How to use social media effectively: a guide to the key tools of the 21st century 

In the first quarter of 2014, Facebook had 1.28 billion monthly active users – Facebook and other forms of social media are becoming a world sensation, defining the 21st century and impacting the way we communicate. Vietnam is a key example of this, with it being estimated in 2013 that 71.4% of the Vietnamese population on Facebook! Businesses, Celebrities and users are all using social media to communicate – it is an important skill for us to have today! This guide will give you some key tips on how best to use social media, with some types about personal use and how to increase the popularity of your posts and it will also provide some important information on how you can get the best out of social media – you can use social media in order to help your CV, connect with friends and stay informed with what’s happening in the world and with your favourite celebrities!

Facebook: Your profile and who to Like

Facebook is without a doubt the most popular form of social media. You hold the ability to share pictures, set statuses, get updates from the brands and celebrities that you’re interested in through liking and connect with both old and new friends, no matter where in the world they are. The, perhaps unfortunate, reality is that in our tech-centric world Facebook profiles are often seen as the way individuals are defined – this means that is key to ensure that your Facebook profile is the best it can be. Below, some key advice about each part of your profile will be given, if you are new to Facebook and would look advice on the basics of Facebook check out this link and then come back to this article to see how your page could be improved ( !

Your name
It may seem like this is self-explanatory, however what you should set your name to on Facebook depends upon the purpose of your Facebook profile. For example if you want your Facebook profile to be private, and entirely for social interaction with close friends then, a variation of your name will make it harder for people to find you – for example if your name is “John Smith”, shortening your name to “John S” makes it harder for people to find you. For some users, this may be beneficial, but others who want to use Facebook to increase their publicity as a form of self-promotion and marketing will find it more beneficial to use their real name. Remember, many employers are now looking at candidate’s Facebook profiles to assess their suitability for jobs – your choice of name should depend on whether or not you think a potential employer finding your page would be beneficial to a job application. However, it is important to remember that everything on the internet is traceable – it is always better to be safe and make sure all internet content is appropriate and works to your advantage!

Your cover photo –
The size of your cover photo should be851x315. While in a profile picture, the more you are visible the better, a cover photo should be a picture of something wider. So for example, you might want to choose a group picture or a picture of a landscape.

Your profile picture –
180x180, or 540x540 is the optimal size for your Facebook profile picture. Given that your Facebook profile picture appears on your friends’ newsfeed whenever you do any activity on Facebook, it is important to choose a strong image. A high quality image is also important -  a low quality image will appear pixilated. A natural image that sums up your personality is ideal – so for example a picture of you at the sports’ ground of your favourite team. Facebook allows you to select a profile picture from your computer, your tagged photos or your pictures. Don’t change your Facebook profile picture too often, and remember to choose an image that you like – it comes up everywhere!

Your posts –
Just like with your profile picture, your status updates and any links , videos or photos that you share should be reflective of you! Facebook enables you to keep up-to-date with your friends, and your posts should reflect your own interests and personality type. So for example, if you are funny, your posts should be amusing and make your friends laugh. If you are very interested in music, you might frequently share links about your favourite artists. While this will come naturally, it is important to make sure that your Facebook profile is a genuine reflection of your interests!

Checking your spelling and grammar is also essential, as is not making your posts too long! Every time you post, ask yourself if it is something that you would want to see and find interesting. This will help you to increase the popularity (the likes and comments on your posts).
Being engaging is also important, use personal pronouns as much as possible, for example “Merry Christmas, everyone hope you’re all having as much of a good day as I am!”, is more personal and thus more engaging than “Merry Christmas!”. Your Facebook posts need to be human!

Who to like –
Facebook’s like feature is a great way to keep up-to-date with information, on a platform that you regularly check. It enables a variety of information – from your friend’s holiday pictures, to what’s happening in the news all in one place! The pages that you like should clearly depend upon your own interests, but as a general guide, the following list will give you an idea of how liking pages can make Facebook the most tool it can be for you!

News -, News websites like CNN are really useful to follow because you can see snippets of the articles that they are posting. You can passively find out world news, while equally find out articles that interest you without checking their website!

