We all know how it is, you get your hands on a social media position, or you start to run some serious social media for your business, and pretty soon it’s all going very wrong. You don’t know what you’re doing, and you’re making mistakes all over the place.
You need direction. You need some rules.
In this post, we look at the eleven unbreakable laws of social media. They are unbreakable because if you break them, well, some bad things happen. At the very least you may be looking at a wasteland on social media. At worst, you could be looking at a brand that is disliked.
Law One: Think before you post
Sounds like common sense? Well, it is. But you’d be surprised how many companies send out content on social media without considering the impact first of all. Whether it’s making an unfortunate comment about a competitor or losing your rag and going full on rage in a tweet, you need to always consider the impact of what you post.
Take a second just before you press ‘send’ or post’ every time. Read it through. Is it conveying the right message about your brand? Is it truthful? Is it going to hurt anyone?
Those are three pretty good test questions, we think.
Here’s more advice on things to do before you post a new piece of content.
Law Two: Always remember that real people are involved
This is a crucial one because it pretty much defines everything you do on social media. Remember that it is called social media and this all makes sense.
Every time you do anything on social media, remember that there are people involved somewhere. We talked about the impact in the first law. This law is about ensuring that you work hard to build and maintain relationships.
This means your branding has to be front of mind. If you are directly interacting with or at least broadcasting to customers and prospects, everything you do is part of the relationship building process. How are you acknowledging this in the way you write, post and share?
We’re not just talking about companies insulting their audience, that’s too easy. We’re also talking about how you build up a base of loyal people who actively look for your latest update. When you’ve achieved that, you’re starting to build relationships.
The upshot here? Make every post and update count towards the relationship you are trying to build.
Law Three: Listen and then listen some more
No company gets anywhere on social media unless it listens to what is being said online. Listen to what people are saying about you and act accordingly, obviously, but take that listening one step further and focus on what is being said about your industry.
The more you listen to industry news and opinion the more informed you will be.
It makes you a more professional outfit. When you’re selling, you can confidently say you know what is happening in your industry. It’s pretty safe to say not all of your competitors do this
Law Four: Be in the right place
This is important. Find out which channels your audience is on and don’t veer off the path.
Don’t be on Pinterest if you don’t sell to women. And don’t even go near Snapchat unless your demographic is under 18 (and pretty cool with it).
Be on the right channel so your efforts are not wasted. By not being on the right channel, you’re not just breaking one of our laws, you’re leaving yourself open to saturation and dilution.
Here’s our guide on choosing the right social media platform for your business.
Law Five: Don’t follow people you shouldn’t
We’re not talking creepy stuff here. We’re just acknowledging that it is easy to connect with people who have absolutely nothing to do with your industry or niche because it means you simply get more followers, right?
But when you’re trying to market to the audience (and possibly spending money doing so) you’re potentially wasting time and resources. And when you get an embarrassing tweet in your stream from someone who has nothing to do with your true audience, it just looks bad.
Keep it relevant. Keep it targeted. You might get less followers but your followership will be of a higher quality and you will see the results in a higher engagement rate.
Law Six: Create great content
This is something that is incredibly hard to do unless you have a solid plan. Creating great content means ensuring that the post you put out there has some thought behind it and taps into what your audience wants to see.
Create exciting, visual content by all means, and share it too. But the moment you do anything mediocre, people will start to wonder why you are at the party.
If necessary, post less frequently. In our study on posting frequency we’ve seen that posting less frequently can give a boost to the organic reach of your posts.
Just ensure you have quality at the heart of everything you do.
Law Seven: Be active
The most successful companies in social media share a lot. They know that people want to see good content, but the also know that every time someone shares their content, it helps spread it even further. Getting the word out means that your marketing is working. The more you share the better.
Share the relevant and quality content that you find, because that is just good manners. But also, now and then, share a blog post you wrote or an infographic you have designed. It all works out for the better because people will share it much further than you could imagine.
Identify when your audience is online. Optimise your posting schedule and publish new content on times of the day when majority of your audience is online. Here’s more advice on improving the engagement rate of your content.
Law Eight: Take it easy. Please
Head on over to Twitter now and chances are that you’ll find at least one person who is spamming you and/or creating an undying steam of worthless content that just keeps flashing up in front of your eyes. These people are annoying and they don’t understand rule number eight.
Social media takes time. Take it easy and stop updating like a maniac. Build relationships, but only do so when it looks like the other person would like to talk to you. This will mark you out as someone special in the horde, and will allow you to build ethical relationships in future.
Take your time, observe everyone’s behaviour, and then introduce yourself.
Law Nine: Interact and respond
If someone reaches out to you, and they don’t appear to be anything like scary or weird, then respond. It’s important that there is that reciprocity.
Check them out, if they look like someone you need to know, start a real conversation with them. Businesses have been built using this law.
Most companies ignore the messages they get and that is a social media failure.
Law Ten: Listen to the influencers
ILook for people in your industry who are influencers, disruptive people who are changing the way people think about what you do. Then listen to what they’re saying on social media. Take note, and follow their conversations. They know what they are talking about.
When you finally really get to know their flow and style, and subject matter on social, reach out. You may be surprised at what happens when an influencer enjoys your product so much so he or she shares it with their large and loyal audience.
Law Eleven (bonus law): Be consistent
One of the biggest reasons why people stop following others or start ignoring them at least on social is the ‘burst’ effect. This is where a business comes up with hundreds of tweets and posts and spends a few days sending them out there. After that the company goes quiet and ignores their own social media profiles.
When a business loses sight of Law Eight (check back in this post if you have to) and disappears, it looks really, really bad. Remember the last time you found out that a business just didn’t do what it said it would? Not good, right? Are you still doing business with them? We didn’t think so.
So there are ten (plus one) unbreakable laws of social media. Integrate this new understanding into your working life and you’ll soon start to see a return on your social media investment
Above all, let common sense prevail. A lot of what is outlined above in this post is just good old intelligent thinking.