The Expert Guide To Getting Noticed On Social Media

SUHEL SETH breaks down the exact science of using your smartphone to build a presence...

"I've always believed social media has three components. The first is the sending and receiving of messages (and the personal or professional aspect to it is based on the medium you choose—LinkedIn obviously has a professional connotation, while Facebook has a more personal one). The second is its ability to be unforgiving—never forget that it's a double-edged sword. And the third is that it gives you both the power of retraction, and the power of truth. So how do you use these tenets of social media to build a presence? People usually take two kinds of stances on social media. The first is intrinsically personal—the kind of flowers you like, a beautiful brunch table—that'll get you no followers. I call that the 'sappy' stance. The other stance involves taking a stand on something—a vociferous stand, one that is principled and severe. At the same time, your stand needs to fly against populism. Some people believe social media is about being good to everyone. If you want to do that, join a charity. If you want your voice to be heard, to be distinct, then be on social media.

There are a few, key things to always remember, though. Often, we get so traumatised by the lack of followers, or by trolls, that we tend to slow down our activity, or withdraw altogether. You have to be regular. You can't Tweet or post about something once, and lie back. There's got to be a lot more coming from you. For instance, people on social media love the buttressing of statements with facts. They love supporting statements, and the ability for people to quote things in order to justify their message. It, therefore, makes it important to be articulate—particularly on Twitter, because it's a game of 140 characters. A cardinal rule I believe everyone should imbibe is to just never say anything that could be construed as foolish—silence is better than being hounded for saying something moronic.

I've also noticed that anecdotal posts tend to have more impact—and also have a higher likelihood of going viral. Another important thing is to post or Tweet with your lowest common denominator in mind. Very often, we use social media to brag, or to establish our intellect. But if all of that is just a facade, it will unravel unfavourably.

So, I'd say always pull back and craft a persona for yourself. If you need to put it down on paper, do it. Write down three sentences that define you, or that you want to be your birthmark, or your identity ticket. And then, work backwards to see what it is you should be saying.

I'll end by saying that you should always remember that social media will never stop being intrusive (and extremely so), it'll never stop being unforgiving, and, on certain days, it'll be incredibly flattering. Use it well—just don't let it warp your idea of reality."