From Facebook and Instagram to LinkedIn, Vine and the anonymous question site Ask.fm, these days it seems there’s a social platform for promoting and discussing just about everything in the Twittersphere.
But despite the vast popularity of social media, there are still scores of folks who are confused about how to use sites appropriately or how they work. “Lots of people may be familiar with Twitter, for example, but they don’t really understand how to Tweet in order to gain a following,” says Dave Kerpen, author of the bestselling book, Likeable Social Media. And in this day and age, being in the dark about social media and how it works can also mean missing out on promoting your small business or nabbing your next big job.
Here’s a short quiz on the basics of social media to find out how well you measure up:
1. The # or hashtag:
a) refers to the number of posts you’ve made on the same subject
b) has to do with locating another website on the Internet
c) is used to reference a specific topic so that other people can find it
2. When the @ symbol is used in a post it’s:
a) to direct a comment toward a specific person
b) the connector between your name and your email address
c) a key I don’t use on my electric typewriter
3. Which social media sites use a hashtag?
a) Twitter and Facebook
b) Instagram and Twitter
c) Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Linkedin
4. TBT in a tweet stands for?
a) Throwback Thursday, where you post old photos of yourself
b) Two backstage tickets, when you’re reselling tickets to an event
c) Throwback Tuesday, when you post old photos of yourself
5) What’s the difference between an RT and an MT?
a) The letters R and M
b) RT stands for regular tweet, which is under 140 characters, and an MT is a medium-sized tweet, that goes over 140 in length.
c) An RT is retweet of a tweet, and an MT is a modified tweet, when you’re retweeting someone’s tweet with new information added.
6) When someone uses “Hootsuite” they’re using:
a) a social media site where users assume an owl avatar
b) a platform for raising money through crowdfunding
c) a tool that allows you to schedule your social posts
7) When someone’s in a “hangout,” they’re using:
8) If you’re looking to network to find a job the best platform is:
9) If someone tweets: “#FF @StacyT, @icecream, @deluxrecruiting,” they’re saying:
a) I think these tweeters have a good sense of fall fashion
b) I recommend following these tweeters
c) Here are some good fast food restaurants
10) Which social media platform do companies use most often for handling customer service?
11) Which of the following terms don’t apply to LinkedIn:
b) 2nd degree connection
12) Which are the three best social platforms for promoting your crowdfunding campaign?
a) YouTube, Facebook and Instagram
b) Twitter, Pinterest Google+ and Slideshare
c) It depends on who your audience is
13) If you’re a “plusher,” it means:
a) you have a lot of followers on Vine
b) you’re active on Google+
c) you display a lot of plush animals on Pinterest
14) When sending an “InMail,” what platform are you using?
15) The biggest different between Facebook and Twitter is:
a) You’re likely to interact with friends on Facebook and the public on Twitter
b) You post more pictures on Facebook and more text on Twitter
c) You can use Twitter to promote a business, but not Facebook
What’s your social score? Tally your answers by giving yourself 10 points for every correct answer: (answers key: 1:c, 2:a, 3:c, 4 :a, 5:c, 6:c, 7:b, 8:b, 9:b, 10:c, 11:a, 12:c, 13:b, 14:c, 15: a.)
150-110: You’re an Expert. Kudos! You’re up to speed on using social media. You’re likely already actively networking and promoting yourself or your business on several platforms. You probably don’t need any lessons. Get back to work.
100-60: You’ve gotten your Web feet wet. While you may have done a little posting, it’s clear that you’re no pro. If you’re interested in using social media to further your career, or gain a loyal fan base for your small business or community, take a look at the problems you answered incorrectly to try to figure out which platform you’re most in the dark about. Says Sarah Milstein, author of The Twitter Book, “I recommend spending more time experimenting with an application online to understand where you’re getting hung up so that you can improve your knowledge.”
Below 60: Yikes. Your low score indicates that you’re probably not very familiar with how to use social media, and when you attempt interact, you may be choosing the wrong platform entirely. Even worse, you may not even have a LinkedIn profile, which means you’re missing the boat on networking for your career.
But it’s never too late to learn. Start by reading the Social Media Guide in this issue, and then hone in on which platform(s) would be most helpful to your life or career, and start practicing. You’ll be up to the task in a few weeks.
Jenny Jedeikin lives in Northern California and her writing has appeared in San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, Rolling Stone and In Style, among other publications.