By Anna McDermott

Molly McPherson, Leading-Edge PR Practitioner, Speaker and Executive Coach

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn – these social media platforms haven’t been around all that long so many people are “digital immigrants,” as Molly MacPherson likes to call them. Molly teaches people how to overcome their fear and use social media to their advantage. She was interviewed on The PR Maven® Podcast with Nancy Marshall and she discussed the differences between digital immigrants and digital natives – those who were introduced to social media as young children or born into it. Digital immigrants can often be afraid when dealing with social media since it’s not their first language. It is a very rational fear. You can spend years building your reputation online and with a single tweet, destroy it.

Here are some tips to help digital immigrants overcome any dread you might have about social media and learn to use it to your advantage.

Each platform has its own benefits and drawbacks so choose which you want use – you do not have to use all of them.

LinkedIn: Molly says that LinkedIn in the safest for brand management. She’s never heard of anyone ruining their reputation by commenting on a LinkedIn article or connecting with the wrong person. LinkedIn is designed to help you network and its audience is people in all kinds of industry. Comment on your connection’s posts and about news related to your industry.

Twitter: Twitter is great to use for breaking news. It’s faster than any other form of media. Search for and follow top influencers in your market – you can learn a lot from watching the pros. See which hashtags they use to get a feel for how they work. Pay attention to the #trends of the day so you don’t make a political gaff because you’re not aware of the news and you’re tweeting about a product you sell that is related to today’s tragedy. Nancy said that Twitter is now a great way to connect with journalists, too. If you write a press release, be sure to post a link to it on Twitter with some great hashtags relating to the content.

Instagram: Molly said she loves Instagram for behind-the-scenes shots of your business. It’s a great way to give your followers a little peek into your business and how things work or are made. Take a photo of something that happens and share that moment. Instagram is all about photos.

Facebook: Nearly everyone is on Facebook and that means it has immense power and reach. Facebook can be great for your business but it’s best to have a separate account for your personal brand. With your Facebook business page, you can very easily target posts and ads about your products to industries with keywords.

Choose which platforms you think best suit your business and focus on those. If you try to do all of them, you’ll be overwhelmed. Schedule time a few times a week to post content and engage with your followers and those whom you follow.

When you’re networking IRL (that’s in real life), be sure to follow up with any new contacts on social media. That way you’re building your network and can keep in touch with them. If you read a story or heard some news they might find interesting in their line of business, tweet them about it or send a Facebook message. You want to try to give more than you get on social media.

If you have questions about etiquette or how to use a particular platform, find a digital native – that millennial or teenager in your life – and ask for help. It really is like learning a new language, you won’t figure it all out in a month. 

The PR Maven® Podcast is presented by Marshall Communications, creator of The Marshall Plan® strategic process. The Marshall Plan is a fully customized document using our 65 proprietary steps and leads to a playbook for your success. If you think your business or organization would be a candidate for a Marshall Plan, you can take our Marshall Plan quiz to find out. Visit