How to Succeed (and Not Drown) in the Sea of Social Media

The number of social media users today is estimated at more than 4 billion. With half the world swimming daily in the oceans of Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, WhatsApp, TikTok, etc., how can you fight to stay afloat? More so, how can a small business succeed among hundreds of thousands of brands fighting for attention among social media users?

For a small business owner, these five tips will help you stand out on social media.

1. Get personal.

Social media networks are mass platforms, but you can use them to build individual relationships. There’s a reason why it’s called “social media” – we use it to build and strengthen relationships. Treat each user as a unique human being, not just an additional number. Each comment is important and not just for the metrics.

Not everyone understands how to get personal with their communities, but if it’s something you can commit to, then that’s a real advantage. You can even send direct messages when appropriate (People can get tired of bots’ automated replies, you know).

When you get personal with social media users, they will trust you more and you can connect with them more easily. For sure, building personal relationships might bring results over time but, hey, trusted brands weren’t built overnight.

2. Help — really help.

Everybody will say they want to help, but how many are sincere about it? How many pay lip service just for engagements? If your help is from the heart, then you always seek to provide value to your audience.

Don’t post anything just for the reactions and likes. Share stuff with value, something to help solve people’s problems and improve their lives. Post helpful content for everyone, whether they buy or not.

Make it your goal to earn trust and not just gain followers. Always help, but always be sincere. Go for authenticity and credibility, and profitability will not be far behind.

3. Make a habit of listening.

Ever spoken with someone who’s always ready with an answer, even before you finish your sentences? Never forget that communication is a two-way street. Your audience is out there not just to dump stuff on. Learn to listen to them. You might be surprised about what they have to say. You might just find that what you think they think and what they really think do not line up.

Pay attention to your community. What are they talking about? What are they posting? How are they commenting? Find out how they really feel and what they really need. Go the extra mile to discover their interests, who they follow (that’s who they trust!), and what catches their attention.

4. Ask questions.

You don’t know everything, and the sooner you admit it, the better. Successful people didn’t succeed by knowing everything, but by asking questions when they didn’t know the answer.

Be honest when you need help. Seek answers from those who know better. If you’ve never really understood how social media works, there are people who do. If you’ve never really written good content, there are writers out there who are more than willing to help. (Ever heard of Copy Ninjas? They know their craft and they’re just a click away if you want to find out more here.) Of course, the best people to ask are the experts. But never forget that every person around you is a teacher. We can always learn something from everyone.

Keep yourself updated. Invest in learning. Join webinars. Attend training courses. Turn to the experts (like Copy Ninjas).

5. Be bold.

It’s a given that we try to find the best practices and we copy what’s already proven. Much of the time it works well.

However, people who tried new things were also the first ones to succeed. Sure, follow established principles about how to stand out in social media, but also build upon them. Don’t get fenced in by the “rules”. If you’re really set on succeeding, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Be bold and take a leap of faith when needed. Be brave enough to take calculated risks.

There are nine hundred and ninety-nine other things you can do to capitalize on your social media presence, but just these five things will keep your plate full for quite a while. Try them, then drop a message about how they worked out for you.