Getting Started in Social Media

As someone who eats, sleeps, and breathes social media, I often forget that there are those out there just testing the waters. Here are some tips to find where to begin.

Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from those starting out in social media. In particular, I received a message through LinkedIn that asked me the following:

Hi Sara –  If you could point me to any of resources regarding getting up to speed on the following, it would be very much appreciated:

1. How to use Twitter.
2. Creating good content for blogging.
3. How to start a blog.
4. Basic understanding of SEO

I could have written a book on each, but that would have not only been overwhelming, but I’d likely still be writing a response. Instead I wrote back with some quick bullets and resources to help my enthusiastic LinkedIn connection. So, since this has been a reoccurring question, I thought I’d also post a paraphrase of my response here. To those of you just beginning your endeavor into social media, I hope you find it helpful!

1. How to use Twitter.
Twitter is one of those things that makes sense after you do it for awhile. Start by creating an account on Twitter; then start following other people in the industry. If you are looking for handles to follow, you can find people by using or . Also, here is an article you may find helpful. It’s from, and provides 7 online tutorials for getting started: Twitter Tutorials from Mashable.

2. Creating good content for blogging.
My general advice is to provide your own take on your industry. What do you have to say that no one else is saying? Don’t be afraid to give your own opinion, be honest, and keep it short. Blogging is more about engaging with your community than it is about advertising your services. There are a lot of resources out there to help you get started. Here are a few:
ProBlogger – Writing Great Content
UnMarketing on Good Blogging

3. How to start a blog.
The two biggest sites are Blogger and WordPress. I myself prefer WordPress because it is more user-friendly. All of you have to do is visit the site, create an account, and then start posting. It is a fairly straight-forward platform. However, if you are doing this for your business, you want to think about the blog in the context of your company’s branding. For tips on how to go about this, here are some references that might help you:

WikiHow Starting a Blog
ProBlogger – Starting Your First Blog

4. Basic understanding of SEO.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is essentially knowing how search engine algorithms work, and using this knowledge to make sure that your website shows up at the top of the list when someone searches for topics related to you. Done properly, it can be like having free advertising. This can get very complicated, but here are some resources that can get you started:

Jeff Bullas – SEO Master
Mashable SEO Tips

There is a great deal of information out there, and it can feel overwhelming at times. My advice is to start small – over time, it will all fall into place. 


About Sara L. Wood
Sara L. Wood is the Manager of Digital Communications for a national non-profit association. Specializing in social media and digital marketing, she is a regular magazine columnist and serves as her company's resident expert in all things online. When not working for her association, Sara manages social media efforts for local non-profit groups in the Washington, DC metro area. Also a music and sports enthusiast, readers may see rogue posts on Led Zeppelin, Dream Theater, golf, and the Philadelphia Eagles. Disclaimer: This is Sara’s personal blog, and all opinions expressed are her own. Any references to her day job are purely anecdotal and are not affiliated with the Association.

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