The whole point of using social media for your business is to bring your brand to life. This involves getting your name out there but also being personable and becoming someone that social media users can identify with, and feel comfortable about engaging with.

While this may sound obvious for some people who are used to using Facebook and other social media platforms, many small business owners have been so busy dealing with the day to day tasks of setting up and running their business, social media can be somewhat of an afterthought.

It can be difficult for many small businesses to create an engaging social media presence due to lack of spare time or not having available staff to undertake doing this work for the company. Quite often it can be the lack of skills about creating engaging content, or struggling to cram enough information into a 140 character tweet limit – and still making it sound enticing.

Mastering the art of being charming

Of course, there is more to creating an effective social presence than just being, well, present. There is a skill to balancing a more analytical side of your social media engagement along with maintaining your highly polished image.

We all know the internet and social media are 24/7 platforms, however we don’t have to be present for every single waking moment of it. We all have to sleep sometime! When you are tired and a little bit anxious about what you could possibly tweet or post about, creating fresh posts can become quite tedious and very hard work.

I can guarantee that if you sit for hours pulling out your hair while bent over your keyboard in utter frustration, your posts will reflect this and you will be coming across as anything but charming. Your audience will quickly switch off and your business is likely to suffer as a result.

To help keep your charm – as well as your sanity, try to use scheduling tools to your advantage. You can schedule tweets and posts to be released around the clock to keep up your presence and schedule fresh posts and re-posts for busy periods when you have to focus on other tasks at work.

Suggested apps and tools

Sprout Social and CoSchedule can be very useful tools to help you create customised posts for your followers and both sites are very easy to use – even for the beginner!

Share with an actual voice

speechCurated content is a fantastic way of keeping up you customer engagement. When you curate posts to share that you know your audience will like and be interested in reading, you can save yourself a lot of valuable time because each curated post is one less post you have to think up and write out yourself.

The one mistake a lot of people make when using curated content is that they often just re tweet or re-blog without actually saying anything. Being personal and adding a unique viewpoint or giving a reason why your followers should want to read this is your key to encouraging more user engagement.

Try not to just share or re-tweet anything of interest without at least a few words to say why it is interesting. Nothing shouts ‘spam’ more than random posts on a timeline without any added comments from the sharer. Try to add a few enticing words or your opinion about the piece to encourage clicks. You could quote a line from the piece and ask for thoughts, or make a statement and ask a question that hasn’t been answered in the piece. This will create curiosity and engagement from your followers and can lead to a whole conversation starting that you can simply keep going with more questions and responses.

Add a little psychology

The human brain is designed to respond to compelling language and captivating words, so using words that spark curiosity can often lead to readers clicking through your links to discover more. Add in words like ‘amazing’, ‘free’ or ‘shocking’ and monitor your analytical data to see which posts using these words compel your readers to click and engage with you. From this you can build a list of adjectives or verbs that really encourage engagement and you can include them other posts to generate more interest.

After a while you may begin to see a common thread running through your most successful posts. This could be the type or wording you use, the tone of your posts, the content you use, pictures versus text etc. You can also check your Google Analytics to see what hasn’t worked for you. It may be something as simple as the time of day you are posting rather than the content. Work out what is working and what isn’t and do more of the stuff that is working for you.

Don’t ignore your comments

Comments are great! We all love receiving comments, so it is nice to acknowledge the effort that someone took to write you one. However, don’t expect all comments to be flattering or full of praise. Dealing with the negative comments is just as important as thanking people for posting nice ones. By addressing negative comments in a polite and timely manner you can inspire that negative poster to change their minds about you and become one of your best supporters.

Every form of social media matters and the worst thing in the world you can do is to ignore the negative ones. By responding and solving an issue you are demonstrating that there is an actual person behind the profile, and you will be showcasing your ability to problem solve too!

There is no better way to build your brand than through active engagement on social media. Just remember to inject some humanity into your posts and use beneficial tools to help post at times when you cannot be present to keep your brand alive.