Are you plugging away at social media marketing and not seeing any results? Do you constantly change how you approach your social media marketing? Are you thinking about ditching social media marketing for your small business altogether?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are you are skirting outside the social media rules. Adopt these social media rules and not only will you get on top of your social media marketing, chances are, you will start enjoying it.
9 social media rules for small business success
1. Be consistent
With everything in life, from weight loss to learning how to play the violin, consistency is key. Set aside time every day to be active on and manage your social media. This means post regularly, no one will engage with a business that posts every now and then, when it suits you. And monitor your activity through insights and analytics on a regular basis so you can see what is working and what isn’t.
2. Be present
One of the biggest mistakes small business can make on social media is to post content then walk away, ignoring comments, complaints, questions or genuine sales enquiries as a result. Once you post your content, make sure you allocate time during the same day to check for any community engagement, and respond, this includes liking comments, dealing with complaints and following up on questions and enquiries.
3. Be strategic
If you are still using social media without a strategy, stop. Understanding the ‘why’ around your social media activity will give it purpose, help you keep focused and importantly, identify what it can and does add to your business. Without a strategy, your social media activity will continue to flounder, leaving you wasting a lot of time and feeling frustrated with both yourself and with social media.
4. Be insightful
If you are going to use social media for your business, you must know how to access and understand analytics that will give you the insights you need to fine tune your activity. Social media insights and analytics have come a long way over the past 12 months, giving you no excuse for not knowing who is in your communities, when they are active and what content is working or not. Facebook has always over delivered in this area, but now you can also assess your tweets and pins in-platform and your Instagram posts through free third-party platforms like Iconosquare or via Simply Measured. Then there is Google’s analytics machine for Google + and, more importantly, to tie it all up for you by showing what social media activity is driving traffic back to your website.
5. Have a schedule
Knowing what you are posting, where and when will not only help you stay focused, it will help keep you on track by helping you manage your time better. Running social media without knowing what you are doing or when can lead to social media overwhelming you. Planning your social media activity in advance, by platform, will help your social media management become easier, and it will feel a lot less ad-hoc and rushed (for you and your audience).
6. Be flexible
The social media environment moves at a rapid speed, just take a look at the rapid growth of Pinterest over the last 3 years and the broader uptake of Twitter & Instagram as daily use platforms, as proof. What this means is your audience could be moving to new or other existing platforms just as quickly. On social media, you need to be nimble and flexible enough to move with your audience, either as an additional platform or instead of the platforms you are currently using.
7. Be creative
Think outside the square when it comes to your content and social media platforms. If you are writing a blog, ask yourself if your blog posts could become video’s or podcasts, or your video content could become a whitepaper? Do you deliver presentations that would feel at home on Slideshare? Do you take photos for your blog that would make a great Instagram feed or Pinterest board?
8. Develop guidelines
Dealing with social media negativity is a major concern for most businesses. A simple way of managing this is to develop some guidelines that help your audience understand your ‘rules of engagement’ for your social media communities. If you are following the rule of being present, you or your social media team members can deal with any negative behaviour or comments swiftly by following the guidelines you have put in place.
9. Have fun
This is most important. Use your social media platforms to let a little bit of personality shine through and share with your audience a mix of interesting, entertaining, humorous or helpful content relevant to your industry, product and community.
Incorporate these rules into your social media marketing and you will quickly fall into a comfortable pattern of social media management. Remember – you control social media, don’t let it control you.
Do you utilise any other rules to help you with your social media, we’d love to hear them?