3 Must-Do’s on Social Media to be “Real”

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It’s become a fact of life: If you want to build your brand or promote yourself or your business, social media marketing absolutely must be part of your overall strategy.

Marketers get it: 97 percent of those surveyed for the 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report say they use social media; 86 percent say it’s important; and 89 percent say the No. 1 benefit is increased exposure.

But many of the 3,000 polled are asking the same questions that you are. Their top two: “What tactics are most effective?” and “What are the best ways to engage my audience?”

Simply setting up an account on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or any of the myriad new networks isn’t enough. Your presence needs to interest other users and prompt them to share what you post.

The starting point for accomplishing that sounds deceptively easy: Be real.

Why is that so important?

And how do you come across as “real” when you’re trying to market a business or build a brand?

The answer to the first question is simple. People use social media to share ideas with other people. They’re having conversations, exchanging opinions and information, and getting to know one another just as they would at a party. Those who are funny, interesting, or offering something else of value get the most attention – just like entertaining partygoers. Their visibility grows because others tend to repeat what they say.

The guys (or gals) who walk up to the group and say, “I have a great company. Come see my store and buy my stuff!” get the least attention. In fact, they’re soon very lonely.

To address the second question, I asked our top-notch team of EMSI social media strategists to share some of their tips for nurturing your online personality.

Here’s what they said:

Humor does well. So does cute, poignant and inspirational. Let your sense of humor show – within the bounds of good taste, of course. Post cartoons or fun photos related to your industry or brand, or humorous observations about non-serious news events. Kids, animals and anything cute go over well, as do sharing touching posts, and quotes and photographs that inspire or motivate.
Vary the type of content you post in order to attract a broader audience. If you post only funny photos of dogs, only people who enjoy funny photos of dogs will “like” them, share them, or otherwise interact. Mix up your posts so you’ll appeal to a broader spectrum of audience. On Facebook, posting the same type of material over and over again can become a technological handicap: Facebook shows your posts only to those users who’ve demonstrated an interest in them. If you severely limit your content, you’ll severely limit your audience – and your visibility.

Get personal – share photos and posts that reflect your hobbies, interests and non-work-related activities. Photos from your ski or fishing vacation, a picture of your new puppy (#sleepless!), a comment about that great new movie you saw, and observations about events that matter to you will all go a long way toward making you real. (Bonus: They’ll help you accomplish tips No. 1 and 2!)

You’ll notice I didn’t include on this list: Share the publicity you get. And not because it isn’t important! It is – but there are effective ways and not so effective ways to do it. In another PR Insider, I’ll explain and give you tips for sharing that great newspaper article you’ve been featured in, or that talk show interview you did, in engaging ways that don’t make you look like an egomaniac.

In the meantime, if you’re not on social media, or you are but haven’t had a lot of success, try these tips for getting real. Remember, whether you’re on Facebook or at a party, you’ll win more friends by being genuine.

Keepin’ it real,

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