3 Genius Simple Tips to Using Social Media

Social media tree

Social media tree

Social media must seem like a strange term for those of you not familiar with it, especially with all the jargon: 'tweet', 'liking', etc. Put all of that to one side for now and focus on the first word: 'social'.

Many people jump into social media with an aggressive approach, expecting people they're 'following' to follow them or repeatedly messaging the same person, for example. We recoil from pushy people online just as we do face to face, so being aggressive is as anti-social online as it is in person.

Here are 3 tips that you need to remember as you navigate the social media waters, along with examples of how you can use social media to polish your brand, along with some examples of how people have buried their brand in an unmarked grave.


Be classy

Whatever you post online can be seen by anyone with a smartphone, tablet, or computer anywhere in the world. Really. If you're running a small business or launching a new product, then your name is your brand. Do you want it to be forever associated with aggression? Be classy at all times. It doesn't matter whether you're posting on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or anything else, no-one's ever been tarred and feathered for showing too much class.

Polishing: American Airlines (@AmericanAir) take a professional approach to customer support on Twitter and it shows. They've even used it to get real-time information from passengers regarding a bomb hoax.

Burying: Kenneth Cole thought that the confusion and violence of the Arab spring was the perfect avenue into people's minds to sell footwear:

Kenneth Cole brings you the opposite of classy

Kenneth Cole brings you the opposite of classy

Yes, they apologised, but the apology was completely generic, making it look less than convincing and less than human. This leads us to...


Be human

Show something of yourself. Show humour, passion, humility, inquisitiveness, or anything else that makes you you (just don't forget 1.) Connect with people. Be social. Nobody's going to want to follow a soulless machine or someone who looks like a PR guy spamming ads all day long. Strike a balance. If you post on Twitter (known as 'tweeting') 3 times a day, then on average only 1 of those tweets should be promotional. This is flexible if you're releasing a new product of course.

Polishing: James Blunt. Repeatedly.

Burying: Justice Sacco, who unveiled a novel approach to PR. Funnily enough this tweet has been deleted and now the account has been ditched by its original owner.

Social media screw-ups can get you fired

Social media screw-ups can get you fired


Be strategic

Does it make sense to follow some people from your business's social media accounts? Everyone follows Stephen Fry or Lady Gaga, but if you're a builder, does it make sense if you haven't built their new house? In your business, who are you most likely to be interacting with? Who's most likely to employ you? Who are the leaders in your industry, and what are they doing and saying? Use the search function to find the official accounts of these people and brands, or the accounts of established journalists/commentators in the field who will know.

So whatever you do, wherever you do it, be classy, be human, and be strategic.

What are your 3 tips to social media? Tell me all about them in the comments.