20 key rules of social media
Let’s be honest, social media provides a great opportunity to place your brand on the global map. It is, after all, the most basic and crucial marketing tool out there.
Websites and social media platforms – like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – offer myriad ways of extending your visibility to potential customers. Use them to amplify your content otherwise it’s very likely you’re missing out.
With this in mind – and with much ‘gusto’ – you set about creating your accounts, setting up your pages and posting a few things about who you are and what you do.
Job done, right? Not so fast!
You may understand the importance of having a digital presence but how much do you know about setting up and managing these platforms, platform etiquette, engaging with your audience and converting them into customers? For most small businesses, social media presents a minefield of information and can lead to a huge amount of time and money wasted if it’s not done right.
The key is to remember this:
Your social media platforms are your digital shop windows, warehouses, and customer service centres. They require the same level of focus, etiquette, professionalism, communication skills and attention to detail as your bricks and mortar business.
Performing initial assessments on how businesses use their websites and social media platforms – what they are saying, how often they are saying it, what is the level of interest and engagement they receive and how successful are they at standing out against their competition – can be very revealing. Businesses can fall short in basic etiquette and knowledge.
There is a huge amount of information available online specifically tailored to each platform but here are 20 key rules to get you started:
1. Know your audience
Personas can help you pinpoint your key audience. Done well, personas help you precisely align your content with your target prospects so you draw them towards you.
2. Keep it professional
We love looking at your cute cat pictures too but your potential client may find them a complete turn-off. Think carefully how important it is that prospects share your passions.
3. Create an engaging profile
No ‘we, we, we’ … focus on what your audience needs.
4. Stand out:
Do you have a sustainable competitive edge? Committed to your local community? Dare to be different? Define your vision, mission and values and spread the word!
5. Don’t be a robot:
Humanise your content – use the same tone, ‘voice’ and language you would use if the potential customer was standing in front of you. It’s a conversation after all.
6. Take control:
Read the information pages for each of the platforms and understand what each section does and who has access to it. Customers posting on Facebook ‘what a nightmare your car park’ is, is not doing you any favours.
7. Always give credit:
Using an image without permission or a licence or copying content can get you in hot water. If in doubt – leave it out.
8. Don’t bad-mouth anyone
Be nice – no matter how unprofessional they may have been.
9. Take your disagreements offline
If someone has posted a contentious comment, ask them to discuss it offline.
10. Be available
Respond to comments and messages, quickly! If you can’t be online all the time, set up an auto responder in messages to keep your response rate high.
11. Stay fresh!
Nobody likes to hear the same story five times – create fresh content and post regularly. Remember to retweet or repost relevant content too – it all counts.
12. Don’t be lazy
You wouldn’t wear trainers to a black tie do – create fresh relevant content for each platform.
13. Don’t spam
Nobody likes a spammer. If someone’s not interested in you, leave them be.
14. Think before posting:
Would you feel comfortable saying this if your potential customer was in front of you? What about a competitor? At a public meeting? At a parents’ evening? A family gathering?
15. Don’t be needy
Pleading and begging have no place on social media platforms.
16. Be creative
Posts, videos, pictures, infographics, give-aways, how-to tutorials, behind-the-scenes. You get the picture. Creating a social media calendar can really help you plan and stay organised too.
17. Help more than you sell:
No-one likes a pushy sales person. Be informative.
18. DON’T SHOUT
Need I say more? Avoid writing in all caps.
19. I before E
Basics – check spelling and grammar before you post. The way you do one thing (such a tweet) reflects on how you do everything.
20.Don’t give up
Social media can be a slow burner – like everything in life, it needs time, patience and consistency.
And finally, above all – enjoy it.
Social media enables you to engage directly with people who are seriously interested in buying your product and services from all across the world.
Just imagine who could be out there waiting to find someone just like you and your business. How exciting is that.
Further information on how you can: