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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Put the social in social media

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

social media on group of phones

Social media allows businesses, organizations, and individuals to share content and make connections with a wide audience using nothing more than a digital device, a connection to the internet, and a social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram. You likely accessed this blog via social media.

Social media, unlike traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, and television, allows for interaction between users. It is this interaction that puts the “social” in social media. Traditional media delivers communication in one direction. Social media promotes multi-directional dialogue.

Social media promotes relationship building

The most effective use of social media goes beyond delivering or consuming content to building relationships. Think of it as a conversation rather than a monologue. Conversations that are mutually beneficial – questions are asked and answered, problems are identified and solved, and interests are expressed and nurtured.

Via social media, audiences are able to influence content creators and businesses. Social media has now become the #1 way businesses provide customer service. Social media is powerful when it is social.

What does it mean to be social on social media?

What does it mean to be social on social media? It means going beyond being a passive observer. Simply scrolling through a newsfeed is minimal engagement. With today’s algorithms the less you engage with content the less control you will have over what appears in your feed.

For example, with nearly 5 billion pieces of content posted daily, Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes posts for your newsfeed based on what will lead you to have “meaningful interactions.” In other words, when you share a post, comment on a post, or react to a post, it will prioritize similar posts for your future enjoyment.

Your level of engagement also determines how far-reaching social media content travels. Unless a post has interaction, it will have limited reach. Therefore, your engagement not only influences what you will see but also what others will see. If you want to promote quality content, engage with it!

The time devoted to social media averages almost 2 hours a day. To make that time productive and useful, be selective in what you give your attention to and then become an active participant in the conversation. The more you contribute the more you will benefit.

Be engaged on social media

Our tip series, “5 Tips for Using Social Media for Impact and Influence” is featured in a blog post covering all five tips, but this tip – “Be engaged” – deserved its very own post.

Tip graphic for social media to be engaged.

Hint: If you want to see these tips every week, follow nutrition communicator on social media including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Let's connect!

One of my goals for this year was to be more engaged when I’m on social media. I now make it a daily goal to not just read posts that professionally interest me but also show my appreciation by reacting or liking, writing a comment, and sharing or retweeting.

At first, it felt awkward to put myself out there, but with practice it becomes easier and engagement has broadened my influence and impact.

As a content creator, I can attest to how rewarding it is to have engagement with my community. When people like a post, or better yet, leave a comment or a question, I have a much better idea of what my audience wants and needs.

As a profession, food and nutrition professionals have an important message to share. Social media is an ideal channel for reaching far and wide with our message and countering the misinformation that is so prevalent. If you are on social media – increase your influence and impact – be engaged!

How could you be more engaged on social media?

“Focus on how to be social, not on how to do social.” ~ Jay Baer

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