The Secret to Social Media Success

Whose social media rules are you playing by?

We’re honored to welcome Ali Davies, AKA @Ali_Davies to SocialNorth. Ali helps small business owners design their own lives and re-define their businesses to serve them better. According to Ali, life is too short to settle for mediocrity – we couldn’t agree more!

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My life, my social media

I have a confession to make. Over the last few months I’ve been having my own little social media rebellion.

understanding my social meaningI started to question everything about what I was doing with social media and why. The whole social media hoopla just didn’t feel right for me anymore. The love affair was over.

So I set about trying to get to the bottom of why. This process uncovered some interesting things.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that that there is a growing number of “experts” out there talking about the “rules” about what to do and what not to do. They talk about the right and wrong way to use social media. It can feel very confusing to know who to listen to, who to trust and who to ignore.

And therein lies the source of the problem for me with all the social media rules:

other people’s “rules” don’t always fit with my own values. Their purpose and goals for using social media is sometimes totally different to mine. Over the last few months I’ve taken some time to step back and re-evaluate how I’m using social media, why I use it in that way and how close a fit that is to my purpose, goals and values.

The outcome of that re-evaluation is that I’ve been designing my own rules for how I want to use social media, what I’m using it for and ensuring it’s in line with my values, purpose and goals.

My own little social media rebellion has led to changes that now sit comfortably for me. Now I’m playing by my own rules. The social media love affair is re-ignited and back on. Yes, I am still a big believer in listening and learning from experts but now I ensure they’re people who have similar values, standards and integrity. And I adapt what I learn to fit me and my goals.

I’ve learned it’s okay to evolve in new directions. It’s okay to change.

Here’s the thing though – not only is it okay, it’s healthy. Questioning the status quo from time to time and whose rules you are playing by helps you grow and develop. Not just in social media, but also in life, work and relationships.

Ali’s new rules of engagement

defining your social media successHere are some key points I have learned in relation to navigating the social media path:

  • Be careful who you listen to. Not everyone operates from the same standards, integrity or ethics. Choose who you’re learning to wisely.
  • Never compromise on your values.
  • Get crystal clear on why you’re using social media.
  • Have a plan to guide your actions based on your goals, values and purpose.
  • Review your plans regularly. Adjust your course if necessary.
  • You don’t have to be on everything. Be selective. Quality trumps quantity.
  • Be true to yourself.
  • Evolving is healthy. Be willing to challenge your own status quo.

The result of all of this means that now my social media activities revolve around a focus on community, relationships and learning. I’ve given myself permission to enjoy a period of experimentation. I’m using some social media tools less and others more. I am engaging more on some and less on others. I am working my plan and it feels a lot more fulfilling.

I think being open to exploring and experimenting is key in finding an approach and plan that works for you.

So I would invite you explore whose social media rules you’re playing by. Are the rules and approach you are using still a good fit for you? Is it time to evolve or change?

I’d love to hear your views, experiences and opinions on this subject? Let’s discuss it further in the comments below.

About Ali Davies

Ali Davies ~ @Ali_DaviesAli Davies specializes in helping small business owners and self-employed professionals improve their personal effectiveness to get better results in their lives and businesses. Her philosophy is that it’s important to design the life you want and re-engineering your business to serve you better to achieve freedom and fulfillment. You can find out more about Ali and her work at

7 Responses to “The Secret to Social Media Success”

  1. Laura Zera says:

    I absolutely agree, Ali. I think that because both the usage and variety of platforms are growing so quickly, the ‘dating’ phase is inevitable. I played around with several platforms, and quickly (after six months) realized which ones suited me best.

    As a writer, I’m told by agents and publishers that I must build a platform and an audience, and I am fine with that, I really enjoy interacting with my community, but sometimes it feels like I’m trying to keep up with it all. That’s when I tell myself that the world will not stop if I don’t tweet for a few days (even though it does feel like you can be quickly forgotten if you disappear from social media for a spell).

    One thing I noticed early on is that some people attracted attention and followers using snarky humor. I decided right then that my approach would be the opposite. Seeing what made me uncomfortable made me better able to understand what was comfortable for me.

    • Ali Davies says:

      Laura, love your decision that your approach would be based on what keeps it real for you. It is a great strength to stand up for what you believe in. Trying to be something you are not is not only a receipe for disaster but also doesn’t attract the people you want to connect and people can smell the falseness a mile off. Staying being true to yourself – always.

  2. Kim Williams says:

    Social Media as a marketing tool and a personal tool (for communication, education and entertainment) is still very new. I’ve watched us go from ‘what’s a Twitter?’ to endless lists of top ways to use Twitter for _______. Not only are the platforms and technologies still evolving, emerging even, but our usage and methodologies are really still embryonic.

    Your experience and counsel feels wise to me. We each MUST know our intent and goals for the tools and choose a method for engaging the appropriate platform(s) and audiences accordingly. One person’s SPAM is another person’s gold mine. If you knew me better, you would find great humor in this next statement – Judge Not.

    There is plenty of space to find our individual and corporate places on Social Media.

    • Ali Davies says:

      I think you have hit the nail on the head there Kim when you talk about these tools evolving. And as we are always evolving too as human beings it feels appropriate to step back from time to time and ask ourselves why we are doing something and why we do it a particular way.

      Just had a peep at your website Kim. Love the Oscar Wilde quote.

  3. Wendy Cullinane says:

    Hi Ali –
    While I agree that this new area is riddled with experts making outlandish promises and that sorting out who might be right and wrong is almost a full time job in itself.
    What I have found is that if I focus on what the *reader/customer/friend* would want to hear from me, I am much more successful. If I am engaging purely on what I want to put out there, I become that incredibly boring girl at the party who does nothing but talk about herself.
    The first rule of thumb in all this if you are creating content is that its not all about You (the writer) be ME the reader.
    One final point – the power of social is going to seriously impact your SEO in the coming months… if what you are putting out there is something your audience values, its going to be much more beneficial than those crazy keywords we were speaking of a few months ago. (Which is great news!)

    • Ali Davies says:

      Hey Wendy, you are so right about being audience focussed. The question “how can I serve and add value” is a vaulable one to ask at all times.
      Will be interesting to see how the changes you mention pan out over the coming months.

  4. Wendy Cullinane says:

    and also read your comments for typos prior to posting 🙂

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