Whether you are in marketing, employee communications or managing your personal brand, social media can fuel your strategy. But COVID-19 has made a significant impact on social media as it increasingly became a tool for connection when most people began working remotely. Volume, behavior, engagement and even “best times to post” have changed as individuals and companies juggle home and family needs. So how can we more effectively engage our audience when there is so much competition and content overload through social media? I took Guy Kawasaki’s How to Rock Social Media class to find out how communicators can set a strong foundation in general, create content people will love and propel engagement.

Guy is an entrepreneur and social media expert, as well as the chief evangelist of Canva. He’s got 1.4 million Twitter followers and more than a quarter million likes on Facebook. I also happen to love Canva, it’s one of my favorite tools for visual content. This quick 50-minute class on LinkedIn Learning is designed for social media power users. I am not a power user, but I did want to up-level my skills. Here are the power tips I learned.

Perfect Your Profile

Like your avatar, the purpose of your profile is to continue the story of how you are likable, competent and trustworthy. The cover image behind the avatar should tell a story of who you are and what you’re passionate about. Develop a two to four-word mantra that describes what you stand for. For example, Guy’s mantra is “empower people.” You can also take your well-polished LinkedIn profile and adapt it to the other social media channels. You have only two to three seconds to tell your story, so make it stand out.

Perfect Your Posts

Along with ensuring you have the right size image for your post, you can add value by providing information, analysis, assistance or entertainment. Also think about passing the reshare test – once your followers get it, they reshare it to their followers.  Learn to post such great content that your followers are willing to risk their reputation to reshare. Finally, embrace the NPR model. Since NPR posts great content 365 days a year, many of their followers feel compelled to give back. They do that through NPR’s pledge drives. It’s the same concept with resharing.

Feed the Content Monster

How do you consistently find great content to share? You can piggyback on others. Websites like Alltop (created by Guy) and Feedly aggregate RSS feeds. Post what’s hot, even if it has been seen or shared by many already. Be bold, take a stand and show people what you’re interested in like women’s rights (rules are different for brands).

Optimizing Engagement with Fans and Followers

When you share great content, you’ll get engagement! Search for mentions of your name, company or product with tools like TweetDeck. Find out what people are saying, swoop in and provide assistance. And, remember, always be positive or be silent. You want to keep great conversations going. But with any that turn negative, you can embrace the amateur boxing rule to keep any negativity from dragging on.

  • Round 1 – You make a post, someone posts a comment
  • Round 2 – You respond
  • Round 3 – The person responds to your response

Avoid Looking Clueless

Guy emphasized the need to manage your own social media – it leads to better engagement, greater feedback and stronger relationships. Try to avoid passing this off to an agency or interns. You can use your amazing interns to learn from, but you should be controlling social media by setting the tone, strategy and best practices. He also listed several things to avoid:

  • Never buy likes, followers or plus ones.
  • Never ask for followers or reshares. You post good stuff, you get more followers and reshares.
  • Never overpromote your products and services, even as marketers. The ratio is 1:20, 20 pieces of value-added content to every promotional post.
  • Never call yourself an expert or a guru.

Power Tips for Each Platform…. 

Facebook – Facebook decides what you see, so remember that not everyone will see your posts. The more people interact, share and comment, the more people will see them. Just because you have a lot of followers, doesn’t mean they will see all of your posts.

  1. Use video – upload videos directly to Facebook– you’ll get many more views than if you embed from YouTube, for example. Embedded videos also have a smaller thumbnail. Native videos are served up much bigger and automatically play. Remember, Facebook competes with Google and Google owns YouTube.
  2. Allow Facebook to curate images – when curating content, include a couple of sentences and add a link so Facebook can pull in the image it wants (changeable) instead of uploading your own. This enables many more views.
  3. Use Facebook Insights – lots of great analytics available.
  4. Interact with other pages – your brand page should interact with other brand pages. This can help your page become more powerful and popular.

Twitter

  1. Use search capabilities – topics and people you are interested in.
  2. Repeat your tweets to increase your interactions to increase engagement. Retweet three times, eight hours apart. Don’t worry, this isn’t spamming. It captures different people in different time zones.
  3. Add up to four pictures per tweet and identify people in the images – these won’t count toward your character count.

LinkedIn

  1. Integrate Slideshare – this can lead to many more people discovering you.
  2. Customize your connection request – spend 30 seconds to write a customized message instead of using the default message.
  3. Position yourself for your expertise or as a thought leader.
  4. Participate in groups – it’s a great way to meet people and establish yourself.

Instagram – This platform is about sharing slices of your life and what you’re passionate about.

  1. Use five to ten-word captions only. It’s all about the picture, not the caption and text.
  2. Use plenty of hashtags – the more, the better!
  3. Piggyback on popular pictures.
  4. Instagram app – move your favorite filters to the left for easier access.

Integrations of Social Media and Blogging

  1. Combine social media and blogging. Blogging + social media = amplification. Blog has the content, social media drives people to it.
  2. Write multiple tweets pointing people to your blog or post.
  3. Reduce speed bumps to sharing. Add all the share buttons at the bottom of blog posts.
  4. Add Click to Tweet to your blog post. When people click on it, Twitter opens and has a pre-done tweet that makes it easy for people to share parts of the post.
  5. Use LinkedIn. Create a post between 500 to 1,000 words. Post on your blog and then post on LinkedIn. Two different audiences means much more exposure.
  6. Don’t forget email. An email address is far more valuable than followers!
  7. Write guest posts to reach a new audience.
  8. Take your best blog posts and create a Slideshare to extend your reach.

Want to learn more social media best practices? Check out these resources:

Organic Reach is in Decline—Here’s What You Can Do About It

Best Practices for your Internal Communication Strategy

How to Create a B2B Social Media Strategy (Without Being Boring)

Rosaline Raj is director of communications for the San Francisco chapter of IABC and the Senior Campaign Marketing Manager, Employee Workflow at ServiceNow.