Why do we engage in social media? For personal reasons, we engage to stay in touch with others, to learn, and often just to feel good about ourselves.
For professional reasons, engagement is important primarily because it sends a signal to others that you are connected and someone legitimate to do business with. That’s a pretty low bar, of course, and other reasons are to maintain relationships, to learn, and to distribute your message and your content.
So the personal and professional reasons are pretty similar, except professional people and organizations use it more for branding and as a bullhorn. And for all the reasons mentioned, it is important. So here are some basics on social media that I have learned over the years:
Stand for Something: Your social media presence may be the first impression anyone gets of you, whether it’s your Twitter feed, your Twitter description, your Facebook account or your LinkedIn presence. Think of it this way: You want people to understand who you are and what you’re about instantly when they visit your website. Since your social media presence is often the gateway to your website, it should do the same.
Be Nice: However you are in real life, don’t be petty, mean or snarky in public. Treat others with respect. Retweet things you find interesting, and give the original posters credit for what you’re distributing. Nobody likes to be around the person who is always talking about himself, so don’t be that person in social media.
Be Smart: Integrate your social media with your content strategy, your product releases, and anything else that is material to your business. Create campaigns, schedule your posts, measure your social media effectiveness to the extent possible, experiment with different things, but try to make your social media strategy matter to your business success.
Be Present: Until recently, I believed that too many Twitter postings were over-saturation. And of course, there is a point where it is, but it’s pretty tough to reach. When I started looking seriously at the numbers as I was managing social media at recent jobs, it because obvious that making frequent posts matters, so we stepped it up. Watch the numbers and arrive at a manageable number for you.