emotional brand connectionSocial media is all one big relationship. Making them meaningful, inspirational and profitable are top goals.

Many times we get too caught up in the science of social media. Too many folks worry too much about how many followers they have on Twitter, number of fans on Facebook and the list goes on and on.  What really matters most is how are you engaging with your audience and how is your audience responding?  An audience of 100 loyal, active followers who are genuinely and authentically interested in your content are worth far more than 1000 that don't know you, don't care to know you and are only following you thanks to the latest automated Twitter follower tool.

For the purpose of this post I am going to do a double click on how you can be an advocate for others in social media.  If you engage in social media with an objective to GIVE with no expectation to “get” your outcome and return on investment (ROI) will be exponentially higher.

Advocacy in social media is focused on one of the most important sides of social media – the ART! There is both an art and a science to social media. Since social media is one big relationship, I still am floored how many who even preach authenticity, content are doing nothing more than blasting noise to their audiences.

Top 17 Ways to be a Good Friend in Social Media:

1. Be the best advocate you can possibly be! Give, give, give of yourself.  The more you give the more you will build your network in an organic, authentic way.  Trust me, this works!

2. Set time aside each day to advocate! When you advocate you are also listening.  You are learning.  You will then be able to better connect with your audience because you have taken the time to listen to what someone else has to say.

3. Read with an objective to UNDERSTAND! Don't just read with an intention to retweet.  Read with the intention to learn, understand and engage.

4. Dare to disagree. If you don't like or don't agree with what someone has to say, don't be afraid to let them know.  Many times bloggers and content providers will write content with the assumption and possibly intention of “starting something”.  Good bloggers want dialogue.  A one way content train means far less than a content train where people get on and off and discuss with the neighboring communities.

5.  Leave a comment. Let someone know you stopped by.  Be genuine in your response though.

6. Be real. Be authentic. Or don't be! If you are only advocating to be advocated in return then don't do it! Only respond if you truly are interested in the comment.  Those of us who have been around the block in social media can spot a fake a mile away. You are fooling nobody and doing nothing for yourself, your personal brand nor your business if you do it in a non-authentic way.

7.  Promote other people's content. Share it on Facebook.  Click the Facebook “like” button.  Retweet it.

8.  Add commentary. Don't just retweet with no comments or remark.  If you are being authentic in sharing then you should at least 50% of the time have something to say!

9. Subscribe to their RSS Feed. With an RSS Feed you can receive an email each day with any new blog posts or content they have posted.  This is a great way to stay up to date on the content that you are hopefully authentically interested in as well as continue to advocate.  You can even try being the first to advocate when they post new content! What a great way to show support!

10. Subscribe to their You Tube Channel. If they have a You Tube channel and regularly post content become a subscriber.  Similar to an RSS Blog feed, you can stay up to date.  You Tube is often overlooked so it's a great way to show the love!

11. Support the content provider objectives. Are they trying to sell a book? Sell or give away seats to a webinar?  Build a tribe or community? Support their objectives.  You will learn over and over again in watching how people respond, engage and help you build someone else.

12. Visit their numerous social media profiles. Often times platforms such as You Tube, LinkedIn get overlooked.  Many living social media create amazing content in multiple formats.  Don't forget to visit their You Tube channel.  Since many do forget such there are usually fewer comments. Chances are the content producer will greatly appreciate the time you take to comment across their multiple platforms.

13.  Don't just take the easy way out.  The easiest way out is to retweet or “like” something on Facebook.  Dare to share more.  Add comments, even a video or an opinionated blog, comment or more.

14.  ENGAGE! Be yourself.  Share yourself. Don't hide behind your avatar, your boring profile. Come out of the closet and be you.  Get to know the person on the other end. Build a relationship.  You'll never do such sitting behind your computer monitor reading all day long and wishing you were part of the conversation.  Join the conversation and Get in the Game!

15.  Don't be afraid of your competition. You might actually learn something from them.  Instead figure out how you can cooperate with them to help your common communities.  You'll often times find amazing joint venture opportunities by not being so stuck on yourself. If you are so good then why are you worried about them to begin with.  Be confident.

16. Get a Gravatar profile. If you don't already have one, get one! This will help the SEO of your blog and other profiles.  It will help others get to know you as you can upload a real photo.  Then when you comment on a blog people will see the photo as well as a link to your site if you include such in your profile.

17.  Inspire. To achieve your goals it's important you first INSPIRE and then CONNECT.  Then you can achieve your goals.  Focus on inspiration both in your own content as well as when you engage and advocate others.  Always be focused on what you can do for others first!

Your Turn!
What do you do to show the social media love? What do you prefer in terms of advocacy from others?

See this article published on Social Media Today!