Many companies and individuals complain that nobody is engaging with their social media content and that nobody wants to read their posts. And to this, I would say, "are you engaging and reading other people's posts?" This sounds a bit juvenile and that's because it is.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram aren't really all that different from a kindergarten playground. Every kid/user has something to show and tell and would like peer validation for saying or doing that thing. There are, of course, bullies who eventually get blocked. There are precocious bookworms just looking for a good read. There are athletes who want you to like their kickball prowess and gymnasts who can show you how a cartwheel is properly executed. And together, this makes for some very loud, overwhelming mayhem.
So, what does this mean for gaining more social media engagement and traction? It means that many of the simple golden rules you learned as a child apply to social media, as well.
Treat Others How You Want to Be Treated
Want people to like your latest post? Try liking other people's content first. There is such a thing as social media good will and if you aren't stocking up on it, then you'll have nothing to draw from when you need it.
Sharing is Caring
There's a big difference between "liking" and "sharing" in the world of Facebook and Twitter. In the social, kindergarten world, that big difference is that sharing is a very sweet gesture. You are willing to take someone else's idea and, metaphorically, shout it from the rooftops. That's a very nice, caring thing to do! And chances are someone will return the favor someday. Be sure to add a brief description/opinion before the share so that the post isn't misconstrued as spam.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but it really isn't. If you are a small business retweeting a quote from a happy customer, double check with someone else to make sure your comment comes off as kind and genuine. Any gray area will hinder others from engaging or saying nice things in the future. Or worse, become a social media outrage. On the flip side, publicly saying nice things or supporting a customer can go pretty far.
Case and point: I tweeted how much I loved going to Staples a few weeks ago and the kind social media managers at Staples tweeted me back [see below]. Now I am writing about them in my blog and using them as a good example of how to be kind to others and how it will come back in your favor. Love you, Staples.
Were any of the terms in this story foreign? Here's a nice guide for social media terminology that will help answer some questions.