How to Stay Afloat in the Raging Social Media Sea

Author - Elijah DouresseauI’ll be the first to admit, I am no guru when it comes to building a brand on a social media platform. I think I’ve mostly learned there’s an unofficial code of conduct out there that people pick up on fairly quickly. And whether it’s you or your parents learning how to post something properly, or go live with an announcement, consistency and participation are big parts of that formula.

Here’s my journey through social media thus far, and hopefully, you can glean something from my trial and error. I’ll mostly be speaking from a Twitter and Instagram point of view.

First, I’ll say that as established as those unwritten conventions are at generating buzz and getting likes, nothing is a surefire track to becoming a trending/verified account. Essentially, going about social marketing in a prescriptive way (if I do this, plus that, it will equal all this) doesn’t guarantee you anything.

Social campaigning can be frustrating. Especially if you’re being deliberate about building a reputable brand and profile of your business. But the nature of the content you’re putting out still has to be compelling or interesting enough to acquire followers. That doesn’t mean you should get a friend and do some random stunt on the street “for the Gram.” It means you should pay attention to what’s out there, and how your posts may exist in relation to popular topics or post engagement. This is where hashtags come in handy. They’re technically less about staying hip, and more about being able to search for things by topic (the hashtags).

Book - 3D Chalkboard SpecialsTwitter and Instagram often feel like vehicles on a freeway. Most of us drive one of six or seven makes and models that’ll vary in color, mileage, and the occasional body modification or two, but they’re really the same mode of transportation. And we all have to share the road with others who drive what we drive.

In regards to that strange analogy, that – to me – is one of the more crucial parts of maintaining your presence on a social media platform: participation.

Now, let’s be clear, there’s a certain point in which I’d rather not do much social media. It can feel like a popularity contest and sometimes, what people choose to highlight about themselves, or about events, feels arbitrary, contrived or vain.

Still, it can be a useful tool for establishing some notoriety and widening a fan base. And whether online or off, those are still two important aspects of product and brand success. Functionally, social media is about awareness, and about being social. And too often, we can lose sight of the interpersonal aspects of these platforms.

Yes, some of us might not want to be logged on any more than we have to – I get it – but that can also result in you not putting enough stock into your platform for followers to stick around. Users respond to engagement. Not just posting whatever thing you have to announce and not logging on for another week. Or three months.

You have to post, comment, like, retweet, direct message, and follow. Use as many of the functions of the platform, as often as you can, to show you are indeed a member of the community. To my writers, you wouldn’t just show up to a workshop to have your stuff critiqued, and leave. No, you participate actively in all the other critiques on the docket before the workshop is adjourned – because the other writers took the time to closely examine your work.

I follow a bunch of artists like myself, who are just starting to make a name for themselves, so it truly is cool to see people excelling in their crafts and getting recognized for it.

Consistency and participation give people more of a chance to see the person behind the profile, and quantitatively, it also means your profile can be accessed a little more easily, since it doesn’t just post every few months and disappears from the newsfeed or timeline. You don’t have to post every hour, every day. Just make sure you aren’t doing one thing when you log on. Your brand will thank you for actually being social, in the long run.

~Elijah Douresseau

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