Social media is very complex and a constantly evolving medium. It’s no wonder why many struggle to figure it out and keep up. While a number have enjoyed quantifiable success, there are also many who failed, and the rest have still yet to figure out their social media strategy.
Failure is often brought about by overlooking the importance of understanding the concept of social media. The very basic question as to “why people engage in it?” as well as “what are the unwritten rules governing it?” While it is true that social media gives free exposure, many fail to carefully plan the message they want to convey, as they would have normally done for any expensive ad campaign.
Much like with dating – to have a success you need to woo, nurture and meet the needs of your network. To help you out, below are the following rules that apply to any type of social media user, whether individual blogger, business or non-profit. If you seriously want to harness a powerful platform to propel your business, acquire new clients, increase sales as well as enhance brand awareness, here are 8 golden rules you should abide by and respect:
- Social media is all about building relationships, not business transactions. Any attempt to overtly sell a certain product or service can easily damage your online presence. Consumers no longer have to think of excuses and come up with a polite “no” to a persuasive sales person, all they have to do is to click the “unfollow” button. Don’t make the blunder of using an autoresponder to thank individuals who decided to follow you on Twitter.
- Assign a dedicated social media expert. Don’t make the mistake of assigning anyone to handle your social media campaign. The person must be qualified and work independently as a social media evangelist and report directly to top executives.
- Focus on cultivating engagement and not on figures. The number of followers, likes and the size of network should not be considered as a performance indicator. There is greater value in maintaining a smaller network with regular interactions and active engagements.
- Define your target audience and identify specific area of expertise. Don’t try to cater everyone by being all things to all people. If you are truly keen to reaching power users, key decision makers and influencers, your content should be designed around your market.
- Content still is king on social media. As stated, social media is not a place to publish your award-winning sales pitches. Posts should be clear and concise, not emotional or impulsive. It should be carefully constructed and always politically correct. Twitter posts in particular should be free from any gimmicks or hidden strings attached but instead provide information, free resources and best practices.
- Update frequently and consistently. Social media campaigns are long-term and ongoing efforts, and work as an integral part of the company’s online presence. It is not an 8 to 5 weekday job. Published daily, however frequency depends on social media network and your audience. While it is suggested to do 5-10 posts on Facebook page, you can tweet much more frequently. Test to find your “sweet spot”.
- Make your social media profiles consistent. All social media streams and accounts should be lined to all pages of the website, include all the “like”, “follow” and “tweet” buttons.
- Social media profiles MUST be impeccable. Profiles are the first and most viewed page in social media platforms. But all too often, it is the most ignored aspect. All elements, including background, images and messages should be consistent with the corporate image and brand.
By following these rules you you can grow your audience on social media organically and avoid pitfalls.