Whether you're running social media for your company or as an individual, remember that there are two components here: The media part, which everyone seems to already understand, and the social part, which is often ignored. 

To get the most out of social media, you need to address both social and media. That said, here are five easy ways to maximize the human aspect of social media and make sure you're being social.

1. Don't start an email or post with, "Dear all."

This is such a pet peeve of mine. If you're sending me an email or a message on any platform, then talk to me directly--not me and 100 other people. This is true for mass tagging on your posts and it is true for starting a message with, "Hey all."

Even if you are sending a mass email, you don't have to rub it in my face that you don't consider me important enough to send me a personal email. Besides, when you send a message to a group of people, everyone assumes the next person will deal with it and most people will automatically delete the email. I know I do. 

2. Become acquainted before pitching an idea.  

It is mind-boggling to me that in 2021, this even needs to be said. Not a single day goes by in which someone doesn't add me on LinkedIn and upon accepting their request, they instantly begin pitching me. Most of the time, it's a pitch for something that is completely irrelevant to me, but that person skipped the five minutes of looking at my profile to determine whether their product is something I need or not. 

Just like you would not walk up to a total stranger offline and start selling them on something without establishing any trust, don't do it online. 

Whether it's on LinkedIn or any other platform, try sending that initial message by saying hi and that you'd love to hear what that person is working on. You'll find that to be a great ice breaker because people like to talk about their work. 

3. Use a real profile picture.

I know this might seem trivial, but I assure you, it is not. People like to do business with people. People do not like to do business with a logo or a picture of a nice landscape. Now don't get me wrong, I am all for beautiful landscape photography, but not to be used as your profile picture. 

When I see someone who has no profile picture, or they have a picture of a view, I think to myself, "If this person couldn't be bothered to have a normal profile picture, I can't be bothered to do business with them." 

Putting a face to your company is super important, and even if you're just an individual and not a company, people want to know who they're talking to. 

4. Reply to all comments or tweets.  

Again, why does this even need to be said? If someone took the time and effort to consume your content and comment or share it, don't they deserve your recognition? You don't have to write a whole essay on every comment, but a quick like or thank you would be nice. 

Now, you don't owe anyone anything, and just because that person commented on your post does not mean that you must like their comment. It's not a question of obligation, it's a question of decency and etiquette. 

5. Highlight others.  

I deeply believe in giving others the spotlight. No one wants to engage with a company or a person who spends all day self-promoting. However, a person who highlights others and gives others the stage? That is someone I find worth following. 

Besides, highlighting others is a fantastic marketing strategy. You strengthen the relationship with the person you're highlighting, you get their followers to consume your content after that person shares it, and you elevate your own brand by associating with thought leaders who you are featuring. 

In summary, don't be like most people and only focus on the media part of social media. Be social, be human, and then you'll truly see how powerful these platforms can be.