When you spend as much time combing through content marketing blogs as I do, you start to notice a substantial regurgitation of advice from social media gurus. Pick five blogs at random and you’ll notice they’re all offering similar suggestions.
Why are so many blogs and feeds starting to feel like iterations of each other? It’s because coming up with good ideas is hard and we often turn to bloggers andinfluencers for ideas. The question remains: how can you create great content and engage in ways that make you stand out?
I propose that 2018 be the year of originality; of showing the world the real you. Research has shown that the more humanized the brand, the better. Whether you’re communicating on behalf of a brand or simply reppin’ yourself, the online world responds best to people and brands who let their humanity shine through.
So, here are my 5 tips for keepin’ it real on social media in 2018:
Remember: Quality trumps quantity. Too many writers are conditioned to churn out content for the sake of Google rankings. If we wrote everything based on pleasing an algorithm, we would sacrifice the emotional power of the written word.
Don’t get me wrong – you should use keywords in your writing but don’t weaken the emotional appeal of your work by trying to keep up with some kind of intense production precedent. I don’t know about you but I would rather read one awesome blog post over ten that didn’t say anything new.
When you spend enough time creating your online community, you really get to know your peeps. You wish them happy birthday and reply with funny GIFs to lift their spirits on a bad day, but when was the last time you tried to get to know them IRL?
In 2018, vow to strengthen these relationships by organizing get-togethers like Tweet Ups. Prove you’re even cooler than the person they know online.
Pro tip: when you get enough social media groups/influencers at one venue, somehow free beer starts to show up…just saying.
Social media is supposed to serve as a window into our humanity but sometimes it feels more like an episode of Black Mirror. Fresh makeup, a perfect looking dinner, Insta-worthy holiday photos—we tend to post only the best parts of our lives on social media.
Filtering ourselves half to death, hiding our flaws from the world and leading others to believe our lives are nothing but sunshine and lollipops has actually resulted in a psychological phenomenon, with seriously harmful effects. In this current state, what could be more original than doing the exact opposite? Share your real experiences; from a burnt Sunday roast to the run in your nylons. I’m not saying you should position yourself as some kind of hot mess, but I encourage sharing the things which make you human.
Audit your own online activity. Are you trying to be a star on every social network? If you really want to keep it real, think critically about what’s actually working for you – figure out your best platform and own it. Look at your data and insights to learn which posts served you well and which ones fell flat. Does your social persona match the real you? What about your Twitter bio? Is it still an accurate description of you? If not, update it.
Lastly, ask yourself: if I met an online community member IRL for the first time, would they agree that I behave and sound the same way as I do on social media? If not, you might need to check yourself.
Just like you, everyone in your community has a good reason for being there. Maybe they’re promoting their business, getting feedback on a particular topic or just looking to connect with like-minded individuals. Whatever the case, remember: in the social world, you get what you give. Take every opportunity to help those in your online community with their social endeavors. Lift them up and show them you care by participating in their polls and re-tweeting their best content. Be genuine in your mentions (if they look great in their new dress, say so) and respond to them when it’s clear they need some encouragement. There will come a day when you’ll need them to do the same for you. It takes a village…
Companies and individuals who take the H2H (human to human) approach are winning on social media. Everyone wants to produce original content and have authentic engagement online but unfortunately, many fail to keep it real. Producing original content requires extra work and time; from re-thinking your blog topics to nurturing your online communities, but it’s worth it. Whenever you find yourself at a content impasse, just remember: the most original thing you can put out there is yourself.
Special thanks to Mark Schaefer, Dr. Ana Canhoto and Bryan Kramer for their excellent insights and research.