“Try not. Do…or do not. There is no try.” ~Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
You don’t have to be a legendary Jedi Master to be a social media pro, but by adhering to these three guiding principles, you can go a long way to mastering the art.
Being authentic on social media is no different than how you need to present yourself in person: real and genuine. Here’s how:
- Be Honest
Surveys of those who use social media consistently rate honesty as the top trait they would like companies and organizations to exhibit. Being truthful, open, and forthcoming builds trust and goodwill with customers and potential customers.
- Be Yourself
In the late 19th century, noted Irish author Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” That sage advice stands the test of time. The corollary is trying to be someone you’re not, which is incongruous with being authentic.
For example, if you are you friendly, helpful, funny, and engaging, then show that you are friendly, helpful, funny, and engaging on the social media platforms you are using. People will respect you and appreciate you for treating them the way they want to be treated.
- Set the Right Tone and Use the Right Voice
It is important to use a tone and voice that reflects your company’s culture, values, and personality. If you struggle to identify what those are for your social media posts, there is work to be done at the company level. After all, your company’s voice is a direct extension of your company’s culture, values, and yes, personality.
It’s called social media for a simple reason: it was intended to be social! No one wants to be bombarded with heavy-handed sales posts on any of the social media platforms they use.
Yes, you certainly can and should sell your company to your audience, but limit sales pitches or obnoxious self-promotional posts. Also, when you do sell, being clever or witty can go a long way to balancing the social/sales scales.
- Show Slices of Daily Life
When you pull the curtain back and show some behind the scenes moments, people respond. They respond with likes, retweets, comments, and shares. THAT’S being social. Those types of posts still can – and should – be done in a way that reflects well on your employees and company as a whole.
- Be “Social Aware”
Being social aware means that you are staying current with trending topics that people are talking about. You may then join in the conversation to capitalize on the latest buzzworthy subject matter. For example, using a trending hashtag on Twitter can be a natural way to gain more exposure and additional followers.
If you’ve made the decision for your company to be on a given social media platform, you must stay active. There’s not a single correct answer to the question “How often should I post on social media?” It is important, however, to be active on the platforms you have chosen to use.
- Be Responsive
Think of social media posts as an active conversation. Just as in having conversations person-to-person, having long pauses in conversations online are not good. Be timely in your replies to comments. This is especially important when someone posts a negative review or comment about an experience they’ve had with your company.
- Plan Your Posts
The simplest way to be active is to plan your posts with a content calendar and schedule them with a social media management platform such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Sendible, SocialPilot, or others. Once you dive in and take advantage of the intuitive dashboards, you will wonder how you survived social media without it. Another bonus of using a social media management platform is the ability to easily access analytics and reports to monitor your content.
Planning your social media content in advance does not mean, however, that you can’t be spontaneous. As a matter of fact, showing an impromptu side of your company and employees resonates with social media followers.
May the Force be with You
Becoming a social media Jedi Master takes effort, but long lasting, successful results will follow. Engaged and loyal followers can be great advocates for your company. Selling yourself by being social has its benefits.
Anthony Bardos is the Marketing Communications Manager at Morris Marketing Group, a locally-owed Memphis company providing communications, marketing, strategic planning, and social media services to a diverse client list throughout the Southeast region.