Being heard on social media

It can sometimes feel like you are screaming into a vacuum when you post something on a social network. It doesn’t have to be that way though. Here are some simple things you can do to make your voice be heard.

Let's tackle the word social. I have seen so many cases where an individual tries to use a social network as a broadcast medium. It rarely works and the reason is they have forgotten rule number one. You need to be social.

That means following and actively engaging with people (and brands) and interacting with them on a regular basis. It could be commenting on someone else’s post, re-sharing a post you like or simply taking the time to +1 or Like a post.

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When you post your own content, you need to do more than simply post a link and hope the rest of the world will click on it. That simply does not work, unless you are an international celebrity or brand. Us mere mortals need to work harder.

If you are sharing a link to an article you have read (for example), take the opportunity to add a little commentary of your own. It may simply be an introduction to the article, or you may wish to expand upon it and give your own opinion. Asking others to share their opinions also helps.

Leaving the social aspects to one side, you can use the technical side of social networks to your advantage. If a network supports hashtags (Twitter and Google+) use them. If you search for a particular hashtag within a social network, any post that uses that same hashtag will appear in your stream. That means you can reach many more people than are actually following you. It is also a very good way to get people to follow and interact with a particular subject. Imagine a publication using a hashtag for a sports team, or for a particular local interest story. #CrawleyFC and #NorthHorsham might be used and would probably get a lot of interest.

Hashtags are great, because anyone searching them has already established their interest in the topic. Similarly Google+ collections can be used this way as well. A publication might create public collections for Local News, Politics, Sport and so on. As each collection is a web page itself, you can share links to it and it will appear in Search. How is that for increasing your visibility?