3 Things That Make Me Better Than You at Social Media (and what you can do about it)

Jan 3, 2013   //   by Pete Huang   //   SEO Blog, Social Media  //  25 Comments

Follow me on Twitter!

source: woofer_kyyiv @ flickr

“Sure, sure”, you’re saying to yourself.

This guy is clearly a nobody. He’s got no background, he’s not famous, and I think I have more followers than him on Twitter.

Why would he even dare to think that he’s better than I in social media?

Worthy reader, you’re going to read this post and think that I’m just bragging here.

But, you’re also going to leave with a set of action items that happens naturally for me and will become natural for you.

You see, I grew up with Facebook and Twitter. Quite literally. When Facebook first allowed anyone ages 13 and over to register, I had just turned 13.

And what has happened with people that grew up with social media is that we have developed the innate sense of sharing and the natural sense between great posts and TMI (too much information).

Here are three things that I do on a daily basis, things that connect with people, and things you should take away from this article.

#1. Be witty, inspirational or helpful, but only one.

With any tweet, I seek to 1) make people laugh, 2) motivate or 3) offer information. It’s the crux of getting any form of useful attention to yourself.

But, if you try to do all three at once, you’re going to lose yourself somewhere. People my age call this “trying too hard” or “too much information”.

When we see an inspirational quote, we’re launched into a brief spark of energy and deep thought.
When we see a witty tweet, we chuckle and admire the creativity of the tweet.
When we see a helpful link or tip, we have a small “a-ha!” moment.

Notice how we don’t have “a-ha!” moments when we laugh, nor do we feel motivated about life when we see a link to a blog post.

Pick one, and only one.

We send a different message with each tone, and mixing these tones will undermine whatever it is you want to say.

Furthermore, if you don’t have any of the three, your message will be lost. Lost, meaning nobody will care to look at it.

These are the Facebook statuses that get zero likes and zero comments, which is more disappointing to us millenials than you may think.

These are the messages that say “dinner and movie with the family~” or “this cereal tastes so good”. You don’t care about how good the cereal is. Now imagine how many other people don’t care.

The takeaway here: Each tweet (excluding replies) that you send should have ONE purpose: make people laugh, motivate or offer information.

#2. Avoid opinions that you have to defend.

Primarily, I’m referring to politics, the economy and religion.

When you post these opinions, the only people willing to respond are the people who care enough about one side or the other.

I mean, think about it. Mention the two words “Obama” and “good” and all of a sudden, you have divided the entire country into two halves, those who agree and those who don’t.

If you really want to express this sort of opinion, do it on a Twitter account that isn’t affiliated with your brand. That way, you avoid associating your brand with conflict and bias.

Millenials are particularly adept at this sort of indifference. When we post things on Facebook, we all have that hope that we score a certain number of likes. And sure, when we see someone blasting a politician, we might agree or disagree.

But in general, we are afraid of being parts of those disgusting, messy comment threads that others see and go “…ugh”.

And that’s a good sixth sense in the case of social media marketing.

The takeaway here: Avoid conflict. Your brand is a platform for you and your knowledge, not your opinion.

#3. Express all other thoughts you have.

It’s like the Three Laws of Robotics. Do anything you have/want to do, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the first two points.

That means that besides politics, the economy and religion, anything is fair game as long as it is witty, feel-good or helpful, but only one of those.

Do not hold back.

Growing up around social media, I have had plenty of experience that tells me that nobody will come to you asking for your thoughts. You have to put it out there on your own.

When you’re on Twitter and someone posts a cool picture, tell them it’s cool. An inspirational quote that you thought was great? Thank them for sharing.

The difference between social media interaction and in-person interaction is that social media lacks the element of nonverbal communication. You can’t see that a person is smiling, so you don’t know to ask them about their day.

Share, share, share.

This is the one way to differentiate your brand from other brands. This is the one way to show that behind a Twitter account is someone reading tweets and typing out replies.

And people love to see that someone.

The takeaway here: If you have a thought, you better share it. Few thoughts are stupid, and the stupid ones are often related to controversial opinion.

