Afraid to admit that you don’t understand social media?

What works on social media – and what doesn’t – are the same things that work (and don’t) when you’re networking at that hotel conference room party:

Go in with a plan

If you’re going to a party to network, you have goals. Maybe you want to find prospective clients or get people interested in your upcoming project. You identify your target demographics and learn which influencers will be at the party, such as the local media, politicians and celebrities. 

On social media, the world’s biggest cocktail party, making the right moves gets a bit more complicated and involves some strategising.

Don’t stand in the middle of the room saying the same thing over and over

Repeatedly posting the same thing, like “Come in for our big sale tomorrow” or “We won Business of the Year!” is like going to a party and saying the same thing over and over. People will run from you. 

Instead, engage in conversations on a variety of topics. They can be related to your business or book, but in a tangential way. Someone who sells jewellery, for instance, might share a great trick for cleaning rings.

Be genuine and show some personality

At a party, you smile, ask people questions about themselves, maybe tell some jokes, if that’s your personality and the personality you want your brand to reflect. People are drawn to people, not things, so let your humanity shine. But don’t try to be something you’re not. Other users will quickly figure it out and you – and your brand – will lose their trust.

Social media is a great way to build awareness of your brand, cultivate prospective customers and establish yourself as an authority. It has tremendous value for anyone with marketing needs, and it’s really not intimidating once you jump in.

Plus, it’s a whole lot more fun than an old-fashioned networking cocktail party!

Marsha Friedman is founder and CEO of EMSI Public Relations, and author of Amazon best-seller Celebritize Yourself.

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