You Must Have a Social Media Presence! But Like What?

              At first, social media, like Facebook, was designed to post personal thoughts and keep personal connections. However, where there are people, there are markets. Exposing private life to the public draws attentions, not merely from your private circle, but also outside your circle, such as from the business world. Enlightened by the principle of ‘going to your customers’, every piece of business nowadays is under the pressure of ‘you must have a social media presence’, and when done correctly, it can help scale businesses of all sizes (Long, 2017). Looking through the job market, social media skill becomes a core qualification that employers target at, and candidates with a communication or marketing degree have embraced more job opportunities. However, social media marketing is still being questioned as mundane and not challenging, and it is never the case. Social media marketing is a study and creating social media presence is more than PR. You can find numerous articles and journals online talking about keys to successful social media marketing and I’d love to point some out here.

Long (2017) concludes the goal of social media marketing as ‘putting your message in front of the correct audience and trigger engagement’, while Gary (2013) provides a more structured version of explanation: a) Understand the nuances of your platform; b) Use a distinct voice; c) Drive your business goals. Honestly, I prefer the second one as it gives different layers of the goals, which helps to build a more solid understanding.

In terms of the keys or ‘must-do’s, Long (2017) lists 6 guidelines that are most significant to his mind:

  • Learn how social media works, the same as ‘being native’ or ‘using the native language of each social media platform’ in Gary’s theory;
  • Listen to your customers: use social media platforms as an extension of your customer service;
  • Use automation for consistency and there is a software called Hootsuite worth applying;
  • Engage with and delight your audience: you can’t just post and walk away, you have to be proactive;
  • Don’t spread yourself too thin: it’s important to pick where to focus your social media effort based on what works for your specific customer base;
  • Track and measure everything: constantly optimize and test your efforts throughout the campaign.

Looking into the specific social media platforms, according to Gary (2013)’s book, first of all, there are some universal characteristics that could be found in great content and compelling stories in all platforms: it’s native, it doesn’t interrupt, it doesn’t make demands-often, it leverages pop culture, it’s micro and it’s consistent and self-aware. In addition, there are tips and tactics that can be applied to all social media platforms.

  • For pictures: visually compelling, logo included, short and strong copy
  • For text: short, correct tone and voice, entertaining and relevant
  • For engagement: using hashtags and cross-pollinating, linking to the right call to action page (only one call to action);
  • Buying sponsored story and promoted Tweet is a good investment.

However, each social media platform has its own focuses or uniqueness. For example:

  • Facebook post is about targeted marketing. The key is to know about your customers and try to engage them, that is why we need to use an eye-catching picture with logo and correct copy in it, and then, add the link to the specific product website after 2 lines of brief introduction.  
  • Tweet is about community engagement. As news and information are the currency of Twitter, we need to take advantage of hashtags to track the trends, listen and join the current conversation.   
  • Instagram post is about artistic pictures. As a visual-centric tool, the artistic image is at the core of the content. In addition, hashtags are the entry to the content so that we need to add as many relevant hashtags as possible to gain attention.

In conclusion, posting a social media post is never as easy as you think when it involves business motivations. Unfortunately, more and more people are managing their personal brand as a business, which is so frustrating to me. Although I am reluctant to turn the personal expression into such business-oriented practice, I have to adapt to the trends.



Jonathan, L. (2017) 6 Must-Do’s for Effective Social Media Marketing. [Online] Available at

Vaynerchuk, G. (2013) Jab. Jab. Right hook. How to tell your story in a noisy social world. Harper Collins.


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5 Responses to You Must Have a Social Media Presence! But Like What?

  1. labbasi says:

    This a great topic to bring up. I have personally realized I’m slowing adapting my social media to what is accepted and as a personal brand just in case a business/employer sees it. Before it was place for silly thoughts or photos and today that is not accepted, viewed as immature, and not maximizing your brand. As your title states, we must have a social media presence. If we are not actively posting, we look anti-social and not a person who is having an adventure. There is much pressure to post the right photo with the correct filter, saying the right witty caption, and to post at the right time to gain optimal views. Certain restaurants and lounges even check people’s social people to see if the person fits the type of people the business wants to come.

    On the other hand, we are told not to post everything on social media and have people deeply involved in your personal life. The more social media evolves, it will be a growing situation that’s damned if you and damned if you don’t!

  2. pfistere says:

    You make a very interesting point about social media marketing. I’m not sure why it’s not as respected, but I do agree it requires strategy and thought. Since it’s still a relatively new form of marketing, perhaps it is not yet taken seriously in some capacities. However, as you mention, it’s definitely an opportunity for brands to engage effectively with their consumers. With collaborative marketing and consumer engagement becoming more important to gain and retain customers, social media plays a critical role. I do agree it’s unfortunate that everything we put onto these sites reflects our self-brand. However, this can also be leveraged to individual advantage. There are definitely pros and cons but it’s exciting to see how social media marketing will develop and change in the coming years! I think it is here to stay, whether we like it or not.

  3. ruoqihao says:

    Nowadays, being a social media savvy is a plus for marketing and branding. Both business branding and personal branding. Brands need to decide the right channel to accurately target their potential consumers. When refer to social media, brands need to attentively decide which social media platform is the Mr. Right. We used to talk a lot about market/consumer segmentation. And now, we also need to consider the audience segmentation in social media. Different social media platforms attract different users (and of course, there will be user overlap). Snapchat may target younger generations, 500px mostly targets professional photographers, Pinterest is a great marketing tool to target housewives. Segmentation is important for social media measurement.

  4. davidmer says:

    Understanding what social media platforms to have a presence on and what content to post on each platform is crucial for brands to be successful today. Customers actively engage with content on social media and play a vital role of the marketing process for brands. This requires brands to be deeply engaged in their social media planning process, and interact effectively with their customers. Having a strong social media presence can make the difference between a profitable and unsuccessful brand. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for social media marketing on current and new platforms.

  5. anamrodr says:

    I agree in that it is challenging to manage your personal brand as a business on social media. I have always thought that people who do often seem unauthentic, just because they limit the emotional factor of their content by suppressing their personality. But I don’t think that marketing yourself should become “tasteless”. For instance, I have seen people on my Facebook that try to manage their personal brand as a business but it seems too obvious and lack authenticity. Meanwhile I have seen others who create a balance, and are able to display their personalities genuinely, thus their content does not seem obvious in its business intention. Therefore, I think it all depends on how sticky your content is, while also considering the principles from Jaab Jaab Right Hook with respect to mastering the creation of native advertising.
    I also think that communicating your personal brand through social media is a necessary endeavor. Any kind of aspiring marketer should be encouraged to do so because they can learn how to market themselves first, before communicate the ideas of a brand.
    I share the same sentiment as you, but as you say, we have to adapt to the trend.