Chad Morris, Staff Writer, interviewed Vice President of Digital Marketing, Samantha Morris, for her top social media tips in this 6-part series.

Authenticity in how you present yourself and engage with others on social media goes a long way towards building effective relationships online. You can have more meaningful interactions by optimizing for trust and likeability in your social media strategy. Generally, you should aim to be personal and authentic, with flaws and all, while still maintaining professionalism. People are getting savvy enough with technology to recognize when you’re trying to sell an overly polished, ingenuine version of yourself online. To build that sense of trust, your followers should feel that they know the authentic version of you and not some persona you’ve put forward.

One way to help develop a genuine impression of yourself online is by infusing your personality in the content you publish. Candid video is an exceptional way to deliver information with a personal touch. These aren’t movies or long presentations, but rather one to two minutes of content that reflect your personality and natural charisma. When it doesn’t feel overly rehearsed, it’s a great way for your network to get to know you. Another way to accomplish this is by being personable in the photos and captions that you share. You can give appropriate glimpses of the environment in which you work and what you do both upfront and behind the scenes, so that your network can envision what your day-to-day world looks like. Try to avoid auto-posting generic industry content as this can seem impersonal. It’s fine in small doses, but if you make it a habit, you could seem aloof.

Sooner or later, people will search your name and land on your profile page. Your profile is an essential component of your online persona that should be optimized for trust. If the information is incomplete, out-of-date, or has blurry or unflattering photos, these issues should be corrected right away. You’ll want to use a profile picture that captures you with a natural expression, which is why it’s recommended that you have professional head shots taken. High-quality head shots convey professionalism and demonstrate an attention to detail and self-branding. It’s not easy to evaluate yourself objectively, so have someone you trust review your profile for anything that might give the wrong impression. Avoid engaging on controversial pages, as these can appear on your profile and alienate those that don’t hold the same opinion as you.

Lastly, the way in which you interact with others can determine whether you’re perceived as genuine. Just as you would in person, consider context and social etiquette prior to engaging. Ask yourself whether your comment is appropriate based on your current relationship dynamic with this person. It can be off-putting if you’re an acquaintance acting as though you’re a very close friend. Keep the initial interaction brief and gradually escalate until rapport is built. Recognize that each interaction has a shelf life and by prolonging an interaction past this point, you could be counteracting your momentum. Keep the conversations spontaneous, short, and sweet. If you’re joining a discussion, avoid derailing or dominating the conversation. Most importantly, use proper spelling and grammar. Frequent and easily avoidable typos only undermine your credibility.

As you become more familiar with social media, you soon realize that it’s just another channel for connecting with people and fostering relationships. When you approach it with the intention of relating to others, social media can be a very wonderful thing.



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