Your favourite brands - . Liking a page like Tous Les Jours, means that you can keep up-to-date with promotions and products. This means that you can save money, as you’re amongst the first to know about promotions

Interest pages - Humans of New York is a great page that shares great photography and stories about New York citizens, if you’re interested in photography it’s great to follow! There are many interest pages, this page is also heart-warming so even if photography isn’t something which you’re interested in then, you can still appreciate this page! page posts interesting facts about science – great if you love science! You can gain general knowledge by liking pages such as this, on Facebook!

Celebrities - Liking Facebook Pages of your favourite celebrities allows you to keep up to date with their updates easily and effectively! You also hear from them directly, rather than getting news from celebrity gossip pages, which may have twisted the truth!

There are so many pages on Facebook which you can like – your school or University might have a Facebook page, and this is a really effective way to find out relevant information! The information that Facebook pages can give you is endless, always check if organisations have Facebook Pages – they can be very useful!

Facebook groups –
Facebook groups are a great way to connect with people! Have a group assignment? A Facebook Group allows you to work with students, discuss, and post pictures and documents. The popularity of Facebook means that it is very likely that your group have Facebook, making it an excellent way to connect. Outside of studying, Facebook Groups allow you to connect with people of similar interests, so for example there are numerous Facebook Groups that provide details about exercise classes, and you can find out which classes are taking place at what time, for example.

The best times to post
7am, 1pm, 5pm and 9pm have been proven to be the optimal times for Facebook posts. Research also shows that posts towards the end of the week gain more popularity (it is more important to be topical, though so don’t wait till the end of the week if there is a topical news piece announced on a Monday! It is also sometimes better to post just before these peak times, so there is slightly less competition for posts!

Twitter: Who to Follow and What to Tweet

Twitter, the microblogging, site has also been cited to change the way that we receive information. With Twitter, everybody holds the power to become a citizen journalist, and share the news as it happens. The Retweet feature, where you share somebody else’s tweet, and the Hashtag feature, which allows users to find all of the tweets relating to a certain topic, increases the ability for news to spread.

Who To Follow
Just like Facebook Pages, Twitter has so many pages that can be very useful. Just as with Facebook, News is perhaps the most beneficial part of Twitter so following a range of news channels, both national and international, will help you to become informed about world events.

Following World Leaders, like Barack Obama, also helps you to gain a vital grasp of what is going on in the world, and again it enables you to get direct news that you know is true! Everywhere you see the blue tick next to the name of a public figure or celebrity; you know that it’s their official account!
Following organisations like this UNDP Vietnam page is also a good way to stay up to date!

As a general rule, Twitter profiles are updated very regularly – meaning that they’re a great place to find up-to-date information!

What to Tweet
Twitter has a character limit of 140 characters, and even less if you include a link or picture which means that you need to make sure your message is as effective as it can be in such a short character space! It is important, just as with Facebook, to be engaging – use personal pronouns wherever possible and provide interesting information. The more interesting your tweet is the better – tweet something that would personally appeal to you!

Clearly, you are free to Tweet about anything that you want to, and are also free to use it just to communicate with your friends. It is also important to remember, however, that a Twitter profile that shows you effectively campaigning for a cause and showing interest in current news and events can be very useful to your CV. Employers, just as with Facebook, frequently, search candidate’s Twitter pages in order to see what they say. Everything online is traceable so anything that could be interpreted as offensive can have negative effects, offline. All across the world, people have been arrested for posting racist tweets, for example – be careful with everything that you tweet. There are offline consequences for all of your online actions!

Adding a picture and link also helps your tweet to be more effective: this will encourage people to Retweet your tweet. With all social media, it’s important to be as interesting as you can: making your tweets appropriate to your followers is the key to social media success!

Hashtagging, what the # means, and how best to use it

The feature that Twitter is perhaps most well-known for, is the hashtag feature. The hashtag feature groups tweets about topics together. For example, if you tweet “#worldcup”, your tweet will appear with all of the other tweets with the “#worldcup”, this increases the publicity of your tweet – users who look up a specific topic may come across your tweet which will help to increase its popularity!

