Just Be You -- Authentic engagement thrives on social media. It is an online conversation, not a broadcast. So, if you wouldn't rattle off "marketing speak" in a face-to-face conversation with a friend, then don't tweet it. By being yourself you will establish a genuine, authentic and a personal voice that will get people interested and help to humanize your brand. Xerox's CMO Christa Carone (@ChristaCarone), reminds us that "the only legitimate social media voice is the same one you would use in a room full of peers." Twitter echoes that with the advice to, "Tweet like you're having a conversation with a good friend."
Think Quality and Engagement, Not Quantity -- Don't get caught up in obsessing about the number of followers you have or the number of times you tweet each day. Instead, obsess about quality engagement, and your following will follow. Focus on connecting people. In a knowledge sharing economy, connections bolster influence. Connect people and the dots will follow. Engage your followers by creating quality content that is interesting, conversational and valuable.
Influence on the social Web is earned by adding value into others' networks and streams. As an avid Twitter user, I constantly share and engage with my network on everything from inspirational words of wisdom, to relevant industry posts and interesting articles, to recruiting amazing talent and everything in between (that includes my vacation pictures).
Listen and Respond -- Worry less about being heard and more about listening, or as SAP's CMO Jonathan Becher puts it, "Be social to listen, not to talk." It may be hard to quantify your listening skills in the real world, but the online world has proven to be quite the contrary. Every comment you respond to, retweet you send or question you answer is a structured form of practice for one of the most important skills a person can have online and off: listening.
Using social media has become a natural part of my day. Like breathing, it just happens. It's not something I "do" but something I live.
Here is an acronym to help you remember the art of tweeting: Don't do social, be S.O.C.I.A.L.: Sincere, Open, Collaborative, Interested, Authentic and Likeable. Be human and have fun.