The wild world of social media has rules? Yes. They’re unwritten, of course, but break them and you’ll pay a heavy price. These (mostly) aren’t edicts created by the social media platforms themselves – think of them as more social etiquette when on the sites. We all know what happens in the real world when we’re impolite or behave badly.
So what are these rules ostensibly drawn up, largely unknowingly, by society and policed by almost everyone online, including you and me? Let’s have a look, and see if you’re breaching them without realising it and hampering your online marketing efforts.
1. Take it easy. Frenetic activity on any social media site will raise eyebrows – you’re trying too hard, and creating annoyance instead of brand awareness. Post often, yes, with breaks in between (and always refer to your company in the first person plural – “we”, “us”). Let the message lie and impact instead of diluting it with others. And don’t overdo it with the hashtags: one or two is alright but any more and you’ll run the risk of looking desperate.
2. Adhere to the Pareto principle. The what? The 80/20 rule. On social media, it means do not oversell, or you’ll turn people – and some sites – right off. Keep 80% of your posts informative (adding value) and leave 20% to your marketing messages or sales pitches.
3. Monitor your channels. Social media is happening in real time and users expect almost instant replies when they send messages to companies on Facebook, Twitter or the other sites. So be quick to respond to anything that comes in, or interest might wane.
4. Avoid easy temptations like the plague. Yes, you may know that you can buy lots of Twitter followers, for very little, but don’t even think about it – having your account full of spam followers could be the ruination of you when customers and others see what you’ve been up to. Also, never be tempted to use hashtags created by other companies, for their marketing purposes; it just looks bad. And never, ever fall into the trap of “liking” your own Facebook posts.
Play by these unspoken diktats and we’ll all get along online just fine, and your brands will get more exposure than ever.