“Social Media” is a tool, and you are where the “social” aspect comes into play. Without the human element, all you have is media, and that differs very little from traditional advertising where you’re trying to shove a product or idea in front of as many people as you can manage. Ultimately reaching a larger population is your goal, but it takes a great deal of work and maintenance to keep them around to bolster your reputation. People want something different. They want to be heard, and they want to feel like their opinions matter. While those who dislike your brand will have negative comments, a good reputation with the general public will allow customers and followers to jump in and defend your honor. Just as consumers pay attention to comments on products in online vendor sites like Amazon, potential fans pay attention to what the everyday Joe has to say on social media sites.
Anyone can use social media, just as anyone can use a computer. What they do and how far they can go with it depends heavily on the person behind the screen. Not everyone knows how to engage others on the internet. The right person needs to be:
Sociable. You enjoy speaking to others and hearing what they have to say. Bonus points if you are genuinely interested. While it may be difficult to tell if someone on the internet is truly engaged in a conversation, this comes across clearly when you make an actual appearance. It’s nice to be genuine, both in person and on the internet.
A Risk-taker. You’re not afraid to try new methods and strategies for the sake of experimentation. Not everything’s going to work, but nothing is a failure; it is only an incentive to try again.
Knowledgeable. It’s important that you know and understand whatever you’re trying to sell, be it product, ideas, or news. This is a long-term strategy, and it requires a ton of work on your part to make sure that what comes out of your mouth or what goes onto a screen is clear, concise, and easily understandable by those who don’t have the benefit of your personal research. Keep it simple.
Relatable. Your audience needs to be able to identify with you, so you have to try your hardest to identify with them. They’re not just eyes and ears, and you are not just a mouthpiece. These are real people, and you have to treat them as such by showing that you too are a person with likes and dislikes.
An “Insider”. If you’re selling a product, you don’t have to be a “representative” or a salesman on social media sites. Those titles should be secondary. Yes, you’re with the company, but you should behave more like an insider with secrets to share. You have to entice them with exclusive information that’s not privy to anyone who isn’t following you on Facebook or receiving updates from you on Twitter. You have information that they want (or information that you want them to want), and getting it to them should come across almost as a small favor. Or, if you want to play at it from a different angle, make it seem as though releasing certain bits of information poses a considerable risk to yourself. People love secrets. Don’t you?
Introvert vs. Extrovert. Which is better for the job. You might argue that the Extrovert would be better for the job because it has to do with social media, and extroverts are far more social than their introvert counterparts. While traditional marketing favors the outspoken, the often more impulsive extroverts are also more likely to say or post something undesirable, and there are many occasions where you simply cannot take it back. Social media is incredibly fast-paced, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t handle this tool with care. Introverts often feel more comfortable behind a screen than in person, so they can actually excel in social media under the cloak of anonymity. Being careful with what you say and when you say it will ultimately be a benefit rather than a detriment.