Are you using Facebook and Twitter, or are Facebook and Twitter using you? Too many businesses are still thinking that as long as they post content on Facebook and Twitter, as well as other social media sites, then somehow the magical social media fairies will wave their little magic wands and generate a flood of traffic.

Sadly this isn’t how social media and online optimisation works. If it was then I might have a better excuse for wearing this tutu and pair of wings.

To illustrate how businesses should be approaching social media networking, consider the difference between a leaflet and a postcard. Person A might pick up a leaflet, look at it, and file it somewhere for later reference. That’s it. That’s about as far as it’s likely to go.

Now consider Person A picking up a postcard. Perhaps it’s unusual, funny, or clever, and it catches their attention. They want to share the humour or interest, and so buy half a dozen copies of the postcard and then send them off to Person B, C, D and so on.

Posting adverts, press releases and bland corporate statements on social networking sites is a little like trying to hand out leaflets to people. You might get a little bit of interest, but that’s about as much as you’re likely to see.

Instead, consider publishing information in a much more appealing way, so that people will actually want to share your content with friends, family and work colleagues, thereby spreading your business name and profile.

You never know, you may end up with content going viral, but even if you don’t reach that level of marketing success, trying to create content which people will want to share is a far better way of using social media than as a lazy way of publishing press releases or updated content.