Social media has helped catapult seemingly regular people into personal brands. Hello, you're reading the words of someone who is a product of social media. What you post speaks volumes about you. That can be a good or bad thing. Just remember, when you're at a party this big, you better bring your manners—your personal brand depends on it.
1. Find the platform—and the number of platforms—that feels right for you. You don't need to be everywhere. Master one or two platforms first, and grow from there. Plan your strategy on the kind of content you have to work with. For example, if you're not really going to have strong visual assets, consider skipping Instagram until you do.
2. The profile picture and bio on social media are like your résumé. Don't leave them blank.
3. Posting and engaging with your followers regularly will grow your following. You have to start the conversation and follow the conversation. Out of sight, out of mind strongly applies here.
4. Listen before you speak. Growing up, we were told to think before we speak. In social media, you need to listen (i.e., read). Know what conversations people are having before you chime in.
5. Scratch people's backs. When you can't think of anything original to post, try helping others get their thoughts out there. Giving voice to other people's posts by sharing them is a gracious move and one that's always returned in spades. It's also a great way to build your follower base.
6. Embrace yourself. The truer you are to yourself, the happier you'll be anyway. If you love to cook, for example, share some fun tips that position you as an expert. If you're someone who loves staying home and watching movies, why not become your own movie critic and post reviews socially? There are a lot of ways to prove your worth, and providing some kind of service to your followers is always a great tactic.
7. Don't beg. Do you beg for friends in real life? I doubt it. So why would you beg for friends online? How you build a follower base is the result of three things: (1) putting out great content, (2) engaging with people who speak to you, and (3) proactively reaching out to others.
8. Strike up a conversation online. Ask someone a smart question, or compliment something he has recently accomplished.
9. Inspire! People love to be inspired. That's why quotes, whether motivational or encouraging, go a long way in the social space. Quotes are pretty much a given to be retweeted, which will grow your audience exponentially.
10. Curate your timeline. Retweeting five times in a row might give off the idea that you don't post original content. I believe in an eclectic timeline. Start with posting original content, then respond to some comments, and finally share other people's content. You want to show that you are both speaking and watching the various conversations throughout the day. Check your timeline once in a while, and see if you think it would look good to someone who doesn't know you.
11. Filter what you say. If you wouldn't feel comfortable running a full-page ad of your tweet in the New York Times, don't post it.
This article appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.