Between the race to attract followers, measure ROI, master technical lingo, and stay ahead of competitors, it can be easy to lose sight of the “social” part of social media.

Luckily, we learn some of the most crucial lessons about socialisation before our 6th birthday, most of which can be applied to social media.

Through emotional intelligence and learning to care for others, we grew up to be wiser, caring and smarter. Employ the same on social media and your followers will grow into an army of brand advocates.

1.   Tell a Great Story

Remember how you lit up when your teacher gathered the class for story time? You have the power to unleash the same excitement in your followers by weaving your brand’s story into your social media presence.

According to this Adweek article, most brand stories fall under one of 7 archetypal plots: little guy vs. the monster, rebirth/redemption, journey and return, quest, rags-to-riches, tragedy, and comedy. You probably recognize these as storylines to some famous books and movies, but how can you give your brand a “plot”?

Think of the content you share as an ongoing narrative that’s cohesive across all social media touch points. Furthermore, make the experience immersive — bring your audience on a journey with interactive content and two-way conversations. Over time this can build a long-term bond and loyalty with customers, which is far more powerful than simply sharing announcements about your brand’s current sales and new products.

2.   Sharing is Caring

If you wanted to have any friends in the sandbox, you had to share your toys. Not much has changed…

Brands that are selfish on social media aren’t very popular. Give your social media audience something of value, and they will keep coming back for more. But, this goes beyond sharing your brand’s own content.

With all of the noise on the Internet, social media curation is on the rise. Certain websites exist solely because they aggregate content from other sources. Adopt this trend by collecting content that’s relevant to your target audience and sharing it on your social profiles.

Becoming a curator of useful content related to your vertical and/or content that is central to your brand values has several benefits, including:

  • Be viewed as a trusted resource; become a “one stop destination” for people looking for information about your vertical
  • Raise awareness about your brand’s topical expertise
  • Grow relationships with the sources you share from (opportunities to promote potential partners, brand advocates, etc.)
  • Less time and internal resources spent creating original content to share with social networks (however, good curation takes time as well)

Another way to share is by highlighting your fans. Host contests through social media and then feature the winners on your profiles and website. You don’t need to go as far as hosting a contest, though. Notice what brand ambassadors are saying, and use your clout to give them exposure. Give back in little ways like retweeting to your followers, sharing a customer’s blog post about your company, etc.

3.   Be a Good Listener

Social media has made it easier than ever for customers to voice concerns and give praise to brands. You probably know you should be responding to brand mentions, questions and issues brought up on social media. But, you can take this a step further by using what your audience tells you to guide your social media activity.

Use the following to help craft social media content:

  • Your customer “pain points.” What are the most common complaints you hear? How does your product or brand rectify these issues?
  • Why your brand matters. In what ways do customers say your company has helped them? Highlight success stories, unusual ways people use your product, and tips and tricks for getting more out of your brand.
  • What you’re doing better than anyone else. What does your audience say makes you difference from competitors? (Really, this should be the crux of not just your digital marketing, but your entire marketing strategy.)

4.   Own Up to Your Mistakes

We all got in trouble in the classroom at some point. And we knew this meant we’d have to apologize before everyone could move on.

Did you mess up? Say you’re sorry and vow to do better. Then stick to your word. (Yes, it’s really that simple.)

5.   Everyone Needs Nap Time

Remember how grumpy you would get without your nap (and maybe you still do)? Prevent social media burnout by allowing yourself and your team breaks from responding and posting.

It’s true that conversations happen on social media 24/7. But unless you’re in a service based, round-the-clock industry, it’s OK to give your smartphone or ultrabook a break and designate silent periods for your brand on social media.

Scour your social metrics to pinpoint when your followers are most active, and plan your posting schedule around these times. There’s no sense in posting on Sunday mornings if your fans are unresponsive to content you’ve posted at that time. You can also use social media scheduling tools, like Buffer or Hootsuite, to push out updates during times when your staff isn’t working.

Time for Some Homework

Start putting the above to good use and learn more with the following resources:

What social media lessons do you think businesses can learn from our younger selves? Let me know in the comments below.

About Kerry:
Kerry Jones is a freelance writer, editor and blogger based in Tampa, FL. Her background is in online marketing, where she gained experience doing social media consulting and management for Fortune 500 companies.