Someone recently referred to what I do as social media magic and asked me to sprinkle some "magic dust" to help them promote something.
I immediately checked my business card to confirm what I already knew: My title isn't "social media magician." And while I can juggle the proper tools to maximize results, I can't snap my fingers and make Kanye West follow you back on Twitter — or make him disappear from Twitter. (Or can I? A good magician never reveals his secrets, or so I've heard.)
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, my tricks are tricks of the trade. And here are some to get started down the right path to success on social media, no matter what platform you choose.
You need to post great stuff. Social media is not the place to be boring. You should always strive for meaningful, engaging and shareable content.
Trick: Vary what you post by following the rule of thirds. One-third of the time, post about your brand. One-third of the time, post related content from other sources. One-third of the time, be personable and let your followers get to know you.
Be trustworthy. If you're that friend who's always posting things that the Internet debunked years ago, you're going to lose some serious social street cred.
Trick: Google is your friend. Before you hit share or retweet, Google it.
Eggs aren't healthy for you. For some reason we'll never understand, Twitter's default icon is an egg. People on social media learn a lot about your personality from that little icon. They won't learn anything if you're an egg. Don't be an egg.
Trick: Studies over the years have shown that icons with a face are the most trustworthy.
Who are you? Every social platform has a space for a bio. Fill it out.
Trick: Put the keywords, aka the most important words in the bio, as close to the front as possible. This can only help you in search engines.
Engage. You can have amazing content, but you can't just post links. You have to engage on a personal level (see the first tip above). Imagine shouting into an empty room — that's the equivalent of not engaging on social media.
Trick: This is going to take time. I understand you're busy, but building a presence can't and won't happen overnight. And there are no breaks. You can't take six weeks off and expect people to wait for you.
Share. What I'm about to tell you hasn't changed since I first got into social media more than seven years ago: When you retweet, repost, regram, repin and other "re-" things, you are telling your audience that what this person has to share is worthy of all of your followers.
Trick: Think of sharing as the ultimate pat on the back.
Reach out. When you move into a new neighborhood, you can sit in your house and ignore the doorbell. Or, you can welcome that cake or casserole from your neighbor and get to know the people around you.
Trick: Good social media means never ignoring the doorbell.
See that? You're 7 steps closer to success and you didn't even have to saw anyone in half.
What questions do you have about social media? Tweet them to @scottkleinberg with hashtag #SoSocial. He might select yours for use in a future column.