How To Master Social Media To Get Ahead

Consider these the new rules of social media.

How To Master Social Media To Get Ahead
[Photo: Flickr user Tech Cocktail]

Every week, it seems like we’re hearing about a new social media platform: Periscope, Layout, Switch, the list goes on. But what are the new rules when it comes to savvy social media usage? And what are the essential platforms to be on, and which are just weighing you down?


For the answers to these questions and more, Levo turned to Internet guru Gabriel Sands, a marketing manager at Refinery29. Like most millennials, Sands’s path to professional success is marked by a series of twists and turns. After studying critical gender theory at NYU, Sands kicked off adulthood by working in documentary film production, most notably on 2009’s fashion documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor. Always a fan of Refinery29, Sands jumped at a friend’s suggestion to apply for a gig at the brand, and after a “rigorous application process and a lot of hard work,” he landed his coveted marketing role. Now he develops and negotiates new partnerships that grow site traffic—in other words, he uses his vast knowledge of social media and content to bring R29 to the masses.

[Related: How to Make Your Future Employer Love You On Social Media]

Here are Sands’s new rules of social:

1. Think About What Each Platform Is Best At, And Tailor Your Approach Accordingly

Facebook is a platform to articulate your interests and points of view. It’s a reflection of your personal media consumption. Twitter, which I personally think is becoming increasingly irrelevant, is similar in this way, but it’s also better suited to making yourself seem clever. Whether the more visual platforms (Tumblr, Instagram) are mirrors of each other or discretely curated is really up to you. Look at where you’re getting the most engagement on each, and tailor your approach accordingly.

[Related: 8 Instagrammers to Follow for Top-Notch Career Advice]

2. Choose Five Social Media Platforms Total—And Cap Yourself There

I recommend:

  • Instagram: The ultimate visual branding tool.
  • Snapchat: I feel like an old fart, but Snapchat is huge and growing. All the kids are on it, which means you should be too.
  • LinkedIn: Every single person who has a job should be on LinkedIn. Can’t overstate this. It can present incredible networking opportunities.
  • Facebook: Facebook is less about your personal brand and more about ingesting content and surveying the media landscape. Much of Refinery29’s traffic comes from Facebook.
  • Tumblr: An incredible visual storytelling platform, in a different way than Instagram.

[Related: 6 Things You Should Never, Ever Post on Social Media]

3. Remember That Once It’s On The Web, It Can Never Come Off

Yes, posts can be deleted, but know this: The average lifespan of a Tweet is 18 minutes. For Facebook, it’s three to five hours. For Instagram, it’s maybe an hour or two. That’s not a lot of time, especially assuming that you don’t decide to delete things immediately after you post them. Pretty much everything gets archived in some way or another. It’s like when I look at pictures of myself from years back and realize how awful some of my style choices were. I’ll never be able to forget them!

This article originally appeared on Levo and is reprinted with permission.