Social Media, Networking, Choosing the Right Profile Picture, Online Presence
SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / 14 December 2016
12 Ways to Send the Right Message on Social Media
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Brittanei Cain

In a world where emojis, slang, and miscommunication lead our social media channels, we must ask ourselves if we are sending the right message. From your posts to your retweets, what are your channels saying about you?

For me, I hope my channels are saying that I am a fun creative southerner, who loves sports, lemonade (the drink and Beyoncé album) who also has a passion for writing. I reflect those attributes in all of my posts and the way I act in my everyday life. 

Sometimes, our purpose gets lost in translation and we need to make sure that we transform our presence and send out a strong message to our followers, whether it’s figuratively or literally. What do you want your followers to know?

Here are 12 ways to make sure you are sending the right message on social media: 

1. Post Relevant Content

Post content that relates to your target audience. Know them, love them, and post about their needs. Figure out what is important to them and how to address their questions. It's best to choose a specific area of expertise and regularly post on topics related to that subject. This way your audience can depend on you and look to you as an influencer in the industry. The world of social media is full of people who are struggling to be heard, so you need to be unique. 

2. Create Buzz

Make your posts happen with a bang! Lead up to your great post with commentary before and after. After putting so much work into an article, you definitely want people to know about it! Lead in with a subject and continue on from there. Get followers to share, like, retweet, or even comment on your posts will increase the public attention. Posting once is not enough, set up a schedule to repost articles on all social channels. 

3. Create Discussion

Discuss with your audience, ask them questions and get their opinion. No one wants a meaningless post, in order to clarify your stances, you should definitely create discussions. Engage with your audience and get input from the people involved. Starting a conversation on the topic is a great way to expand your knowledge and may give you great material to use for future posts.

4. Ask Audience to Read and Share

You can alway leave a link, compose a short message for your readers to simply copy and paste. Making the message easily readable and easily share-able is key to more exposure. Don't be afraid to write emails to your friends and followers directly with a few options for posting the link on social media for them to share. Simply just asking can have some great results!

5. Keep it Short and Sweet

Keeping things short and sweet is best! You don’t want to disengage your audience halfway through your tweets. Be direct and get straight to the point on your posts in a way that will get them to click on your link to read your article. The best call to actions are simple and attract your audience to want to learn more about the subject. 

6. Make sure that you re-read content before posting

Proofreading your content is very important. I’m not just talking about the grammatical mistakes, I’m talking about the ethical issues. If you have to ask yourself, "Will this offend someone?" it’s probably not the message you should be sharing. While it's great to start discussions online, it can hurt your following if you have too many controversial and inflammatory posts. Remember your purpose to is to inform, not insult.

7. Spell Check!

Nothing is worse than posting an awesome post with spelling and grammar mistakes! It’s the worst feeling ever. Especially on Twitter (no edit button). We live in a world with so many online tools to prevent this. There should be no excuse! Many times, your online presence is your first and last impression. You’re not there face to face to explain how you meant something to sound or that you made a mistake. Type and post wisely! Your credibility is on the line.

8. Watch Your Tone

Are you sending out professional messages or are you their friend that speaks ’the real’? Especially if you are looking for a job or trying to build your own brand, be wise about what you’re sharing, responding to and writing. It could come back to help or hurt you. Your tone should always be in harmony with the image you are trying to portray and the brand you want to have in the future.

9. Know Your Audience

Understand your audience’s views and opinions. Healthy discussion including debate is always ok. Be mindful of being too opinionated or hurting others. Knowing your audience means you know how they will react before you post. It's important to see if there are any red flags that could turn your followers off from your posts in the future. 

10. Honesty is Always the Best Policy

People want genuine content. Write about what you know! There’s no need to fake that you are someone that you’re not. If there’s something you don’t know, create a conversation around it. People like to see vulnerability. According to Bréne Brown, "Vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity".  Put aside your pride and don't be afraid to ask questions instead of pretending you know everything. You’ll be surprised at how much you learn and how much you and your audience can benefit.

11. Re-evaluate Your Profile Picture

Maybe the picture from the mud run last week isn’t the best message to send. Take a professional headshot or take a nice fun picture where everyone can see your face. Also, remember most of the time employers or others want to see YOU, not you and your friends. A professional looking profile image can go a long way. Want more info on taking the best profile picture? Check out our 5 tips from experts at SLRLounge here. If it’s more than just your profile picture that needs editing, check out this social media image size cheat sheet!

12. Stay Consistent

Always maintain the same voice. You want your reader to know who you are and what you stand for.

Sending the right message is extremely important to the development of your online presence. No one wants to follow someone on  social media that they don’t really "know." People want to feel like they have a genuine connection with you. Personally, my favorite followers are the ones that are my best friends in my head. I know that we have never met but they send me a positive message with their account. If you are inconsistent with what you post, no one will know who you truly are and it will make it hard for people to buy into your personal brand. In order to network with others, you need to be relatable. People want to like you but if you are constantly hiding behind another persona on the Internet, it’s hard to trust you. Get yourself together, stay consistent and watch your brand thrive!  

A great way to learn about even more ways to use social media to your advantage, check out ProSky’s online training courses for social media marketing and search engine optimization.