The essence of social media is connection and engagement. Social networks have connected the world like never before. People are so enchanted by them that “sharing” officially became a thing. Everything happens on a social media platform — including the world’s biggest bankrollers who aim at taking “sharing” into another level and turn followers into loyal customers.
A research by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth found that 77% of the Fortune 500 companies are active on Twitter, 70% manage a Facebook account and 69% upload videos on YouTube.
Companies spend millions for successful social media engagement with their target audience. It’s easy to see why. Local shopping platform Wanderful Media confirmed in a study what we already know. It found that 91% of consumers “have gone into a store as a result of an online experience.” In particular, consumers seek personal reviews on social networking sites. A study by Market Forces posted on Forbes revealed that 81% of U.S. consumers admit that their purchase decisions are influenced by posts from friends. It also found out that 80% “tried new things” because of friends’ recommendations and 78% said posts by companies impact their purchases.
However, the question is: are they really getting it? Are these companies really able to fully utilize social media and what it can do for them? There are a ton of social media marketing strategies that are “trending” but are “unliked” now. In short, there are old school social media rules that you might consider breaking. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said so himself: Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.
Old school rule #1: Simple text updates work
No, they don’t. In fact, even Facebook junks the idea and even asked Page Owners such as companies and organizations to stop flooding news feeds with text updates. In a blog post, Facebook’s news feed ranking manager Chris Turitzin said they are working to improve ranking algorithms to differentiate between posts from friends and Pages. This also means a decrease in distribution of text status updates and increases for other story type. In short, text updates won’t be shown as much.
What to do: Turitzin advised Page administrators to be more visual, use pictures, post videos, and use the link-share option to get more engagement like comments and shares.
Old school rule #2: More followers for the win
There is no point trying to beat Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber in terms of Twitter followers. Remember the old rule: quality over quantity. Remember also that you can buy 35,000 Twitter followers overnight for $20. Remember that you won’t gain anything from followers who will “like” you once and just hope that you “follow” them right back.
The number of followers is a come-on. However, do not be obsessed by it. Social media metrics are not about the number of fans or followers but about engagement — how many shared your content, how many comments you earned, etc.
What to do: Optimized your content and come out with something great every now and then. Make it so great it would be a sin not to share it. This is not abandoning metrics; it is simply putting it in its right place.
You don’t have to be everywhere. Social media marketing costs money so focus your time and energy on what really works. Ask yourself: will jumping on this social network help my brand get ahead?
What to do: Know your social demographics. If your customers are not there, what’s the point? Find out if you have the time and resources to manage all accounts. Face it: you can’t be everywhere and be successful on all fronts. Remember that the more spread out you are, the less you can connect with your audience.
Old school rule #4: Be there, all the time
In as much as you don’t have to be on every social network, you don’t also have to be on every news feed — all the time. Social media metrics are also not about the number of posts but how many actually mattered.
Do not overshare. Do not flood your followers’ news feeds. It is annoying. A self-serving tweet like: “X” company is awesome followed by several re-tweets of the same stuff does absolutely nothing.
What to do: Manage your posts and filter them. Plan your intervals. Give your audience something they actually need. A market Force survey found that what U.S. consumers “like” the most are businesses that post discounts and incentives (79%) and post details on sales and events (70%). When it comes to posts, don’t go for the “most” but go for the “best.”
Old school rule #5: Delete bad comments
Leave bad comments alone. These followers took time to review your page and your product. If they are angry at you, maybe rightfully so, deleting their comments will not make them less angry. Doing so will make you look rude.
What to do: Address them if you think you have to. Make sure that your page administrators are empowered to mitigate each problem individually and quickly. Learn from them but leave them there.
Old school rule #6: Don’t answer everything
There is a thin line between being friendly and being pathetic. One simple “thank you” after a series of commendations from followers is enough. If all you have to say after a bad comment is “thank you for your feedback,” don’t say it.
What to do: A conversation that doesn’t seem to end tends to drag and you don’t want that. Don’t ignore but don’t reply to every post or request for a re-tweet. Go for real social interaction.
Old school rule #7: Good content reveals trade secrets
Do not let competition stop you from posting great content. No, it won’t reveal trade secrets but rather send the message that you are a threat. Halting content production because of such fears will only cause digression in social media goals of the company. Share useful content and don’t hold back.
What to do: Keep the playing field equal with social media listening. You can’t keep competitors from monitoring you so listen to what they have to say too. An effective social media marketing strategy should not be about you alone. Competitor relationship is also necessary.
Old school rule #8: Post only when they are online
You want to get your message out to fans but you should not only post when they are online. Followers have different social media habits so switch up your post intervals every now and then. If you keep reaching the same people, you won’t increase engagement.
What to do: Post during peak hours and mind your timing. Don’t miss out on fans and potential loyal customers who have different schedules.
Social media habits are constantly evolving. There are no hard and fast social media marketing rules that will remain relevant until the next generation. Risk breaking commandments and keep up with social media trends. Remember that social networks are just tools, they are not the strategy.
Emily Harper is an Environment and Sustainability Advocate. She is also fond of analyzing home structure and design and has been a Home Stylist and Consultant. She loves to write about home improvement, business, marketing, and green sustainability.