Social media has made the leap from geek to mainstream. It wasn’t too long ago that if a major story first broke on Twitter or Reddit and then was reported by mainstream news, it was seen as novelty and a bit of a surprise. These days, we expect news to break in social media networks long before the major news networks get a hold of it. It’s all about the numbers; the ears and eyes on the street.

Here are my Top 5 Social Media tips to help you get the most out of your social media activities.

Be genuine
Social media is all about connecting and engaging with other people. It’s important for your messages to portray the personality of your company, your brand or you as a individual. Making a real effort to connect with your target market is greatly appreciated by potential followers.

Be human
Machines don’t have lots of friends. Automated postings to different networks may seem clever, but if your audience catches you out they will likely switch off. Real engagement can only be built by putting in the hours. Listen to your audience and give feedback as a good human.

Don’t rely on just one social network
There is no one Holy Grail of social networks. Each network attracts a different audience and specialises in different types of engagements (i.e video sharing, texting, sharing links and pictures). A social network that is too similar to an existing network will likely suffer a pretty quick death.

Don’t spread your self too thin
As mentioned in the second tip, real engagement requires putting in real hours. Social networking requires a focused effort. Choose the networks that work well for you. Know the network, know the audience and work it!

Choose your hashtags wisely
Making up your own hashtags seems a good way to accurately tag up your messages, but make sure the hashtags you choose have an active audience. It’s a fine balance between being too specific and being too broad.