Between shooting selfie videos for LinkedIn, crafting Instagram stories, and replying to Tweets, it’s easy to get overwhelmed building a social media presence. Whether it’s for my own personal accounts or brands I’ve managed, I rely on four principles to guide my social media decision making:

  • Quality
  • Consistency
  • Access
  • Vulnerability

These four concepts are meant to be simple. You can use them as a guiding light when you need to take a step back from your publishing strategy. They’re also applicable whether you’re posting to Twitter, LinkedIn or Snapchat. And for the most part, like a good personalized video, they’re meant to humanize your presence.

In this post, we’ll look at examples and lessons from a wide variety of accounts including, National Geographic, Tom Hanks, Hootsuite and The Rock. So whether you’re an aspiring thought leader, celebrity, or B2B brand, there’s something here for you. Let’s dig in.

Quality: Cater to Your Audience

You need to know your audience and cater to their needs and appetite. Quality isn’t objective. Don’t have an audience yet? Figure out who you want to target and create for that audience. It’s a bit of an ‘if you build it they will come’ scenario.

In a world of mass scheduled content, a social feed that is low in quality is usually lacking thoughtfulness. And like real-world relationships, it’s much easier to connect when you’re being thoughtful.

Consistency: Regularity Over Volume

When I talk about posting consistency, most people’s minds immediately jump to publishing volume. What’s the magic number of Tweets? How often is too often?

It all depends on how much content you can create or curate.

Let’s consider two very different examples: social media management platform, Hootsuite, and America’s sweetheart, Tom Hanks.

Hootsuite consistently publishes 20+ posts per day. That’s a lot of posts! But, that volume is matched by the amount of content they produce. Drawing from a large list of blog contributors that include in-house writers, freelancers and partners, Hootsuite can afford to post that often and doesn’t depend on endlessly reposting the same content.

Comparatively, Tom Hanks posts infrequently with one photo gracing his Instagram every couple of weeks. He doesn’t need to be posting often and if anything scarcity makes his posts that much more special.

Tom Hanks on the set of Henry IV

Tom Hanks on the set of Henry IV via @tomhanks on Instagram.

What’s important to note is that both of these accounts are consistent in their publishing. You won’t see either account disappear for weeks or suddenly post 100 times in a day. It’s not about total volume. The focus should be on regularity. A good-quality post will pique a viewer’s interest but seeing an account’s consistent history of sharing good content will earn a follow.

Access: Why Should I Follow You?

What makes you or your brand unique? Every person or brand has a unique perspective and place in the world. Use that to shape your social media storytelling.

As an online video platform for business, Vidyard has access to world-class video marketers and sales professionals. And that’s exactly what you’ll find on our Twitter and LinkedIn feeds, content authored by experts relevant to our industry.

More than 89 million people follow National Geographic on Instagram because they capture parts of the world that are completely inaccessible to the average person. Their Instagram bio describes their account perfectly, “Experience the world through the eyes of National Geographic photographers.”

American photographer Ryan McGinley sums it up well in his Commencement Speech to the Parsons School of Art and Design. His photography advice is easily adapted to social media and sharing your unique perspective:

Find something to be obsessed with, and then obsess over it. Don’t compete; find what’s uniquely yours. Take your experience of life and connect that with your knowledge of photographic history. Mix it all together, and create an artistic world that we can enter into. If you only like shooting cell phone photos, then do that. If your dad works at a construction site that looks cool, use it. If your mom breeds poodles, then put them in your photographs. Use the camera to take what you know that others don’t, what you can access that others can’t, and the people or things you connect with, to construct your own world.

Vulnerability: There’s a Human Behind That Brand

While a polished social media profile has its benefits (I’m looking at you travel bloggers), you shouldn’t feel the pressure to present a picture-perfect presence every time. In fact, showing vulnerability can establish trust and humanize accounts. In the same way recording a Vidyard GoVideo makes you more vulnerable than a cold email, social media provides opportunities to share your or your brand’s vulnerable side.

It reminds us that behind that Tweet or Instagram photo, there’s a real, live human being. This empathy and understanding can be valuable when it comes to dealing with support issues, PR crises, or customer experience issues. I’m not saying you need to write about your relationship with your parents in your next LinkedIn post but there is value in sharing your opinion or something near and dear to you.

We can find a great example of this in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Part of what makes Johnson’s social presence interesting is his access. He can take you with him on the red carpet and behind the scenes of his latest action flick. But arguably his most engaging and most popular posts are his video posts where he speaks off-the-cuff directly into his phone. Here he shares what how his failures inevitably have led to his successes:

But how do you do this as a brand? Be fearless in how you present your company. The primary objectives of Vidyard’s Instagram account is to showcase Vidyard’s culture and help with recruitment. We want to provide an honest, balanced view into all the wonderful, weird and sometimes wacky things that make up life at Vidyard. If you want a Vidyardian’s perspective, check out our company hashtag #VidyardLife.

So the next time you’re wondering, should I post this? Consider your account’s unique quality, consistency, access, and vulnerabilities. Happy social media-ing!

Andy Au