Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sharing 50 Social Media Secrets

Everyone who spends time in social media has one or two favorite platforms. Some may prefer using Twitter, some may prefer using Facebook, and some may prefer an obscure site or one that fits a particular industry. But many of us who use social media as a marketing tool to build our employer's brand and/or our personal brands have developed a secret or two along the way.

I have met a variety of amazing people as a result of my activity in social media and invited them to share their social media secrets here on my blog. Check out and apply the following secrets – and follow the Twitter accounts too:

Eric Jacobson (@EricJacobsonKC)
I like to congratulate LinkedIn members on their promotions and job anniversaries by responding to the LinkedIn prompts to do so.  It's an easy, subtle, and fast way to stay top of mind with customers and prospects.

Amanda Brazel (@amandabrazel)
My secret tip for 2014 is to get on Instagram and FAST. Right now, Instagram is the fastest growing network worldwide and is going to get bigger and bigger. Get comfortable with how to use the platform before you start using it to market your business. Make sure you write a dynamite bio and include your website. Follow other top people in your niche and know how to use has tags appropriately.  Post 3-4 photos throughout the day.  Learn fast and grow faster. Here's my page: www.Instagram.com/AmandaBrazel.

David Jacques (@DavidJacques)
On Twitter, I look to share interesting customer experience-related content that people might not have come across otherwise through the usual #cem, #custexp, #cxo and #custserv circles and sources. One app I use almost daily through which I find these nuggets is Zite.

Nancy O'Neill (@onedotnancy)
You don't have to be on social media sites every day, all day long in order to take advantage of its power. Think of it like a party. You show up, have meaningful conversations with people, share information, but recognize when it's time to leave. That way you also have time to get your job done which is why you're using social media sites in the first place.

Marilyn Suttle (@marilynsuttle)
Be conversational. Before you post a tweet or message on any social media platform, ask yourself, “If I said this in a face-to-face conversation, would it sound like me, or would it come across odd?" If you wouldn’t say it face-to-face, don’t post it.

Gina Schreck (@ginaschreck)

My not-so-secret secret weapon is Picmonkey. We all know that GREAT photos are key on almost every social media site. On our blog, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook Page, Google Plus page and now, even on Twitter, we want to share more fabulous photos. PicMonkey allows you to edit, add great filters, overlay text, or your logo to protect your photos and so much more. Our entire team uses it multiple times per day. There is a free version that allows you to use all of the basic features, or a premium version that adds more font choices and a few more features. Check it out for yourself...you'll be hooked in no time!

Neen James (@neenjames)
Here are some of my fave tips: 1) Use Hootsuite for everything (I use it a lot because I have tweets drop while I am keynoting and the audiences love it); 2) Use Anti Social (it is a blocking app) for all the social media sites when you are trying to get work done; 3) If you're working on a big project only allow yourself to check FB/Twitter/Pinterest on your iPad if you want to get something completed - consider checking in as a treat -  that way you consciously have to change tools; 4) Only engage in social media for 15 minutes at a time; and 5) Put yourself on a Facebook diet if you're spending/wasting too much time.

Deb Scott (@GreenSkyDeb)
I believe being honest and having integrity are more important than anything else. It does concern me how many people get caught up on how many followers people have on Twitter - when half of them buy their followers! While social media seems different than being in person, the same rules apply. Tell the truth, be good at what you do, and help others.

Cyndy Trivella (@CyndyTrivella)

My best tip is to always remember that social is an experience. So as we interact with people by forming connections and making acquaintances, we need to be mindful of our words and to use the same manners and sense of being polite that we would normally exhibit upon meeting people for the first time.

Shaun Dakin (@ShaunDakin)
You must live Facebook 24/7. One of my clients had the most popular post on all of Facebook during New Year's Day for Political groups.  Why?  We were monitoring their page AND Facebook to see what was resonating with their audience. And get CrowdTangle; it's a must-have app/tool to discover what content is working on Facebook RIGHT NOW across entire categories that you care about. Without CrowdTangle you are flying blind without any insights into what is working on Facebook and why.

