How to Help a Friend/Relative by Using Social Media


If you’re reading this, you’re online… at least some of the time.

If you’re online, you most probably have friends or relatives online, some of whom are involved in projects or businesses.

One of the things I hear all the time from people about my latest projects/business ventures is, “Let me know how I can help.”

That phrase, or phrases like it, seem to pop up time and time again. Whether it’s a person you want to help out or an organization or business, there’s something HUGE you can do, FOR FREE, which will help them immensely…. and here it is:

Share their stuff online.

I’ll go into HOW to do that in a moment, but first, I’ll explain why.

What Should Social Media Sites Show You?

Online services such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest want, no, they NEED to be relevant. With millions of facebook posts, tweets, pins, likes and all manner of other shares every day, the services need to find a way of weeding out the ‘noise’ and showing people stuff that is actually useful/funny/informative/interesting.

Take me, for example. I have 734 ‘friends’ on Facebook. If they all post two status updates a day, that’s over 1,400 updates that Facebook wants to show me. I can’t possibly see and read that many, so Facebook has to work out a way to show me things that I’m most likely to be interested in.

They do that with a very complicated system which I don’t fully understand or know the finer points of, but it goes something like this:

Every new post is shown to a random selection of your friends. If your friends interact with that post, Facebook know that it’s something at least worthy of people taking the time to interact with – so they show it to more people.

The more interaction there is, the more relevant it seems, so the more people they show it to. It’s kind of a catch-22 situation because the more people who see it, the more interaction you’re GOING to get simply because of the numbers involved, but they have formulas and stuff that try to handle all of that.

So if you want to help someone who is online, interacting with the things they post is incredibly valuable. By simply interacting, you’re telling Facebook or Pinterest or whoever it may be that this post is something they should show to more people – and more people seeing it is the goal!

What is interaction?

Interaction is simple, doesn’t cost you anything and takes almost no time. Here are five ways you can interact and help promote a friend/relative/organization:

  1. Comment on a post. Taking time to comment means that, good or bad, the post has affected you enough to make you want to speak out.
  2. Share/Retweet/Repin something. If you think it’s worth sharing with your friends, the social networks have to assume it’s worth sharing more to everyone.
  3. ‘Like’ a post or pin. Even just taking the time to click ‘like’ tells the social network that this item is a step above the rest. The more ‘likes’ something gets, the more people obviously like it so, naturally, the more people are going to be shown it.
  4. Create your own post/tweet/pin for it. Although this is more difficult for the networks to assess, if someone suggests you visit their new website then you write an update telling YOUR friends they should visit the site, the social networks will think, “Hey, lots of people are linking to the same site. This must be a site which is relevant to lots of people.” and they’ll let more people see those links.
  5. Check-in when you go somewhere. Facebook and FourSquare are good places to do this. If you’re visiting someone’s business or an organization you want to help promote, check-in online when you go there. It’s amazing how even just seeing that you have gone there can make people think, “Yeah, I want to go there, too!”

It doesn’t work quite the same with Twitter since Twitter tries to show everybody everything, but when you retweet a tweet, that retweet goes into the timeline so it’s like the original tweet has been pulled out and put back into the timeline, giving people another chance to see it.

It doesn’t cost you anything to interact and research is showing that people are increasingly affected by what they see on social media sites and thus you can really help whoever it is you want to help by simply taking a second to like/pin/share/tweet/retweet/comment on their stuff.

About PeterP

I am a blogger, author, stay at home dad, speaker, web hosting trainer and geek (I was so excited to get an iPad that I actually made up a song and dance about it). I am English by birth, but currently live in California with my wife and our three children. I ran a web hosting business for nine years and found that many, if not most of my clients had never learned how to use any of the functions associated with hosting so I wrote a book to try and teach just those skills. I must admit to having fallen in love with WordPress (possibly a little TOO much) and I honestly find it hard to understand why anyone would use anything different to build a site! WordPress is wonderful! My passion is to help others achieve their goals with their websites/blogs. I believe that, with a little help, anyone can have an awesome site.

One thought on “How to Help a Friend/Relative by Using Social Media”

  1. Andrea says:

    I want to *like* this because I’m tired, have stuff to write and need to go to bed – so in the time I wrote this comment I probably could have shared! But I’ll like on FB!! 🙂 [Did that make any sense? I really am tired …]

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