In the world of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so much more, can you even make a human connection beyond the digital touch? I believe it’s both possible and necessary. Gone are the ages of B2B or B2C. If you want to stand out, learn the art of H2H – or human to human connection on social media.

Most professional relationships start before an initial conversation, email or handshake. For this reason, it’s extremely important to be active on social media channels.

Social media is fast becoming the tool used in the vetting process of most decision makers. Most executives will at least “Google” a person or company to easily acquire information to help them make their decisions. As a company, social media must move from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ priority to compete in the marketplace.

As a brand targeting B2B customers, LinkedIn can be the social platform of choice. Facebook and Twitter can be a good choice for your B2C branding efforts. Look into a Youtube, Slideshare or Pinterest strategy, if that’s relevant to your brand. Whichever channel is best for you, remember that social media humanizes both, your personal and company brand.

So where do you start?

A true H2H social experience means your brand is using social media as a sounding board, a listening post, a growth trigger, or an engagement catalyst.

First, focus on building a reputation before you create a social media presence. Then, create an amazing business profile and use great visuals. Spare no effort to appeal to your target audience with informative and insightful content. Your profile creates your social persona, and is the most important aspect of your social media identity. This is essential to making that human connection.

Produce useful, user-driven content consistently and share it across social media networks. Also, be opinionated, but not overtly so. Taking a stand is crucial to building favorable influence – but always substantiate your opinion with facts.

One tip I can’t emphasize enough: Keep caring about what you share. Your hard-won influence will start to crumble if you just participate in social media to jump on the bandwagon, without any strategy.