Kathi Kruse (@kathikruse)
My one fave social media secret is Hootsuite Geo Search. You can easily locate tweets/conversations around a particular keyword or phrase that are happening in your local area, and it's free! When someone tweets about something you can help them with, you respond "socially" (not spammy) and provide help, even ask questions. Keep them engaged and the lead will just happen naturally!

Jeannie Walters (@jeanniecw)

My best social media secret is about sharing who you really are as a brand, as a person, or as a company. People respond to transparency and authenticity, so the best way to create meaningful relationships is by being yourself.

Dawn Swick (@dswick)
My favorite social media tool is passion. Social media is a completely different marketing tool and you're able to reach people and interact with them in real time. Don't abuse that by trying to immediately get into their wallet. Be their friend, because friends always love doing business with friends.

Kim Yuhl (@KimYuhl)
I try to initiate a conversation with 3 new people every day. Read their stuff and comment on something you like, respond to a question they pose, or just ask how someone's day is. Not everyone will respond, but it's a great tool at growing your relationship circle.

David Shedd (@DavidMShedd)
My key social media secret is LinkedIn. You can use it to learn about your other employees and most importantly, your current and future customers. This gives you a way to more quickly establish a rapport with them and figure out your sales approach (e.g. if your buyer customer has a technical background you would approach them quite differently than if they have a sales background).

Ken Peters (@brand_BIG)
Viewing social networks as venues for frivolous chit chat is naïve. Social media is a business intelligence and customer relations tool that can save you time, make you money and provide a competitive edge. There's nothing frivolous about that.

Melissa Michel (@melissapmichel)
Including graphics in your social media campaign is key! It's proven that posts with pictures increase the amount of likes, comments, and shares. A graphic designer I am not; however, two of my favorite easy-to-use applications are Canva (www.canva.com), and an App called InstaWord. Check these out and you’ll be creating professional-looking graphics in no time!

Lyn Boyer (@Lyn_Boyer)
My most important social media strategy is to develop and stick to a schedule so that I don't get lost in the interesting but irrelevant information coming at me all the time. Some tools I use are the digital dashboard I developed, Hootsuite, RSS feeds, news alerts on specific topics and Last Pass (to generate and keep passwords).

Jim Joseph (@JimJosephExp)
Keep your tabs open all day. There's nothing worse than someone who is in for a few then out for a lot. To keep your game on in social media, you have to stay connected especially to those who are engaging with you. So I keep my social media accounts on separate tabs all day long so I can easily and quickly ping back and forth. It keeps the engagement alive!

Alli Polin (@AlliPolin)
My biggest social media secret is to share original thoughts. It's important to RT and share but also show the world who you are and what you believe.

Elaine Fogel (@elaine_fogel)
I would say that the one indispensable social media tool I use is HootSuite. I have all my accounts in one window, including Facebook and LinkedIn groups. I can post and select which groups and sites to include, postdate my posts, and follow people easily. It's not quite a secret, but it is surely valuable.

Mark Wing (@markwing)
A new App I've started to use is called Strava. Using GPS, it records my personal cycling achievements. However it also allows me to do this socially, in the company of my cycling buddies, and it's an incredible example of how technology is encouraging me to exercise more regularly.

Keri Jaehnig (@kerijaehnig)
Especially in 2014, savvy social media marketers will concentrate on what is actually social: commenting and responding. Simply syndicating content will not be enough. The two-way dialogue will win (as it should)! So, preparing and curating good content in efficient ways will be even more important. I use Trello in an untraditional way to stay organized. Instead of the suggested ways to organize lists and to-do lists, I organize my content calendars to also include both messaging and images. This allows me to get a big picture view, but still change things quickly if needed, based on current trends.

Robert Caruso (@fondalo)
Content marketing, creation, and curation will become an even more frequent and required activity to be effective in social media marketing. The most effective, efficient and profitable way to do that is with my secret tool, BundlePost.

Jessica Kupferman (@JessKupferman)
My secret is ManageFlitter; I use almost every function it has, and it's helped me grow tremendously.

