The secret ingredient to social media success

By | December 28, 2010


I just finished another article about an entrepreneur who has built a flourishing business on Twitter. This individual started tweeting before her website was even working, and she has been been amazingly successful. She gushes about how great social media has been.

Sounds too good to be true? I can verify her success. I have watched her business explode on Twitter. What surprises me about the article is that the author reinforces the idea that social marketing is the answer to all marketing problems. There is no explanation of her success, and one is left to think that showing up on Twitter will lead to the same results.

The reality for many has been different

For every article about social media success, I have met a half dozen people who moan about their lack of success using Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media channel. So who is right, and who is wrong? Why are some so successful while others get no response? The good news is that I figured out the secret.

The secret to social media success

It really is as easy as the successful folks claim. If you are charming, witty, and get energized by connecting with others, you are almostset. If you can write in a way that allows all that positive energy to shine through, you now have the winning formula. The secret ingredient in social media is in being social. The flourishing entrepreneur showcased in the article has an online presence that is adorable, and her creative writing makes you smile. Her business (selling cupcakes) is all about fun and happiness – a perfect fit. She doesn’t have a clue about what has made her social media presence successful – she herself is precisely the reason she is successful. She is extremely social and is just doing what is natural for her.

So where does that leave the rest of us?

Not everyone has a bubbly personality. I can tell you that if I write something that sounds witty it is because I have spent time thinking and editing. Even though I tweet, I don’t market my business through Twitter. I don’t have the energy or the wit to make it work. Yet all is not lost if you feel the same. You just have to approach social media a bit more thoughtfully and remember that social media has value even if you don’t actively participate.

Three things to keep in mind in developing social media strategy

When consulting with clients I recommend three things: Be realistic, experiment, and allow your personality to shine through.

  1. Be realistic: Don’t attempt to do more than you can. It is simply unrealistic and will be your quickest road to failure and discouragement. You’ll end up doing more harm by advertising your Twitter handle when you tweeted three times and you’ve said nothing of value. Remember, social media means being social.
  2. Experiment: Experimenting with what you are doing is critical. There is no one right way. If you don’t try different things and approaches, you will never know what works. Also, don’t neglect what is working because you “think” you should be in the hot social media platforms. Email marketing is social media and has far greater value as it is a private channel (no one can see your email database or connect with them).
  3. Lastly, write with personality. Make a conscious effort to sound conversational. When I counsel people on email marketing, I tell them to write as if they are sending an email to a friend. Make sure you write in a way that allows your personality to come through. If it doesn’t sound natural, keep editing it until it does.

So if I’ve helped you figure out the social media puzzle, be sure to share it with others when you and your business are featured in a business article. I am tired of reading the same story over and over again.


What do you think? What has worked for you on social media?


Jeffery James
Jeffery James
Jeffery is the Creative Director and Principal of Spire2. He brings marketing expertise from a variety of industries. He excels at understanding clients' corporate objectives, translating them into brand positioning and executing marketing materials that exceed expectations.