How to be a social butterfly
In a world where your social media activity can decide whether you get a visa or a date, four Sunday mid-day writers take up the challenge to have their profiles analysed by an expert eye
Travel in the time of social media can bring along its own set of problems — at least that's what a recent news story revealed. According to the report, the border and immigration officials across different countries are now keeping an eye on social media profiles of all applicants wanting to fly to foreign shores. While the idea is to sift for any extremist or racist content, social media expert Ankita Gaba, VP, Marketing, Orowealth.com, an online wealth management company.
"Quite a lot can be guessed by going through your social media profile alone," she says, while adding that it's important to keep the content clean, but interesting. What kind of posts you share, how global your reach is, and the opinions you put out — all matters, she says. In light of the development, we got Gaba to scan through the profiles of four SUNDAY mid-day writers and tell us what they get right and what they need to do differently.
Anju Maskeri, 30
Anju's content is very Insta-friendly. I'd say it has the perfect mix of photographs. For starters, it's quirky and very rooted, in the city she works in. I liked the picture of the old lady sitting with her grandchild, waiting for her school bus, at Worli Koliwada.
What makes it interesting is that you get a sketch of her life by just browsing through her pictures. Another thing that works is the detailed introduction, "journalist, cat whisperer, foodie etc" — and her posts reflect all of these. While she does indulge her audience with photos of herself, she never overdoes it, so that works well. I did notice that she has a lot of cat pictures. The Internet loves cats, so Anju's profile is definitely a hit.
Benita Fernando, 32
Her profile is very personal, and while that is fine, because she is a journalist, I think she needs to talk more about her work too. A starting point would be to add links to all the stories that she does for the newspaper, on her profile. She could also be vocal about issues that the city is facing. And when doing that, make it a point to reply to each and every comment she receives, in order to increase engagement.
I simply loved a recent post that she put up, which had a series of photos of pothole stretches in the city. She captioned it, 'A little love story set in the Mumbai pothole season aka monsoon #mumbairains', with great lines to go with each picture. That's a brilliant example for her to follow more frequently. Benita's copy skills are great and her pictures are decent too. She also reaches out to people, when looking for recommendations [for her stories] — it's the right move, because Facebook is a great resource pool. What works most in her favour is the "follow button" on her page. That way, she does not need to add people, but those who want to follow her work, can still be updated with what she does.
On Twitter, there is a lot of scope for improvement. What I noticed is that Benita tweets very rarely. That's not working for her. She needs to tweet often, especially opinionated ones. She should also follow more people, interact with them often, and participate in Twitter chats when possible.
Aastha Atray-Banan, 36
Aastha qualifies as a Twitter influencer. I don't think she needs to do anything differently to make the profile better. One very vanilla metric for her to be an influencer is the number of followers she has on her page — it's 4,000 plus; to top that, she is also a journalist and this in itself, carries a lot of weight and clout. I also think that she puts up very high quality content, making Aastha a good brand, when compared to somebody who has 20,000 followers. It also means that people are following her for her content alone. She shares a lot of work-related stuff, and the publication she works for, is also making it a point to retweet her, which is great.
Her language is also in keeping with the Twitter lingo. For instance, in her pinned post about her single Heartbreak Girl, which released last year, she says, "Take a listen". Now, that might sound grammatically incorrect, but that's just how you hook your Twitter audience.
The profile has some very pretty photographs of Aastha. And I must say that the friend who is clicking these pictures is doing a fabulous job. But, if I were a high quality follower, I would not have just liked to see Aastha's photos all the time. She must try and make it less about her, and more about her social life — like her group of friends, work circle, family or may be simply what she does during the day or what's happening in town. That I think was missing. Aastha also posts interesting content written by her — short verse and stories. She should keep that going and do it more frequently.
Kusumita Das, 33
One of the major flaws in Kusumita's profile is that she doesn't have a follow button. As a journalist with interesting stories to share, this could have been the best way to build her brand value. Overall, I found her profile to be dry, and feel that it needs colour. She also has to try and engage with her audience more often, by posting her stories or just sharing her views on current events.
She can probably take a leaf out of Benita's profile, and share content that is newsy and local. That way, she will start getting recognised as an influencing journalist.
If she could include the fact that she is a journalist and name her publication, it would amp her profile. In terms of content, Kusumita shares very quirky and interesting posts — it's very local and has a lot of pictures from the city. She is also using the right kind of hashtags. But the frequency of the posts is poor, and that could be a dampener.
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