JoAnne Hines (@packagingdiva)
What makes me #1 in social media for packaging? Consistency and longevity. I didn't get there overnight. It took a lot of work, positive engagement, and interaction with other peeps to build a following. No matter how discouraged I got initially with social media, persistence paid off.

Dorie Clark (@dorieclark)
Instead of writing a blog and tweeting it once, use up to 5 different "pull quotes" from the piece and then tweet them out with the link. That way, there's more life in your post and opportunities for others to discover it, but you're not spamming people by tweeting the exact same thing 100 times.

Gretchen Pritts (@gretchenpritts)
By giving your audience what they want INSTEAD of what you want to give, you are being of service. It changes the feel of your social media platforms from salesy and pushy to culture and community! We can change the world with this philosophy!

Jennifer Gilreath Hanford (@JennGHanford)
My go-to app for content curation is Scoop.it. It's a great tool for engaging and has a ton of sharing options. It also integrates with Buffer (which I also adore) so I can schedule the posts for Twitter as well.

Aaron Biebert (@biebert)
Get visual. I like to include a picture or video if possible with every Facebook update, blog post, etc. If you're running short on time, Instagram allows you to post simultaneously to Twitter and Facebook.

Evan Carmichael (@evancarmichael)
Follow your passion. That's all that matters. Believe in yourself more than in the LittleMan who doubts you.

Allan Pratt (@Tips4Tech)

Social media secrets for creating and sharing content are useful, but if you don't keep your devices secure, you never know if or when you may be hacked. Therefore, add a security app to your smartphone, preferably Lookout. If your device is lost or stolen, you can wipe your data remotely. And if you are logged in to all your favorite social sites and don't have a password to access the device, someone may start posting on your accounts with inappropriate content.

Randy Bowden (@bowden2bowden)
Companies who are currently celebrating the most success in social media focus on engagement, building relationships, and sharing value through their social outreach. Customers and prospects will seek out those companies who are offering value, entertainment, discounts, help, and engagement. The old saying that "People love to buy but they hate to be sold" is even truer in today's social space.

Anton Rius (@Anton_Rius)
The real value in social media is in the relationships you can form there. My biggest piece of advice is to take the time to reply to every single comment, retweet, mention, and message you get. Start small, 5-10 minute conversations with people at every opportunity. It may seem overly simple, but it works!

Anne Reuss (@AnneReuss)
I can't get my blog nutrition without Feedly or Pocket. It's no secret these apps have a stunning user interface and make it easy to save content you want to read later or subscribe to your favorite ones. But if I find a blog I really want to comment on to engage with the community or author, or even refer to for my own blog, I will put the link in my email and use Gmail's Boomerang to send it to myself later at a time I know I will be able to write a quality response on busy days. With a command in the subject line "read this and comment!" (Usually night time). Love it.

Sarah Arrow (@SarahArrow)
I use Curation Soft for curating posts. It takes about 10 minutes to write something and write something good. This is the perfect tool for curating a heap of content from Google News, videos, or feeds that you add yourself. If you add this tool to your content marketing strategy, you'll save around 3 hours a week.

Sean Smith (@SeanSmithCR)
In 2014, the app to watch is going to be Jelly. Like Twitter, people are still trying to figure where it fits.

Rebecca Herold (@PrivacyProf)
It's not a secret, but everyone should know (most still don't) that "anything" posted to a social media site may be view-able by virtually the world. No one should post to a social media site, even to a so-called private or protected area, if they wouldn't want the entire world to see it.

Ian Buckingham (@IanPBuckingham)

I find it a little disingenuous to use Facebook to promote business as it's ostensibly not a business forum in my view. However, I've managed to break through some of the stuffiness, political correctness, and formality on LinkedIn by finding both vocational groups and those that reflect my social interests, like rugby. This allows me to network authentically with like minds and people who share my values. Try it!

Mike Kappel (@MikeKappel)
Don't Be The Jerk At The Party. Don't meet people in social media and instantly ask them if they want to buy your stuff. You would think most people "get this," but I'm still amazed how many people each day DM me and think I'm going to fall over myself to buy their wares.

