How to Master the Art of Communications on Social Media
The Five Rules of Social Media
One of the 21st Century skills you will need to be successful is communications.
People that master the art of communications, especially on social media will dominate in the marketplace. Growing a following on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn is no longer just a “hobby,” but could have profound positive effects for your career.
If “who you know” has always been the problem with getting a job opportunity or making money — social media makes KNOWING a lot of people really possible now.
The new obstacle is “how should you communicate on social media?”
This article won’t give you a prescription for how to make posts on social media. I have been studying social media platforms and doing extensive research and experimentation since November 2020.
That’s when I transitioned my career from inside the K12 school system and moved my time and effort to an education think tank called Education Development Institute.
What I have discovered about communications on social media is there are rules you need to know and follow. People who break these rules, pay a steep price.
Here are the 5 Rules of Social Media
The first rule of communication on social media is deciding the tone of your social media channel. This is critical to do early on because you can’t change your mind on the way.
By tone, I’m talking about will your posts and social media channel be positive and uplifting, or will you be controversial? Will you be comical and satirical or will you be more serious and factual?
These are very important decisions you need to make because once you decide, you must hold your account to this boundary. People on social media who try to tackle every tone on one channel end up alienating everyone.
The second rule of communications on social media is less is more.
If you are using graphic design, photos or videos to post content on social media, you need to recognize that you are running a broadcast channel. The rules of advertising and TV now apply. Advertisers have long known that if you want to “sell” something, you are limited to one message per ad.
The same holds true with your posts. You’re posts must be limited to one message, one topic and one issue at a time. Especially if you are using carousels on Instagram, do not make each swipe a new topic or message.
Consumers of social media are just like you. They don’t want to feel frustrated because they don’t understand what you are trying to say. Make it simple, stick to one topic per post and be really clear about what you want to say.
Every High School English teachers is giving a standing ovation right now. This does not mean grammar rules matter, but simply your ability to put the right words in the right order.
A great way to learn how to write for social media is to read other social media posts. If you never knew how Shakespeare and F. Scott Fitzgerald would help your life, this is where their words and language apply.
The more descriptive and the more you understand the structure of story, the more captivating your posts on social media will be.
This may seem really difficult at first. And that’s because it is difficult. To be clear, most of the celebrities you follow on social media do not create the content on their feeds. They simply act as models for posts and other people, who are professionally trained to write posts are creating the incredible content you consume.
If you are sitting at home wondering, how can I make content like your favorite influencer, just realize those influencers pay other people. That’s the good news! Those influencers aren’t special people. You can be better than them if you focus on developing really good writing skills.
The fourth rule of communications on social media is avoid being negative.
From a personal perspective, this is a really hard rule for me to follow. I’m not a negative person in real life. In fact, most people that know me and have followed my career as an educator would describe me as one of the most patient and positive people they have ever met.
I do admit that I am 1000 times more patient with kids than I am with adults. But on social media, I tend to fall into a trap that you need to avoid. Just because you are on social media, your job is not to “correct” other people.
My role in the K12 system was to make things ran smoothly. My job was to monitor and solve problems. I was paid to “correct” things that weren’t working.
But on social media, I am not being paid to do anything. It’s none of my business that someone just made a post about standardized testing that’s completely false and misleading. It’s not my job to correct a teacher who says that Positive Behavior Supports don’t work — when there is 50 years of psychological research to back up why it does work.
I continue to struggle with following this rule, which is why I know it’s a big one to follow. Thankfully, I have grown a following that forgives me for my mistakes and unintentional “butting in” to other people’s posts and tweets.
And that’s really what you are doing, you are the annoying neighbor who always gives their 2 cents. Keep it to yourself. No one asked you to chime in, so ignore the post and move on.
The last rule of communications on social media is learn the basic principles of graphic design.
When I first created my social media channels in 2020, I knew none of the principles of graphic design. I did not know about negative space, I didn’t know about hierarchy of fonts, I didn’t even realize there was a difference between font typefaces.
But these principles matter now.
How your posts look matter. Not because they make your channel look good, which is important, but if you want to be taken seriously, your posts need to look professional.
Knowing the basic principles of graphic design also make your posts more clickable, and isn’t that the goal?
If you use the wrong color combinations and the wrong fonts, no one will want to click on your post or read your captions. They will look at it and think, this must be made by a Baby-Boomer who doesn’t understand how to use their phone.
And the kiss of death on social media is being labeled a “Boomer.”
Therefore, read articles about graphic design and do a search on YouTube for graphic design artists that are teaching you how to create better looking posts and graphic content.
Those are the five rules of communications on social media. If you found this article valuable and helpful to you, please consider following my account.
If you want to learn more about the other four 21st Century skills, such as leadership, team building, problem solving and sales, visit my website at Leaf Academy, the link is in my Medium bio.