips of work in progress.

The second thing to know is how to use a hashtag - # - as this is the main way that social media allows aggregation of posts and the ability to search for a topic. A hashtag is any word that is immediately preceded by the # symbol. Once you type the # symbol, whatever immediately follows it will be turned into a clickable search term and keyword.  This comes in handy when you are searching for posts about something, like machining for example. You can type into the search bar #Machining or even #CNCTurning and all of the posts where someone used those hashtags will come up. Many people will just type in a specific hashtag and browse photos to find new people to follow. This is a big way of getting new followers and increasing your reach.

When it comes to hashtags, there are some things to consider. The word or phrase you use cannot have any spaces in it and can only use the underscore symbol _ as a special character. Also, very long phrases or words that are rather vague don’t work as well as specific terms. Using the hashtag #PocketKnife will bring up posts about knives and knife makers while using the hashtag #FunTimesSaturdayNight may return completely random things.

Learning how to use hashtags, and remembering to use them regularly is one of the best ways to use social media well for promotion. These are some hashtags that the APMM uses and will use in the future depending on the application.  I urge you all to use these and others that you think of in your posts. The APMM is also the creator (thanks to Bruce Willey) of the hashtag #GetPaidToMake which we hope is going to become a rallying cry for the APMM and professional model makers everywhere, so use that one whenever you post as well!

#APMM                                 #GetPaidToMake                        #Modelmaker                             #WeMakeForALiving

#Modelmakers                      #Makers                                    #MakersGonnaMake                    #ProTips              

#ProcessTips                        #Tooltips                                  #MakeSmarterNotHarder            #TechnicalTips

#MakingYourIdeasReality      #BringingYourIdeasToLife        #Idea_Modelmaker_Reality         #MakeSmartNotHard

 

Social media is all about sharing, so here’s how to do it.

 

To add and post photos/videos to Facebook:

  1. At the top of your News Feed, click Photos/Videos to upload photos or videos to your Timeline Photos album, or Photo Album to upload to a new album.
  2. Select the photos or videos you want to add to Facebook.
  3. Once your photo(s) or video(s) are uploaded, you can describe what is going on in the description. This is where you would add your hashtags as well to make your post show up in searches
  4. If one of your Facebook friends is in the photo you can Tag them (which notifies them they are in the photo)by clicking on the icon that looks like a person with a plus sign next to it and selecting your friends. This can also be used simply to make someone aware you added a photo by tagging them as they are notified by Facebook they have been tagged. - This is also a good way to share a photo and make sure certain people will see it.

If you wanted to share a link, like from, say, Make Magazine, you can copy and paste the URL into the post box and it will share that page and link to it. This covers a majority of what will be done on Facebook besides commenting on things others have shared. It’s that simple.

 

To add and post photos/videos on Twitter:

  1. Click in the box that says “What’s Happening” at the top of your Twitter feed.
  2. Click on the camera icon to select your photo or video.
  3. As it uploads type your short description (max 140 characters) and hashtags you want to use. These will help people find your post and make it searchable. You can also tag or talk to other users by adding their Twitter handle which always starts with the @ symbol.  The APMM’s twitter handle is @ModelMakersOrg so be sure to follow us!
  4. When you are ready, click the tweet button. That’s it!

You have the ability to share other peoples’ tweets, aka “ReTweeting,” by clicking the double arrow icon below their post. You can reply to their tweet specifically by clicking the single arrow icon. You can also “like” the post by clicking the heart icon. Tweeting is really just like saying a quick hey, or letting people know of something they might be interested in when sharing links. It is very casual compared to Facebook or LinkedIn, and is really easy to use.

 

To add and post photos/videos on Instagram:

  1. Click on the center icon at the bottom of the screen in the Instagram app, it resembles the Instagram icon and it is where you choose your photo or video to post. It also allows you to take one in the moment if you aren’t posting something you had previously taken.
  2. Select your photo and align it where you would like it. You can zoom in or out and move it around to crop it how you would like it. You also have the option to create a collage of one or multiple images. Once you have selected your picture/video and positioned it, hit the next arrow in the upper right hand corner to move on to editing.
  3. Now you have the option to edit your photo/video or add a filter. You aren’t required to but it can make the photo seem more dramatic, or you can try to fix the color and add a little contrast. There are a lot of tools to fine tune your image and it is fun to play with them to get an understanding of what they do. When you have an image you like, click the next arrow again.
  4. Now you can write a description, use some hashtags, and call out other users just like on Twitter. You have the ability to tag users in a group photo by clicking on Tag People, selecting them, and typing in their username. You can also add a location if you have your GPS turned on.
  5. Once you have these done, you can also select from a variety of other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr and the Instagram app will allow you to post to all of the platforms at once. This is great when you want to hit all the bases with one awesome photo or video.
  6. After you have everything how you want it, click the check box icon in the upper right and you’re done!

While this isn’t as simple as Facebook or Twitter, it gives you a lot of ways to make the content more interesting and with the cross-posting feature it helps to streamline your social media usage. It also makes sure that you don’t forget one or forget what you used for a description or hashtags because it all is posted on each site.

 

To add and post photos on LinkedIn:

  1. On your homepage you have the option to “Share an Update,” “Upload a Photo,” or “Share a Post.” Select “Upload a Photo” and find the image you wish to use.
  2. While it uploads, type a description into the text box, add any links you wish to use, and tag other users by typing their names and selecting them from a drop down list. Hashtags don’t work on LinkedIn so you can skip adding those.
  3. Next choose who you want to share this post with. It can be viewable by everyone (public), just the people you are connected with, or you can even share it to the public and your Twitter feed at the same time. While not using hashtags on Linked in, it will still post them to Twitter where they will be useful, so if this is your intention you can go ahead and use hashtags anyway.
  4. Click “Share” and you’re done!

LinkedIn is pretty straight forward if a little under-featured for sharing photos and videos. You can add videos to posts by sharing YouTube links, but you cannot directly upload video content. As stated earlier, LinkedIn is a much more professional place so sharing posts and external content, and making connections is much more of a focus than adding content with photos and videos. It is a really powerful tool in the toolbox of social media and for professional development it is hard to beat.

 

So what now?

You might be saying to yourself “This is all great and whatnot, but I really don’t have time to worry about keeping up with all these, though I still want to help the APMM.”

No worries! You don’t need to be on every social media platform, doing just one would be very helpful. And if even one is too much, no problem there either. I’ll be permanently accepting photo and video content from any member who would like to share, and the APMM will be posting it on our social media pages to help promote those around the APMM and model making in general. Actually, even if you do your own social media posts we would ask that you also send in content for the APMM to share, and we will be forever grateful and not shy with praise.

Thanks for taking interest in social media and helping out with spreading the word, it’s going to make a huge difference for the maker community and the APMM!

 

 
 
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