Did I just write guaranteed success on social media? Can I guarantee it? A little part of me was scared to write it, but yes, I can. You can too. It is simple and proven and you already do it in other parts of your life. Now, all you have to do is take those tricks and do them on social media.

Big hair

What do you remember about the 1980s? I remember, as a child, standing in our garden after being told we were emigrating to America. When I got there, I remember big houses, Whitney Houston’s big hair, big cars and an outdoor swimming pool at the end of our road.

I also remember the five-storey school I went to. I remember feeling like I had landed on a different planet. I remember not knowing how to do joined-up writing like the rest of the class. I remember the tension and bullying in the class when the teacher left for a few minutes.

Get involved

But, there was a valuable lesson learnt. Being shy, at first, I kept quiet and life was hard in school. Then, I started to open up, talked to a few people. They were interested in Ireland and we became friends. More friends emerged and the tension disappeared.

I’m sure many of you have had similar experiences of new places and a new crowd. The way we often handle that – talking to people and building relationships – is the same way we need to approach social media.

Immerse yourself

It seems simple, but many organisations ignore it: we must become a real member of that social community. This is how you do that.

Daily diet

Here at Concern Worldwide we’ve had some great success on social media. That is because we learnt that lesson: talk with people, not at them. Initially, we thought it only worked on Twitter. Then, we applied it to Facebook. Now, we’re applying it to Instagram, YouTube and beyond. The results are always the same: deep engagement and wide reach. It is not just us. Last night, I talked with Lawrence Ampofo, the founder of Digital Mindfulness, and they have started to use this technique too and have seen big improvements on Twitter and SoundCloud.

I’ll give you an example of how it works. Every day on Twitter, the web team in Concern has a list of tasks that we have to do. We call it our daily diet:

  • We reply to at least five tweets
    • (This can be hard at first, read this to find out how best to approach it)
  • We re-tweet at least five tweets
  • We try to keep the number of times we tweet low – maybe three a day

Listen first

The reason this works is because it slowly builds relationships with people. You listen and talk with them and they respond. Then, their followers will notice and get involved. It seems simple, but lots of organisations think social media is there to push their views on people. But, most people prefer you to talk with them rather than at them.   

This focus on listening first, talking second, has guaranteed us success on social media.

Now it’s your turn

Pick your most important social media site. Resist the temptation to talk first. Instead, listen and enjoy your daily diet. Success guaranteed.