The 7 Golden Rules of Social Media Marketing

May 8, 2016Social Media

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When it comes to marketing, each product can require a different strategy. Social media is no exception. Products targeting businesses differ than the ones targeting end-consumers. Those competing on prices may require a different approach than those competing on the basis of preserved value.

However, within my experience working in social media marketing since its early beginnings managing the accounts of startups and multinational brands alike, I noticed few rules for social media marketing, golden rules if you wish, that define success and help guide marketers on the right direction to achieving their goals.


1. Strategy Before Tactics

This is often the case of many companies who either hire a social media specialist (whatever that means) with no real background in marketing or rather hand over the social media responsibilities to someone from within the team to cut down on the costs of hiring a marketing professional or an agency. What happens next is that this person starts by posting news articles and different visuals they might have found on the internet or try to copy their competitor with no clear understanding where are they going with this. This might work for the short term but most likely won’t add any substantial value to the company’s marketing goals.

It is always a good idea to take some time before you start posting on social media or even choosing what channels you should be active on and try to create some sort of strategy and explain why this strategy is best for your brand and for the people you are trying to get to buy your products.

Of course, that may cause a delay in the marketing activities for a while, which your supervisor or client may not appreciate, but will definitely save you a lot of headaches in the future.


2. Who’s On the Other Side of That Screen?

If DJ Khalid was a social media marketer, he would say that the key to success is understanding your audience. Major key! Understand their mentality, what makes them tick, what could make them like your brand and build loyalty around it. Other than that, it would be like shouting in the dark expecting a coherent answer.


3. There’s A Time..

There are probably hundreds of articles discussing the best times to post on social media and that’s for a very good reason, the time you post could greatly affect how many people will see and interact with your posts. After all, what’s the use of good content if nobody sees it?

There are times that are good for reach, and others that are better for engagement. Sometimes are better if you want to post an article or a press release, and other times are best for lightweight visuals. Same goes for your social media channels; the times that are best for Twitter are not necessarily the best times to post on Facebook, even for the same piece of content.

Post Timing on Social Media


4. .. And A Place

Take a deep breath. Don’t be overwhelmed with all those social media channels. Step back and look at your strategy (you did build a strategy, didn’t you?), understand where your audience at (see how it is all coming a full circle?), and prioritize which channels you need to use.

You might need most of them, some of them, or start with one channel and then activate the rest. Also understand that even if your audience is active on a number of social media platforms, each platform might do better with a different kind of content or engagement strategy.


5. Not All Content Are Created Equal

People on the internet have a short attention span, and that’s something have an effect on what type of content attract their attention and entice their engagement. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video worth a million. The presentation of your content can make or break your content marketing more than the content itself. Even when writing a blog, the way you structure your blog layout and choose your headline affects how people like it and share it and wait for your next piece of content, which will help you grow your community and eventually build a loyalty and affinity for your brand among your potential and existing customers.


6. What’s In It For “Them”?

Them, being the audience of your social media channel. Why would they follow you on social media? What value are you providing them?

Don’t be product-centric and keep in mind that organic social media growth is not only about sales, it’s also for brand building, community building, and customer service. Of course, your ultimate goal is to sell your product, but if you want to turn your social media into an online salesman, you’re not going to retain the attention of your potential customer for long.

Make sure you’re adding value; value can be educational, entertainment, assistance (customer service), promotions (discounts and special offers), or any other kind of value that your audience might appreciate.

A good rule of thumb is to follow the 80-20 strategy: 80 for them (the value you are adding) and 20 for you (promoting your products and services).


7. Social Media Is Not an Isolated Island

With the rise of the “social media guru” phenomenon and many people coming into social media without a real knowledge of marketing principles, many brands have started treating social media as a separate activity isolated from their overall marketing strategy. Keep in mind that social media marketing is just that; marketing.

Yes, it is important to have someone specialized in social media, but this has always been the case for all sort of marketing activities: print design and production, out-of-home media, event organizing. This, however, should always be monitored and supervised by someone who understands the long-term strategic goals and how social media is being managed, even on a small tactical level, to ensure that your brand is represented well and understand what kind of effect it may have on your overall brand strategy.

I can’t remember how many times I have seen big brands engaging in harmful tactics that only aims to increase followers and engagement while having a negative effect on the brand long-term goals simply because who’s ever handling the social media’s main goal is meeting certain KPI targets to prove that their social media marketing is working without taking into consideration what damage there are doing along the way.


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