Using Facebook and Twitter for years has taught me how to capture attention (because it’s not given to you), how to avoid shooting yourself in the foot (because it can happen) and how to remind people that you’re still alive (because dead people don’t post on Twitter).

Be like a millenial and share more effectively.

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Pete Huang

I'm Pete Huang. I show small business owners how to use social media like its second nature. Let's be friends; hit me up at @SmallBiz_Online.

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  • abhishek says:

    its always good to understand the culture if you are targeting a country specific audience….one cannot afford to go wrong as it can ruin the reputation of the company. Also, the better approach is to provide relevant and insightful information to audience rather than just focusing on selling using the social media platforms…

  • hcg diet says:

    Love it. Thank you for posting that. I’ll check again to read more and tell my people about your site.

  • Sarah says:

    Great post! I have to consider these things in my own activities.

    Although I am young, I do not really get the idea of communicating in Facebook all the time. I have been there for 4 years now and I’m still very lazy to write or read anything.

    I dont just feel that interested to write my own thoughts for everyone and very rarely I am interested to read other people’s thoughts either.

    It feels too much work to market and communicate in Facebook regularly.

    • Pete Huang

      You know, it does depend on what you’re trying to use Facebook for. It’s been shown that LinkedIn is used more among B2B and Facebook among B2C businesses. If you feel that your audience isn’t on Facebook, then you would be absolutely justified in spending less effort on it.

      However, just saying random stuff doesn’t cut it. What I refer to is more of a consistent reaching out to your audience. It could be as simple as checking in and seeing how they’re doing. Your Facebook page (and I say Facebook because you mention it) is not just a storefront. People like to see it as just another person talking to them.

  • Interesting post. I’d also agree with abhishek and say that demographics are a huge issue for social media. Understand your audience!

  • Joe Hart says:

    Really adore the second point..Defending unproductive opinions is simply a waste of time…Since there is little face to face interaction in social media, the chances are that such attempts will lead to “online chaos”…

  • Tushar

    Helping others when they strongly need it helps to create strong relationship with people. Make every one your friends and socialize with them easily.

  • I find #1 very important. There are lot of articles on building and promoting a brand. What’s even more important is to develop the brand and be consistent. I would never follow a brand that is trying to be several things at the same time.

  • Thanks for sharing Great information we been started content marketing few months ago. We are already noticing the web popularity getting bit more traffic visitors as well.

  • Jamy Hoster

    Great information you have send here for the bloggers/social media lovers. I am very much convinced by your point where you have read about express all the thoughts you have that is something very useful for my reading do not know about others what they think about my thoughts.

  • Thanks for the tips. Especially number one. I know I usually don’t limit myself to one thing (I almost always try humor) and now I know why the results are the way they are. It explains a lot. Thanks again.

  • Thank you for posting that.Really adore the second point..Defending unproductive opinions is simply a waste of time……..

  • Ciaran says:

    All valid and interesting points to consider, especially #1 Thanks for posting.

  • John says:

    I agree with all your points except yout third point. Sometimes being too open can have a totally oppsite result…

  • Steve says:

    I found your second point interesting…I agree from a time point of view.

    However, I think in terms of your branding, being a person of strong opinions and being willing to defend them and take a stand seems like it would be attractive to visitors and the loyal readers.

  • Sara

    Ok, I admit I was sceptical but you’ve won me over. You might have changed the way I tweet but I can’t restrain myself from add my blog post links!

  • Yes there can be helpful tips and one can find many clients across these Social Media Platforms.

  • Ryan Key

    Great post, very whimsical on the social media topic.

  • markincense says:

    in social media these are great tips with them you have to be goofy with them sharing jokes and funny videos you will have them as your friend helping them is one of the great deals.

  • Some useful tips. I always find tweet difficult from our company twitter account. Will try this 1,2,3 approach.

  • Fabulous, what a blog it is! This blog provides useful data to us, keep it up.

  • Pretty great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to mention that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write once more very soon!

  • Wonderful points altogether, you simply gained a brand new reader. What could you suggest about your put up that you simply made a few days in the past? Any certain?

  • I have the wit, I just don’t have it on Twitter! Ill get used to it eventually!