Social media can hurt people, especially children and families, in countless ways, but that’s another article altogether. Instead, let’s pretend that you’ve already overcome your fears about social media and its affect on your children. Maybe you even use it yourself from time to time, to post first day of school photos or game day moments to share with family and friends.

Facebook instagram pinterest mom uses social media to make life easierStaying connected with family and friends is the primary use for social media, but it has even more possibilities for community and business involvement.

Here are 5 ways you should be using social media that you probably aren’t yet:

1. Customer Service – Seek out the companies or brands you prefer and LIKE, follow or Pin with them. Why? Most companies announce news like recalls, issues or new products via social media first.  For example, Publix just issued a voluntary recall on Jalapeño bagels. Thanks to its Facebook page, this was shared quickly to others.  Last time my bank’s webpage acted up, I just checked the status on Twitter and found it would be resolved within the hour.

2. School News & Updates – Tired of juggling multiple calendars and asking
your kids about what’s going on in school?  Williamson County and Metro Nashville Public Schools are very active in social media, sharing information on everything from test scores to parent programs.

3. Community News & Updates – Just like schools, your local government and community is on social media and updating regularly. Curious about the next election, Board meeting, or latest addendums? They’re all out on social media.

4. Shopping – This includes a whole slew of possibilities! Looking for coupons or wanting to know about sales before they happen? Social Media. Want to see if you can find out if a product is really as good as it claims? Read the reviews on social media. Need help finding a particular item that’s no longer on the market? Ask on social media.

5. Learn Something New – Your kids have already discovered the vast world of online videos via YouTube and Facebook, but it’s not all One Direction and Taylor Swift videos. When my daughter wanted to learn how to practice new hairstyles, she watched a few videos and quickly became an expert. When my husband decided to install a patio, he watched multiple videos to learn technique and common mistakes to avoid.  So, get started on that new workout you wanted to do but were to embarrassed to try the class!

Social media provides plenty of opportunities for distraction or worse (i.e. selfies, over-sharing, bullying), but it also can keep you plugged into the events, news, and information that are important to you and your family.  Hopefully, these 5 ways of using social media will keep you clear of the noise and connected to what really matters.