Sidneyeve Matrix (@sidneyeve)
My secret for having a never-ending supply of great share-worthy content is my amazing network. Spending time every day reading updates and links posted by those in my networks on Google+ and Twitter is a continuous learning experience -- filled with so much intriguing, inspiring, curated content. Bottom line: extend and engage with your network every day to continuously increase your social media ROI, and you'll always have something to say and share online.

Wendy Appel (@WendyAppel)
Continue to share and promote your older blog posts. If it’s something worth reading, it should have long legs and stand the test of time. Just because you’ve promoted it once, doesn’t mean even a small fraction of people have seen it. Remember that you are growing your social media audience all the time, and new followers won’t have necessarily seen prior posts.

David Brier (@davidbrier)
Triberr is a collective of influencers and bloggers who help one another excel and rise above the noise. That is one of my favorite tools for social media growth and empowerment. That and routinely studying Upworthy.com for its generally excellent headlines that it sweats over to get amazing virality.

Amy Tobin (@AmyMccTobin)
There is one secret that ALL companies, no matter their size, try to ignore: it takes time and personal interaction. I use a wide variety of apps and measuring tools, but NOTHING replaces jumping on a platform and connecting individually to build brand advocates.

Paul Cooley (@PaulCooley and @iBoostCo)
Think things through, don't just do what everything tells you to you. Make social media work for your business model, not against it.

Melanie Spring (@MelanieSpring and @Sisarina)
The one thing I share with everyone is stop selling. People don't buy from people who are selling, especially on social media. Find a way to tell a story and share it. Create and curate content but never sell.

Martina McGowan (@MartinaMcGowan)
Having real conversations with people is important, as well as always being open to learning new things and stepping out of your comfort zone. I like the idea of curation, but have found that I have little time to comb the net myself, so I rely on several services who gather information, like Everpost, Paperli, Meddle, ScoopIt, to name a few, and I use Buffer to share this information with others. Buffer gives me an easy way to tap into several channels. Not all of the information gathered is for every audience.

Tracy Sestili (@tracysestili and @SocialStrand)
Take 10 minutes a day to comment on other people's content to build and nurture relationships. Hopefully, they will return the favor when you need something amplified.

Jeffrey Summers (@JeffreySummers)
The biggest social secret is that there are no secrets. If you aren't engaging consumers in a meaningfully differentiated way, you lose.

And finally, here are a few of my social media secrets (@DebbieLaskeyMBA):
Every morning, I check out my fave apps, Blogkeen and Zite to read posts from my favorite bloggers. I then share posts on Twitter, flip on Flipboard, and create an image or two with a quote from great blog posts on Instagram. These five apps are excellent brand-building tools.

In the spirit of the timeless Tweet (and my fave Tweet of all time) from Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar), “Don't do social, be S.O.C.I.A.L.: sincere, open, collaborative, interested, authentic, and likeable,” I thank all of my social media colleagues for their contributions and invite you to share a social media secret of your own.

Image Credit: Basketman via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.


  1. It's an honor to be included with so many sensational social media super stars like YOU Deb Laskey!!! We all help each other!!!!!

    1. Thank YOU, for your contribution, Deb - appreciate your insights!

  2. Debbie,

    Thank you for including me in your post -- Such a stellar line-up, I'm honored to be a part!

    This will be a resource to share with many, for sure...


    1. Thank YOU, for your contribution, Keri - appreciate your insights!

  3. Thanks for these tips! A list of tips for improving social media presence can be very long since we all have different preferences on what platform to use. Whether we choose Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, we have to make sure that all our posts are always updated and related to our products and services. Moreover, don’t forget to build a harmonious relationship with your followers. :)

    Gwendolyn Carlson

  4. If you are active in Social Media Networks, then nothing comes personal or secret..That's the common law for it.

  5. Hi Debbie,

    Thanks for gathering up and sharing all these great tips. I learned a lot from your post.

    Keep up your great work.


    1. Eric, thank you for your insights and for sharing with your networks. You always provide great tips!


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