Normally I don’t believe in brain-picking, but last week I made a one-time exception at the first-ever Women at Forbes Facebook Live, where we I hosted a Q&A about social media best practices!

Followers on the Women at Forbes Facebook page asked a myriad of fantastic questions - from "how many hashtags should I be using?" to "what are the best social media channels for my brand?"

As I mentioned in the live session, there is no shortcut to growing your social media audience. It takes time and practice. Here are my top five tips from the Q&A:

  • Always exercise judgment and restraint on social media!
  • If you make a mistake on social media, take time to assess the damage before you determine what needs to be done to fix the problem. 
  • Social media is a two-way conversation. Make sure you're posting content that is relevant to your followers and that you're regularly engaging with them.
  • If you are trying to make money on social media, make sure you can relay the value you are providing. Do your homework first, and make sure you have data to back up the rates you are going to be offering advertisers. 
  • Hashtags can be a valuable tool, but the quality of your post is the most important thing. No matter what number of hashtags you use, if it is not a quality post, you're not going to get the attention you're looking for.

Finally, whether you're just getting started on social media or re-branding, your ultimate goal should be to make your online self a good reflection of your offline self.

For more tips, grab a coffee, and head over to Women at Forbes for the entire Q&A.