How to win by putting ‘social’ back into your social media

Are you a big sports fan, or do you know any?

If you’re a sports fan, you probably know that the real pleasure comes from seeing an event as it happens. Recording a game and watching it later just doesn’t create the same excitement. Even some of the shine is taken off Olympic events when you know that they happened 12 hours earlier.

The same psychology applies to your social media posts.

I’m very grateful to have apps like TweetDeck, Hootsuite, Buffer, and the others that let me schedule social media posts. However, I notice something interesting every week when I review my statistics: My “live” posts are always among the posts with the best engagement rates – and they usually are at the very top of the list.

The lesson here is to not rely 100 percent on “canned” posts. If everything you post is planned and scheduled well in advance, you take the “social” out of social media, and platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest just become “media.”

For me, one of the best ways to engage my followers is to post an occasional live update about what I’m doing. No matter what your daily routine looks like, people like to get a behind-the-scenes view of your life, both personal and professional.

Another way to inject the social back into social media is to make a point of having conversations via your social media channels. There are a number of ways you can accomplish this:

Twitter chats. Organize and schedule a Twitter chat on a topic that would interest your followers. These are a great way to communicate with and strengthen your relationship with a wide swath of your followers in a condensed period of time.

Pro tip: Study the transcripts of your Twitter chats. They can reveal problems your customers are having that you might be able to solve! They can also lead to relevant blog topics.

Responding to comments. Take the time to read and respond to comments made on your posts, or even on other people’s posts. When I see a post with a lot of comments, I always read them because I want to know what has sparked so much interest. Further, even a short reply to a comment on one of your posts will demonstrate that you’re involved and care that people take the time to follow you.

Working hard to keep “immediacy” in your social media posts is another important strategy to adopt. Social media was designed to “connect” people, and connections need to happen in real time. Here are some way to achieve this:

Retweeting or sharing. While these tactics don’t sway large groups of followers, they go a long way toward strengthening your relationship with the original poster. Take the time to review your feeds on the social media platforms where you have a presence. When someone makes an insightful remark, honor it by sharing it with your following. This will also help you to keep up with trending topics, which brings me to my final point.

Leverage the happenings of the day. Another way to show that your posts are personal and not the output of artificial intelligence is to make good use of trending topics. This strategy doesn’t do a lot to strengthen your engagement, but it does give you added credibility. Your followers see that you are on top of what’s happening and that helps them trust your advice going forward.

Pro tip: Make checking trending hashtags and headlines a daily habit. It only takes a few moments.

Make these strategies part of your social media habits, your followers will appreciate it. And, if you have any special tips that make you more “real” on social media, share them with us!