To say that businesses and brands have come a long way in their usage of social media would be an understatement.

After all, not only have more of them than not established a presence on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the like, many of them are finally looking at social media as a valuable, respected communications stream as opposed to a necessary evil.

Gone are the days when so many marketers were debating the pros and cons of investing even a small portion of their time and budgets in social media. Almost everyone agrees now that we’re talking about a revolutionary sea change in how consumers, clients and customers interact with companies, not merely a passing fad.

That’s the good news.

Unfortunately, despite how much progress we’ve made when it comes to social media technologies, tools and tactics, we still have a long way to go when it comes to people using all of the above effectively for business purposes.

Far too many otherwise accomplished professionals are misguided, even clueless, in thinking that they can take the same old sales and marketing practices that are working elsewhere and use them to their advantage on social media.

Far too many of them had better think again or else find themselves barking up the wrong tree and beaten at their own game.

Truth is, social media works wonders for those who understand its nuances and idiosyncrasies, but those who don’t will get nowhere fast on these relatively new online channels. They’ll only get frustrated in their failure and futility.

Social media works best for those who understand that it represents an unprecedented, seismic shift in not only how people interact with one another, but in how business is conducted today.

There are many different ways to achieve your goals on social media, (Read more...) there are three key ingredients to success in this area that simply can’t be overlooked.

Be your own brand

Your audience can get their news anywhere, but they can’t get your particular outlook on life anywhere else but from you. Be your own brand. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Those who are the most successful on social media are those who keep it unequivocally real. They are as honest as they come, open, candid, revealing and opinionated. Put a face on your brand and a smile on your face.

Pause before you post, but don’t think everything you have to share has to be scripted, sculpted, rehearsed and rehashed. Some of the best moments on social media are those that are up close and unguarded.

Example: Ben & Jerry’s on Twitter:

The more impromptu you are, the better

It is one thing to schedule some of your content to be published automatically. A steady cadence is important. But you don’t want to simply set it and forget it. The more impromptu you are with your news and opinions, the better.

Real time is big time when it comes to success on social media. Monitor what’s trending for opportunities to opine. Jump into conversations. Reach out and connect with someone you haven’t talked to in a long time.

Live in the moment on social media as often as possible. Tweet, post, share and comment whenever the opportunity presents itself. The early bird gets the worm, or in this case, all the respect, credibility and attention.

Example: Dell on Facebook:


Know when your followers, fans and friends are online

I hate to break it to you, but the chances of you sharing something – anything – on social media at the exact same time your audience is there is slim and far between. Nobody’s hanging on your every word and picture.

The good news is that there are a lot of steps you can take to put the odds in your favor that your content will be seen by those whose attention you covet. Including keywords and hashtags is important.

Knowing when your followers, fans and friends are online will help you increase your reach and engagement rates. Promoting your posts every once in a while will also make a big difference. But not being shy about sharing content here, there and everywhere, time and time again, is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your presence will be duly noted at one time or another.

Example: #DailyFoodFeed on Instagram

daily food 

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