Despite everything you read and no matter what anyone else tells you, there’s really no secret to success for marketers on social media.
Obviously, you can put the odds in your favor if you follow the industry’s best practices. But there are no shortcuts or tricks, no workarounds or hacks.
Big advertising budget or not, if you’re not careful to adhere to some of the channels’ most fundamental principles, any wins you experience will be short-lived at best.
Transparency counts for a lot in social media, as do authenticity and immediacy. Emerging technologies and newfangled tactics play considerable roles as well.
As if all that’s not enough, whether you’re talking about copy or design, still images or videos, memes or GIFs, you need to have an infinite supply of content in some shape or form queued up and ready to share with your followers, subscribers and connections.
Those principles I referred to above still reign first and foremost, though. There are too many of them to list here, but let’s talk about a few of the most important ones.
1. Have a solid strategy in place
Far too many businesses and brands decide to launch a campaign, only to realize not too far into it that they either don’t have enough content to sustain momentum or they have no idea what to do with it. That’s just one of countless issues to address before you dip your toes in the social media waters. Branding. Lead generation. PR. SEO. What are your objectives? Which channels are you going to use? Who’s your audience? How can you achieve better results than your competition?
You can easily get lost on social media if you haven’t mapped out your journey in advance.
2. Be persistent and patient
If you’re not a brand like Red Bull or a celebrity like Kim Kardashian, you’re not going to be an overnight success on social media. Attention on these channels is earned, not given to you.
Even if you put a massive budget behind your content and promote it like crazy, you still need a ubiquitous, bona fide presence on social media to be taken seriously. Social media levels the playing field between buyer and seller. The more you engage authentically with your audience on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the like, the more likely they’ll be to respond affirmatively to what you have to offer.
3. Roll out the red carpet for your audience
You never get a second chance to make a great first impression. Treat the members of your audience like VIPs. Roll out the red carpet and greet them with open arms.
Thank them for following you. Ask how you can help them. Speak to their needs and interests, not yours. Give them props, credit, praise and kudos. Show them how much you appreciate the time they’re taking to watch, listen and learn from you.
Give them far more attention than they’re giving to you and chances are, your welcome and warmth will be reciprocated.
4. Be available, responsive and engaging
The good news is that social media has made it possible for you to engage with customers, consumers and constituents in real time, anytime. The bad news is that they can reach out to you at their own convenience. And the expectation is that you will respond to them immediately.
Banker’s hours are unheard-of on social media. Nights. Weekends. Lunchtime. It doesn’t matter what your schedule is in real life. On these online communication channels, you need to be there for your audience at a moment’s notice. If you snooze, you lose. There’s no rest for the weary on social media.
5. Show the human side of your brand
One of the biggest mistakes marketers, advertisers and professionals in general make is to underestimate the importance of the social in social media. People do business with people who are willing to engage as themselves, not logos behind a litany of promotional messages and corporate gobbledygook.
Be kind. Be generous. Be yourself. Cold, calculating and contrived content will get you nowhere on these channels. Candor and extemporaneousness will fly.
Stress the positive attributes of your brand, personal or professional, but don’t pretend you’re something you’re not. Honesty and personality will get you everywhere on social media.