People still ask me for tips and advice related to social media. I still love to have this conversation, although the method behind social media madness has changed over time, my advice, from years as a public relations professional and as a social media consultant managing brands for over 100 clients is generally the same.

2019 Trend Update: I founded Z Group PR as a freelance consultancy after years working with communications teams and public relations agencies and have offered my advice in many media interviews and articles. Below are some of my favorite pieces of advice, along with articles that will help you get and stay on track with social media marketing and engagement.

I have been telling anyone who will listen that a 360° engagement approach is the best for professionals, organizations, and companies.

Influencing

I think it is great to give people recognition of their efforts and abilities to lead teams and to influence industries, ideas, and followers. My best advice to becoming an influencer is to stop trying to be named as such. Most people who do develop the type of following that would garner the phrase are more interested in changing an industry, disrupting an idea or leading a cause. Once you know your goals and reason or why, focusing on that by delivering interesting, driving content, and speaking passionately about your topic on social media, at events, and in other digital content will increase your chance of being seen as an influence. Being that the nexus of next and chance creates influencers. And for that, there is rarely a road map. Most every influencer is striving to be something else — a leader, a coach, a champion, a change agent. The big work that you are doing is what drives the steps and choices that create influencers along the way.

Top Tips To Become An Influencer:

Avoid a Disaster

PR practitioners talk a lot about crisis communication and planning. I mean like daily conversations with peers, staff, and C-suite executives. It’s like the four daily food groups, but for communications professionals. It is in the toolkit. It’s part of the foundation. It is in every new business proposal and every agency review. Crisis Communication is what we do. It’s our Super Bowl and our World Cup. When there is a crisis, we know we have trained all day, every day, for the event. We live and breathe crisis communication. Yet, I am beginning to think that no one is listening, as I watch, day after day, as social media is blown up by the seemingly endless number of corporate blunders.

Learn Crisis Management in a Digital World:

In 2019 it’s becoming impossible to be a machine and to feed the dreaded 24/7 Content Beast (whether it’s social posting or full blogging) but that’s what companies are finding out that they need. I think in the race to get followers, people tend to forget that a smaller, more consistent community, with lots of engagement, might be more beneficial. My number one tip for everyone is to get super organized, curate like crazy, and build a strong content strategy. To move the needle you are going to have to Organize Themes and Use Boosts! Use a media calendar to organize daily or weekly themes to concentrate on topics. Also, know that the differences between organic and paid reach will make a difference. Many posts will need to be boosted as increasing engagement is harder these days.

LinkedIn

Recently, I was featured in a Forbes article called 10 LinkedIn Tips (You’ve Probably Never Heard Of) From 10 Different Experts where I shared my advice on using LinkedIn professionally. While we are inundated with social options, we need to remember to treat LinkedIn differently than Facebook! This may seem obvious, but it has to be said:

“LinkedIn users need to be keenly aware of the difference between Facebook and LinkedIn. Treating them the same may give your peers and professional contacts pause. Personal rants, family photos, and the like are rarely embraced on LinkedIn.”

Twitter

When it comes to Twitter, we have to remember that Twitter Marketing Isn’t Dead, You’re Just Doing it Wrong. So where do brands go from here with Twitter Marketing? Most companies use Twitter to share links and cram hashtags into Tweets, missing out on the true value of actual conversations, whether with the people using those relevant hashtags, following the brand or commenting on relevant topics. Companies go wrong when they act like corporate entities on Twitter and not as humans. Furthermore, organizations make the mistake of thinking all social media platforms are the same and then create content based on that misunderstanding. What works for Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn does not work for Twitter and it is not about the character count.

You can learn more by researching these 48 PR Pros You Should Follow On Twitter and reading my Best Social Media Tips for Businesses.

Photos

Posting photos is a simple matter in the digital era: In a couple of seconds, with a few swipes, clicks and taps, you can find and publish just about any image you’d like. But, experts say, that doesn’t mean you should pull the trigger on content that quickly. Just like any other marketing medium, social media requires planning, strategy, and someone with experience making the final decisions.” The common thinking is that young people use tech and they’re really good at it, so we’ll put them in charge. However, they don’t have the professional experience and years of wisdom that a more mature marketing person has. Remember that your overall strategy has to be filtered through a level of experience. Companies should be very wary of “skimming the internet” for photos of dubious origin, and instead, make the small investment into a legitimate photo service. And, of course, taking a few extra minutes to fact-check and proof before posting these photos would have helped both brands avoid public embarrassment.