Please Keep The Social In Social Media

The life-cycle of this digital article on the world wide web will be a whirlwind adventure (at least that is the goal) quite different than that of a traditional print article.

It may get posted, re-posted (aka “retweeted” on Twitter), shared or added to favourites on digital media engines like Twitter, Facebook or Medium (with too many more to name). These engines churn out millions and millions of statuses, posts, pictures, articles, video media in an abundance unfathomable to one human alone. So what makes a digital post social in the first place?

It is the human element of social interaction that does.

Two items revolutionized digital media into social media:

  1. The follow button
  2. The “@” tag

How you use these buttons will take your social media profiles from “person at the party sitting on their own” vs. “person at the party mingling and getting a sweet cheers every time someone passes by”.

Social media is so revolutionary because we are social beings to begin with. We learn and feel good from sharing knowledge and experiences together
Here are three top methods to put the social into social media.


You‘re not talking to your followers, you’re talking with them

Remember the party goer example above? Imagine social media as one big party (or like a networking event). Would you ignore someone at a party or sit there yelling out opinions? I did not think so. It is important that you keep a natural element of human behaviour in your online social interactions. So utilize dm and tags, introduce yourself where it matters, compliment where you can, recommend when you are able too and respond (except to bots). Authenticity and consideration in gesture and expression is necessary for meaningful interaction and online is no exception.


Not adding value is the same as taking value away

Einstein said it best when he said “strive not to be a success but rather to be of value”. Value begets success but the other way around may not always be true. The term “add value” gets thrown around often without context. In essence, it is the relevancy and usefulness of the idea, opinion or action given by you, to someone else. To add value to others, you must first value others. Whether you are on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Reddit, your followers are there for a reason. So ask yourself before you hit send, is there usefulness in my input? You must act as if everything you do matters because it does.


Clarity in communication is a sign of credibility

Whether a company or an individual, your social media profile is an extension of your voice. It is like a mall kiosk where people stop by to learn more. Use the bio section to highlight your strengths and to provide context, succinctly and in a manner that is easy to understand.

CLARITY continued. Understand who your followers are and why they follow you. This will give you a chance to deliver posts with clarity and intent. My Twitter page is about sharing ‘aha moment’ advice about entrepreneurship and leadership so I always hashtag #entrepreneur and if I want to direct people towards a specific action, I will do it with a personalized message in a tag or via dm, “hey @janedoe, I know you were interested in understanding startups, here’s a blog post I wrote about the topic” and not “HEY, READ MY ARTICLE!”. Firstly, because there is no clarity in the action I am encouraging when I simply yell things out plus, I would not do that at a party.

In a storm of online noise, the human element, value and clarity create meaningful social interaction. So be you, know your strengths, offer them with intent and please, keep the social in social media.