Over the years I have wanted to encapsulate a few fundamental rules for any organization to fall back on when developing their social media strategy. Social media and business have had somewhat a love/hate relationship as many struggle while others see success. Similar to having a mission statement or defined company goals, your business social media strategy should rely on a few general pillars of success to establish a powerful plan.
I know it’s a bit bold to declare these pointers to be the “ten commandments of social media marketing” but they have been quintessential to my success, so I can only hope that they will do the same for you.
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1. Be Consistent In Your Social Media Strategy
Rule number one of social media marketing is to be consistent with your practices. That means posting on a daily basis and being committed to engaging regularly in the social stratosphere.
Here are some rough guidelines for posting frequency:
- At least one blog per week (two times is great but focus on quality vs quantity)
- Post one-two times per day on Facebook, same for Google+ (I personally limit to one)
- For Twitter, I generally recommend no less than five posts per day and no more than one per hour (engagement with other users not included)
- Avoid posting too many pins to Pinterest in a row or else it will bombard the home page of your followers
- On LinkedIn, update your status with valuable content one time per day to remain top of mind to your connections
2. Provide Significant Value
The best advice I’ve ever received that has impacted my social media efforts is to remember this one thing: nobody cares about your product, your service or your business.
They only care about the benefits they receive from it.
This means that you always need to lead with undeniable value that targets the specific needs of your demographic.
Some reliable, “tried and true” methods include:
- How-to style tutorial content (video-based and/or written)
- Free downloadable reports, checklists or mini eBooks (30-60 pages)
- Helpful, relevant webinar or teleseminar training sessions
- Blog content geared towards solving problems or answering questions your customers have
3. Actually Care About Your Audience
People can tell if you are using social media to promote yourself with zero interest in helping others. This turns people off and, no matter what you believe, caring about your audience cannot be faked.
You need to genuinely care about your audience and show this with thoughtful, unscripted replies and by taking the opportunity to go the extra mile whenever possible. The beauty of social media is that it spotlights these encounters in a way that was never possible before, but it must be genuine.
Caring about your audience doesn’t mean giving them “exclusive access to deals and giveaways”, it means…
4. Be A Human Being, Not A Corporate Drone
When interacting with people online you should seem like a real person, not like a bot or some copy/pasted script you use while sending out invites. Yes, your consumers want to know you are serious when it comes to what you offer but you can still humanize your brand.
The rising popularity of social media has consumers wanting to know who is behind the brand and they are more likely to trust your products or services because they trust you and/or your staff. Social media has created an immediate “open door policy” between consumers and brands so when you don’t reply to their messages, it’s the equivalent of ignoring someone as they talk to you at a cocktail party.
If you are going to commit to any of the social media platforms available then you need to commit to being accessible to your audience. This means responding to comments and message that require follow up in a reasonable amount of time. The acceptable response time will vary from business to business but as a general rule of thumb, strive to respond to all messages within 24 hours or less with a personalized reply.
6. Make It About Them, Not You
Who is this really about…you or them? Do people like Heinz on Facebook because they are excited about the company or the way ketchup makes their food taste?
When you look at the social media world through these eyes you see a totally different place. Marketers have an incredible way of screwing virtually everything up but one thing will never change…it always needs to be about them, aka your target market.
7. Thou Shall Not Spam…EVER!
There is a very distinct line between thoughtful commentary, helpful posts and downright spam. If you don’t know what spam is, the odds are high that you could be a social media spammer and not even know it. Spam is a big problem and no one likes to receive it. But here’s the biggest reason of all: it doesn’t work and makes you lose all credibility.
Would you go up to someone at a networking event and say “Hi, nice to meet you, now buy my stuff!” Of course you wouldn’t, so don’t do it on social media platforms!
8. Always Be Listening
Don’t forget to use features like ‘Twitter Lists’ and ‘Facebook Interest Lists’ to track and monitor specific segments of your audience. Keep tabs on prospects, clients, strategic partners and people who share your content so that you can remain top of mind through regular (and relevant) interactions.
9. Position Yourself As The Authority
Take the time to examine your online presence and determine if your “authority status” is properly conveyed through your messaging and branding. If you know what you’re talking about, you need to make sure that your ideal client can figure that out pretty quickly.
Always write bios and copy on social media as if you were speaking directly to your perfect customer so they can self-identify that what you offer is right for them. The goal is to have people read your profile and qualify themselves as a potential client very quickly.
10. Never Underestimate The Power of Blogging
This is one of those social media marketing tips that is so important, it cannot be considered a tip at all…it is absolutely vital to a successful online marketing strategy today.
Just a few of the potential benefits of blogging are:
- Enhance your authority and credibility (establish yourself as an expert in your field)
- Gain an SEO (search engine optimization) advantage
- Build trust and influence
- Get more website traffic and give them reason to come back
- Take control of your online identity
These are only just a few of the many reasons you should have a blog. Content fuels the social media marketing engine and a blog is truly the hub. To learn some effective blogger tips, check out this article and infographic: 10 Easy Ways To Write Better Blogs.
I’m curious to know which points have been crucial to the success of your social media strategy. Let us know your best social media marketing tips or experiences in the comments below.