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Cheeky, energetic, and with an enviably positive outlook on life is Alexandra Maia. She was born in Portugal. She studied in the UK, gained work experience in Singapore, and recently set up a hybrid social media consultancy in Dubai by the name of House of Social. And she was once brazenly criticized for “having blue hair and wearing tight jeans in a Muslim country”, a reproval that she graciously addressed by speaking up against hatred and division of any kind.

Naturally, the social media expert has some serious opinions on how you should handle your accounts – be they on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat – so we decided to have a little fun following her sold-out masterclass at the recent Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Here, Savoir Flair plays a little fill-in-the-blanks game with Maia to see what we – and you – can do to be a bit more savvy in the world of social media.

alexandra maia profile pic
Photo: Courtesy of @Alexandra_Maia

A rookie social media mistake to avoid is:

Trying to be perfect!

My biggest pet peeve about social media is:

People still buying followers! Do you buy friends? Not if you want long-lasting and meaningful relationships! The same concept applies to social media.

In my opinion, people get way too caught up in:

How many people followed and unfollowed them today. If you only care about your numbers, you’ve already lost this game. It’s much bigger than that – it’s about people and the impact you can have on them!

The easiest way to engage your followers is:

Provide real value for free and do it daily for the rest of your life – don’t get fancy and stop caring just because you have big numbers!

A simple tip to upping your number of Instagram followers is:

Post three times a day, use relevant hashtags on a separate comment for each post, and post daily in Stories using Geotags – simple, yet so many still don’t do it.

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GIF: Courtesy of Giphy

What millennials need to understand about social media is:

That it’s so powerful, you can literally build your business using your phone. I also want to mention this: I speak to so many young people and see there’s a huge fear over what people will say about them. Stop worrying about what others think of you. They don’t control your narrative – you do. Have more belief in yourself! Social media is just a collection of platforms for your voice!

What the rest of us should learn from the way millennials use social media is:

You get ahead faster when you don’t overthink things – just do!

If you’re new to social media, you should start by:

Using whatever medium feels most comfortable for you. I tried blogging for years – it did not come easily to me, so it just never happened.

If you’re determined to pursue a career in social media, you should:

Go all in! That means you need to be all over each and every platform, know the ins and outs of execution, create Facebook ads, write content, design – the whole lot. That’s what I did for the past ten years and guess what? I still do.

You also need to find some badass social media professionals who you can work alongside so you can learn from them. You’ll also need to keep updated on what industry experts, major players, and blogs are saying. Do this on repeat!

The biggest misconception about working in social media is:

That it’s easy!

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GIF: Courtesy of Giphy

The social media trend I wish would vanish is:

“Brief: We need to make a viral video.” Kill me! If we all knew that magical formula, we would all be rich.

What really excites me about social media is:

The democratization of content. We’ve always listened to the radio – now we just call it podcasts and everyone can have their own radio station. Go on YouTube and create your own show. It’s amazing how anyone can have a shot at it!

The next big trend in social media will be:

Video, video, video. More immersive video content and more long-form video storytelling for brands. The ad just won’t be an ad – it will be a part of a story we want to follow, almost microfilm-like. Also, audio will start taking off more in the region. Search by asking Amazon ‘Alexa’ or Google ‘Home’ what to do on Thursday night in Dubai!

The most underrated social media platform is:

Medium and Anchor – for this region, at least.

What never ceases to amaze me about social media is:

People still thinking they can fake their intentions and who they are. The beauty of social media is that it’s so transparent, we can all see who is real because faking it really becomes tiresome after a while!

Social media can be inspirational when:

You find people who resonate with your passions and how you can connect with them from your room all the way across the world with just your phone! So many of my relationships with industry thought leaders started with a tweet or DM. Don’t underestimate it.

The viral sensation I’d love to work with is:

This little girl named Mila Stauffer (@kcstauffervideos). Her mom posts the funniest videos of her, and she’s such a natural on camera. I’d love to work with her – she’s only four, so you can imagine the fun!

My (honest) stance on social media celebrities is:

That they know where the attention is at – and kudos for that! My question is always, “What will you do with this newfound attention in the long term?

To retain your authenticity on social media, try to:

Be you. It’s your story. Your journey. The end.

The best way to tackle negativity on social media is:

Ignore it, block it, and – if you’re interested – engage and ask why? Most times, they can’t back up their nonsense when you do.

The public figure whose social media account I’d give a total makeover to is:

Donald Trump!

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