How to Ensure Success in Your Social Media Job

By Brooks Briz, David Rose

Think of social media as an upscale networking and cocktail party. Who gets the most attention? The interesting party guest who listens to others and knows how to work the room. This person has high credentials but they don’t flaunt their accomplishments or ask everyone to join them in business. This person doesn’t need to be aggressive because everyone wants to be around him or her. They’re already beating down the door in hopes of building a relationship.

Many traditional businesspeople stereotype social media pros as “­professional networkers” that want to “save the world” with engagement and vanity metrics (such as Likes and comments). Nothing could be further from the truth. Smart, savvy social media pros understand the value of genuinely connecting with other human beings, as well as finding new ways to grow their brand and direct response measurables via social media.

The following sections explain the top rules to follow when establishing yourself as a top‐notch social media pro:

  • Respect each social media platform.

  • Always look to help others without looking for anything in return.

  • Define your value and look to be a friend and helpful professional rather than wonder what everyone else can do for you.

  • Create helpful content worth talking about. The more people get the help they want from you, the closer you’ll be to getting what you want.

Respecting the platforms that you play on

For example, if you try to share an Instagram photo on Facebook and Twitter, the users may be annoyed with an Instagram best practice of using lots of hashtags. Conversely, if you share a Facebook photo on Instagram, then the quality may be greatly diminished and the website URL in the description won’t work. Making these mistakes makes you look like a novice.

To get to know a platform’s culture, study each one to

  • See how users interact.

  • See what type of content that they produce.

  • Understand top thought leaders.

  • Learn what type of content seems to work really well based on engagement and when optimal times to post are.

Speaking natively to your audience

Speaking natively means that you understand each site’s culture and post relevant content. For example, you wouldn’t post pictures of the pretty flowers in your backyard as a LinkedIn update; this content isn’t relevant to LinkedIn’s business‐oriented discussions and content standards. You would, however, post flower pictures within a Facebook group related to botany, or within your Instagram account if this is one of your interests that you position yourself with.

Probably the most important aspect of speaking natively is to avoid coming across as a blatant advertisement in people’s feeds. For example, if your target audience is NFL fans who are streaming through their Instagram feeds to look at pictures of players, practice, games, and NFL gear, and you put up a PowerPoint image advertising your “super social media management special,” then you’ll quickly be ignored — or worse, unfollowed and reported for not being relevant.

Thanking people for saying something nice or telling someone else about you is important. Being grateful is a part of effectively listening.

Automating authentically on social media

Often, social media pros are looking for new ways to automate their social media posts and engagement. The problem is that human interaction can’t be completely automated. This doesn’t mean that you should sit on your computer or smartphone and monitor social media sites all day, every day. Find a balance between scheduling posts for optimal times and the genuine interaction that needs to transpire.

  • Schedule your content posts via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn using tools such as Hootsuite or Sprout. Check the number of impressions, shares, and overall engagement that your posts get to find the best times and days to post.

  • Interact with people who show any sort of interest in the content that you’re producing. Thank everyone and continue the dialogue by asking open‐ended questions about their thoughts.

One of the best types of content is what is known as a picture quote, a vibrant image that has a quote, saying, or advice on top. If you’re not comfortable with graphic design, make these sorts of images on quotescover.com or pagemodo.com.

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