Twitter then orders the tweets that are the most popular, worldwide and in specific countries and cities to work out the Twitter “trends” at the current moment. This is a very useful tool to see what the world are talking about – if there’s a big sporting event on, or a big piece of worldwide news this will perhaps not surprisingly be in trends, but the trend feature allows you to find out about popular topics that you might have never heard of!

It is best to hashtag generally short phrases rather than something specific - #hanoi will come up more than #iaminhanoi, for example.

Using the Retweet and Favourite feature effectively
Using comparisons from Facebook, Retweeting is the equivalent of sharing, while pressing the favourite button is like liking it. In general, Retweet something that you think your follows would find interesting and you want to share, whereas favourite something that you appreciate, but do not necessarily think your followers would like to see. The power of the Retweet function is incredible, something you can very easily go viral and spread worldwide – the retweets on the below tweet from Kim Kardashian shows how effective Retweeting can be at uniting people against a cause!

The retweeting of other people’s tweets helps to share information, and also means that you can stay active on Twitter without having to think of original tweets constantly!

When to Tweet
It has been proven that the best times to Tweet are 7-9am (when people are commuting to work), and then dinner time between 6 and 9pm (when people are eating dinner). Timing your tweets at this time can help you to increase your popularity! However, this is less important than with Facebook because Twitter displays timeline events in chronological order rather than posting due to popularity like Facebook – if you post at a not popular time, some people will still see your tweet!


LinkedIn, the business focused social media site is perhaps, the key example of how you can use social media to really increase your employment opportunities. On LinkedIn, you upload your Academic Qualifications, Work Experience and Interests online, and connect to people that you know. This creates a real business network – people can recommend you, and see where your experience and skills lie.

The most important things to remember about LinkedIn are to be specific about your roles and responsibilities within each of your experiences and not to lie about anything! You have the ability to make your profile public or private, and potential employers can email you! As you can see below, the successful Do Quynh Chi has 92 connections and her previous employment mentioned here – people can email her about opportunities too! In June 2013, LinkedIn reported more than 259 million users in 200 countries worldwide.

LinkedIn is the social media for business, it can never be too early to start building your profile and connecting with people!

Tumblr/Blogpost/WordPress – the power of Blogs

There are numerous different blogging platforms available online, and all of them can be very useful! You can use your blog to write about something which interests you, but you can also put it on your CV to show employers that you have excellent written communication skills and are passionate in your area of interest outside of your studies! Blogs are a great way, especially if writing is something that appeals to you, to gain experience.

Look at Em Sheldon, a student from the UK. She started her blog as a make-up and fashion review blog 2 years ago. Now, her popularity is crazy and she even gets free products sent to her to review, and free trips abroad if she writes reviews about them! Blogging can be really beneficial!

A blog is your chance to show your communication skills and passion online, so make sure that you spend enough time on each blog post. It is also very important to regularly update your blog and make it current and topical!

Make sure that you use KeyWord software like ( ) to find out the key terms that will increase the popularity of your blog. Blogs are a great way of expressing yourself!


The internet is beneficial for students because of the plenitude of resources that are available online for students free of charge! A quick YouTube search will give you a selection of free online courses in important skills – for example, if you require training on how to use excel YouTube has the answer! You no longer need to pay for a teacher!

You can also upload your own videos to YouTube, make sure that you use a Keyword software such as ( ) to let you know the key phrases that will yield the most results, to help you to increase the popularity of your video! YouTube videos should also be short – less users will watch long videos so make sure your video is to the point!

Tips for all social media platforms!

Social Media is every expanding, and new platforms are constantly being created! With all of these platforms the key things to remember are:
•    Engagement – ask questions, use personal pronouns! Sound as human as possible, show the emotion that a computer can’t!
•    Short length – short posts will always attract more attention than longer ones, make your posts to the point
•    Appropriate – Make sure that anything you publish on Social media is appropriate, because everything on the internet is traceable!
•    KeyWord Software – using KeyWord software like can inform you of the most popular search terms relating to your topic, using these key words are vital in increasing the number of views that your social media post sees!
•    Regular updates – update your social media pages regularly! Where possible also relate your posts to current events to make it topical and thus more possible
Social media is a great way to connect with your friends, but it can also be a great tool to use for your CV if you know how to use it – don’t underestimate the power of social media!

By Florence 



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