Years ago, when I was a member of Toastmasters, a public speaking and leadership organization, I was fortunate enough to be asked to be president of a local club. I was honored, of course, but I wasn’t sure what the role entailed.
Just be yourself, I was told. There is no need to overthink it.
That’s what I learned back then about being a leader and speaking in public.
And coincidentally, that’s what I’ve learned about communicating on social media, too.
Don’t put on an act.
Let’s face it, the path to success on social media can be long and winding, as there are just so many variables that can get in the way. Never mind the fact that so many people and brands have no idea what to say and share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like. Even when they have figured out the content conundrum, the time, talent and tenacity it takes to harness what is still a newfangled way of communicating can overwhelm even the best of them.
But I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way.
Yup, one of the easiest ways to get from point A to point B on social media is to just be yourself. No spin. No filter. No beating around the bush. Just show up with energy, enthusiasm and enlightenment for anyone who’s paying attention.
After all, social media is different than anything you’ve ever done as a marketing, advertising, publishing or PR professional. Social media is the long lost art of conversation brought online. Social media works best when you are using it to engage with others in an honest, open dialogue.
That’s not to say you don’t need a steady cadence of content in your stream, because you do without question. Your presence on social media must be felt day in and day out as often as possible.
So on your own or with the support of a team, go ahead and schedule an indefinitely lasting series of status updates, messages and posts about who you are and what you do as a brand. A steady drumbeat is important. But accentuate that beat with a strong personality and point of view that is indelibly you as the human behind the scenes.
For example, take a look at Beth Comstock, GE’s CMO, on Twitter. Not only does she talk about innovation and technology, she also doesn’t hesitate to share a picture of a beautiful sunrise in New York City with her more than 80,000 followers.
Magical Manhattan morning pic.twitter.com/clFsYyLBNo
— Beth Comstock (@bethcomstock) January 15, 2016
Then there’s billionaire businessman, Elon Musk, who’s not afraid to publicly reveal his sadness over the passing of David Bowie. Genuine. Heartfelt. Liked about 5,000 times, too.
Sad to hear that David Bowie died. He was amazing.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 11, 2016
There’s also T-Mobile’s CEO, John Legere, who’s as refreshingly candid as they come, especially for someone among the C-suite ranks.
This is me in the early 80s, running the Shamrock Classic in #Boston. I was running a 5min mile then. 🙂 👟 #TBT pic.twitter.com/PV7gKyLA60
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) February 11, 2016
Check out Bill Gates on Twitter. Go behind the scenes with the richest person in the world as he shares words and pictures on a multitude of subjects, from digital technology to the Zika outbreak to what music he’d listen to if he were stranded on a desert island.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what music would you want to have? Here’s my list: https://t.co/zQAWk7bTxn pic.twitter.com/Yqf4BQATSz
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) February 1, 2016
Last in this list, but not least, there’s Georgetown Cupcake. Whoever is the writer behind this account has a fabulously fun personality. That’s just the right image to portray, even if you are representing a logo, not your own personal brand.
Check out what's chillin' in our fridge on the #FridgeCam & find out today's #SecretFlavor: https://t.co/ZQQu7w5rXq pic.twitter.com/4Nsyo33U85
— Georgetown Cupcake (@GTownCupcake) February 15, 2016
Note: The original version of this post was published on ClickZ on February 16, 2016. To read the post there, click here.