Are you a brand? Today, social media is the best way of marketing your business, because you can directly connect with, learn from, help, and inspire your customers. You don't need a publicist--with social media, you are your own publicist.

LinkedIn is the primary platform I use to market my coaching company inventRight, as well as YouTube. We're on Facebook and Twitter, too. Social media seems fun and easy, and it can be. But that doesn't mean there aren't principles that govern success using these platforms.

If you're trying to build a brand using social media, posting more content isn't the answer. Posting more often isn't either. It's true that people who are popular on social media tend to post a lot. But there are many more of you who are just shouting into the void, making post after post that is met with silence. That's not good for your brand.

Here's what you're missing:

It's not about you.

People often use social media to post about themselves and their accomplishments--things they've done. Sure, you're proud, you want to share. But people want to know what you're doing for them.

Making posts about yourself is a bad social-media strategy. No social engagement results from that. Tearing down someone else's successful product or service to make you look better is another failing strategy on social media.

Focus squarely on your customers and what you're doing for them instead. That's what they care about. Otherwise, you're just contributing to the noise.

Hijacking is poor form.

Hijacking someone else's post to leave information about your product or service is just plain bad form. You may be excited, but this is the wrong place to share. Your comment will be perceived as spam, even if your intentions are genuine.

Don't interrupt an ongoing conversation on social media. Basically, you're butting in. Engage with the meat of the post in a thoughtful way, or not at all. Be helpful by providing an alternative point of view or other valuable content.

When you make an offer, you must deliver.

If you allude to a certain situation or "business opportunity" but don't share any actual information, you're not helping people--you're fishing for business. People will see through this and know you're not being authentic.

So, how do you grow organically on social media? By engaging your customer with something they can actually use. By being helpful, in other words.

Seth Godin wrote about this idea explicitly in his last book, This Is Marketing, which I highly recommend.

Helping your customer--sounds obvious enough, right? But it's not. I'm on these platforms all day, and trust me, the message has not gotten through.

Here's what you should do to grow your brand using social media.

Shine the light on others.

When you take the time to shine the light on others, you show that you really do care, which people will see and appreciate, then return the favor. This creates a halo effect. The light ends up shining back on you, too.  

Recently, I've been shining the light on entrepreneurs who have brought a consumer product to market on my YouTube channel. That's a departure from my normal style of making videos that deliver straightforward advice. Our audience is growing faster than ever. 

Provide truly useful content.

Most business owners on social media still haven't really embraced this. You don't want to "give it all away for free." You may worry that if you give away advice, strategies, and tips, then no one will pay for your services.

In reality, when you are truly an expert in your field, the advice you give away freely builds trust. Your audience will trust that you know what you're doing and your knowledge about this particular topic. To be honest, I don't think you can give away enough.

Building trust is the only long-term strategy your brand can depend on.

Reply back.

To succeed at social-media marketing, plan on replying back to the people who comment on your posts and message you. This takes time. If you do not have enough time to get back to people who engage with you, find another strategy--social media is not right for your business. Engagement is a two-way street.

For example, I sometimes interview other service providers for inventors on my YouTube channel because my audience needs help. When someone I've featured in a video never gets back to an inventor, I hear about it later, and it leaves a bad impression.

Above all else, be helpful.