By: Deborah Shane, Author, Media Host, Speaker, Business/Career Brand Specialist

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.(Warren Buffet)

Great quote from a very wise and successful man, who has seen this play out in many different ways over many years!

The questions I get asked most frequently, when working with people on their brand marketing and social marketing strategy is,“How do I build a following and build my reputation?” and, “How do I get people to comment and re-tweet?”

I have been a student of  the social space and platforms,TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn for about awhile now. I observe and pay attention to the people that have large followings and influence for the right reasons.

“There are people who have huge fans and followers but they are not authentic to me and I have no interest in their “shtick.” Wish ‘em well, just don’t want them cluttering up my stream.”

The social media mentors I respect come from different arenas and all kind of say the same thing. Be authentic and real, create useful content, be consistent, engage in the conversation and give more than you ask. This was easy for me to embrace, as my personality and personal philosophy aligned very well with this.

So, spring of 2009, I dove off the board into the social media playground pool! I have always loved the park, pool and playground, so this was  fun for me. Here I am two years later and I am still a student, but I’ve gone from junior high to high school! I loved high school too. Did you?

Here are some of my insights and some of the things I have learned that have helped me make amazing connections, grow my reach and business and have a whole lot of fun sharing ideas and learning from others.

1. Be yourself so if we met in person, you’d be the same as you are online.

The social media world is one dimensional, but you can make yourself multi-dimensional. Writing for social media sites is very different than writing a “term paper.” A more personal approach to writing, more experiential writing works really well. Write how you converse. Practice and study other successful bloggers and web writers.

2. Be more interested in others than yourself, it multiplies.

Let people know you care about them, their issues and challenges. “Here’s what I can do to help…” is a powerful connector. Sharing, serving and giving good, useful and pertinent information to help them solve problems goes a long way.

3. Give people glimpses of your personal world.

Getting to know each other on many levels is what builds the foundation for personal relationships. Letting people know what you do, stand for and believe in is certainly important, but what foods you like, favorite places you’ve traveled to and books you recommend, some fun pictures about your family can really give people a well rounded glimpse of you and your world. Careful though about what and how much you share. Remember, though, how viral the web is and you can’t delete or erase it!

4. Get to know your followers and what matters to them.

OK, So you have 1,000′s of friends and followers! Do you know anything about them? Survey them for their demographics and psychographics. Get to know what they need from you and let them know how they can help you. This is  “social, mutual” media right?

5. Collaborate and hook people up.

I have found this to be one of my most effective was to build trust. I connect and hook people up regularly. I simply introduce people via e-mail introduction, state the synergy I sense and let them take it from there! Try it, it works!

6. Temper your humor and anger. (This is the 5 minutes to ruin it part.)

Hey, I love a great joke and some edgy language, but I don’t need anything really off color or any profanity to get my attention. Careful here and remember again you can’t delete or erase this. One click and it’s on the web for what could be a very long  and tedious time.

7. Be consistent and show up.

Be a kid in the playground. Show up, get to know the other kids, let them know what position you play best to help the team, acknowledge when others make a great play, and play your heart out when you get picked to play!

8. Give and receive.

Lot’s of people are comfortable with giving to others but not allowing others to give to them. This is one area I have really improved on. When people ask me how they can help me, and I know they are coming from a genuine place, I accept their invitation and allow them the pleasure of giving and me receiving. Try it!

9. Provide solutions, options and answers that have worked for you or others.

The rule with social media, which is kind of unspoken is 4 to 1. Four posts or tweets where you give and provide information that provides solutions to problems or challenges and one promoting yourself. Sell, sell, sell is a sure way to get hidden, un-followed or un-friended.

10. Spread hope and positivity.

We all benefit from others sharing their successes, silent heroes, triumphs and lessons, especially now. Do share yours and others that you have found!

Now…take your online connections offline and get personal! Time to get out of the pool and dry myself off in some sunshine. (I live in Florida.)