Photo by lewicki (Creative Commons)
Give your organization a human face by sharing the right content
Guest post by Maya Sagi
You’ve decided to use social media to promote your startup. Great. Now you have to think about how to promote yourself. The way to go is simple: Self-brand. This will help advance product recognition and general brand awareness, create connections, build a reputation and eventually reach your target audience.
However, to prevent you from drowning in a sea of content, here are a few tips to help direct you to the specific type of content that will make your company stand out.
Your personal life
1Out with the Wizard of Oz mentality of “pay no attention to that person behind the curtain.” Users like to get to know the real person behind the status and profile picture they see. They want a peek into your personal life. As a source of admiration, it’s important to show your followers that you’re no different than they are. You may have kids; you certainly go on vacation and wait in lines, just like they do.
Mistakes you’ve made and lessons you’ve learned
2We’re all human. We all make mistakes. Even if it may be difficult to do, admitting your mistakes and learning from them is a sign of real growth. Everyone has obstacles to overcome and work through. Opening a dialogue in which you and your followers are able to discuss your experiences, what you may have done wrong and what should be done in the future. Create an environment in which a free-flow of ideas, with other industry leaders and individuals can communicate and learn from each other.
Answer questions on Quora
Photo by kmsmith545 (Creative Commons)
3Nowadays, people turn to social media platforms when looking for answers. When it comes to questions, whether it’s general industry trends or about a specific company, trying to Google the answer only gets you so far. Rather than getting lost in a sea of mostly irrelevant links, Quora offers a direct route by encouraging individuals to answer questions in which they are an expert. Seize the opportunity to participate. When you offer answers based on your honed experience and knowledge, you are creating networking opportunities and are branding yourself as a thought leader. Create an environment in which a free-flow of ideas with other industry leaders and individuals can communicate and learn from each other.
Interesting information and articles you’ve read
4Everyone shares information on social media, but unfortunately a simple repost isn’t showcasing the content, or you, in the best way possible. If you’ve found an interesting article, video or link you think is worth sharing, copying and pasting the title won’t help establish you as an expert. The key is contributing your opinion. By adding a quote or reference of your own, it helps to differentiate you as an industry leader and trusted source of information, not just another voice in the crowd.
5Content is king but when it comes to social media and self-branding, using visuals is a powerful way to show, not just tell your brand and personal story. Share interesting or unique photos (the view from office, dinner you just prepared) to help your followers get to know you better. Personal photos are great, but don’t overdo it: no need to take a picture of every one of your meals and upload them every day.
Words of wisdom
6Whether classic literature, lecture or article, if you come across some words of wisdom, share them with your followers. Many insights can be summed up in a sentence, which will help you introduce and expose others to a whole new interesting world they have yet to discover.
7What do your daily activities include? Are your days filled with meetings (whether new business or old)? Are there any exciting plans you have scheduled? Maybe you have been working on developing a new feature? The things you do, while they may seem unimportant or mundane to you, may be very interesting to others. Share them with your community! Not only will you probably receive feedback on your work — which is important to any entrepreneur — but at the same time you will be building your credibility and enhancing your reputation across other industries.
Information from events and conferences you’re attending
Photo by sacreblue (Creative Commons)
8You’ve already made it to the event, now take a couple of minutes to update your followers on the who and what of the conference (Who’s there? What they’re speaking about? What are your insights?). This is a way for you to leverage a trending topic, track attention and establish yourself as a leading voice.
Jokes and memes
9Viral content is social media gold. They are fun, light-hearted and there’s no reason for you not to use it in the right dosage. When you strike the right chord with this kind of content, it testifies to your awesome sense of humor and to the fact that you don’t live in a world of your own. Refrain from using political or disrespectful content so people don’t get the wrong idea of who you are.
Your startup or product
10The use of social media to receive feedback on every stage of your product life has its advantages. At the beginning, social media is a great way to validate your idea. In the early stages, it can be used as a crowdsourced focus group. Once your product has launched, the platforms can be used as a low-cost promotional tool. Don’t refrain from talking about your product but also don’t let it be the only thing you talk about. It’s important to strike a balance between promotional messaging and conversational posts. Share the information that’s relevant to the feedback you’d like to receive without exposing your followers to all the strategy and information you’ve gathered along the years.
In the end when it comes to social media, there’s no magic potion. You have to try a little of everything until you find what works best for you, whether it’s related to finding the right content or target audience. Ultimately, the more time you invest in discovering and sharing relevant content, the better the outcome and the more likely you are to succeed.