- … automate – Use tools such as Social Oomph to automate a welcome Direct Messages sent to new followers on Twitter.
- … entice – Give users a reason to follow your brand. Be it presenting them with a deal, or displaying your knowledge. Give them something.
- … communicate – Users are going to reply to you. Be it a blog comment, or rating your business on Yelp or Google Places. Reply to these people to form a bond with your audience. But remember, there are many trolls on the Internet. These people are just going to post negative things just to post negative things no matter what you do. You’ll never please them.
- … diversify – Your users are typically on different social networks. Some people exclusively post on Facebook, while others post exclusively on Twitter or Google+. Getting yourself on multiple networks reaches these users.
- … know the network – Learn the social norms for the network you are on. People behave differently and use a different language depending upon the network you are on. Set up personal accounts and get used to things before putting your brand out there. Twitter is perhaps the most informal social networking site out there. I am not advocating you do it, but do not be surprised if you see professionals swearing or pulling pranks on users. The White House recently replied to a tweet by rickrolling its followers.
- … accreditation – Don’t steal content from elsewhere and pass it off as your own. Give accreditation towards the source of your material if you are going to pull it from elsewhere. Facebook and Google+ allow you to share a post, while Twitter lets you retweet. Make sure you use these mechanisms properly else you will anger people.
- … analytics – If you share a link to your site or provide a deal of some kind create some metric to analyze where that is coming from. Different sites exists for helping you track what you’re using.
- … automate – I know this goes against what I said above, but hear me out. The point of a social media is to be social. Don’t go crazy with automation. While there may be value in finding source material that you’d like to share at one time and then using a service like Social Oomph to schedule their posting doing that means that you could end up posting 5-6 messages within a minute which will give the impression that you’re spamming. Also, by removing the human from the network means there is no one for users to reply to and thus you lose that social bond.
- … exclusively cross-post – Linking a blog post to your Facebook page or having your Facebook page post to Twitter or Twitter to LinkedIn or what have you is okay to an extent, but do not just use these second/third network exclusively just to copy content. Put some exclusive content on those different networks. Yes, that means Facebook users might not get a deal only on Twitter, but it also means that you are actually on the network and can reply to followers and create a social experience.
- … confuse your networks – Another problem with automation is that you can turn off your audience. Being on Twitter and seeing a message that starts off with “To all of my fans on Facebook … ” tells me I should unfollow you because you’re not really talking to me.
- … assume anything – You may forget that certain features only exist on certain networks. Neither Facebook nor Google+ support Twitter’s hashtags (though everything I’ve heard from Google makes it sound like they want something like this), so using them on those networks just doesn’t make sense.
- … forget who you are – I know this sounds silly, but remember what user you are logged in as. Make sure you switch to a personal account when you’re done representing your brand.
- … choose an annoying avatar – An avatar is the little picture that is associated with any post you make. Choose something appropriate, yet fun. Don’t choose anything scarey. I personally consider Pete Cashmore from Mashable’s Twitter picture to be freaky. It’s like he is staring into my soul!
- … be afraid – Social media is about building relationships. It is about the comfort of working with actual humans. If you’re scared to write something or post or make some sort of offer it will come across. Know who you are, be who you are, say who you are.