Whether you’re a veteran digital marketer or new to the industry, you need to abide by the unwritten rules of social media marketing or you won’t achieve your goals. In simplest terms, you need to ensure all of your activities are consistent with your brand promise and follow the basic rules of social media etiquette for both individuals and brands.
It’s easy to get caught up in conversations and debates on social media that don’t match your brand or the reputation you want to create for it. Be careful, exercise restraint, and keep these rules in mind at all times.
1. Remember the Fundamental Rule of Marketing.
I always teach the fundamental rule of marketing to students, marketing professionals, and business owners before anything else. That rule says, “No one cares about you. All they care about is how your product or service can make their lives better or help them.”
When consumers pull out their hard-earned money to pay for the product or service that you’re marketing, they want to know their expectations will be met and they’ll receive adequate value. To that end, measure your social media conversations and sharing should be useful and meaningful to your target audience.
Follow the 80-20 rule where 20% or less of your time is spent self-promoting and the other 80% is spent discussing and sharing useful information that your target audience is likely to appreciate receiving from you.
2. Stay Focused.
It’s very easy to get distracted on social media, but it’s very important for digital marketers who are representing a brand (whether it’s their own or a client’s brand) to stay laser focused on the brand’s message. This doesn’t mean you can’t participate in diverse conversations, but those conversations shouldn’t run counter to your brand promise or the brand reputation you’re trying to create.
Why is this so important? The answer is simple and is tied to another fundamental principle of marketing that I teach: “Brand confusion is the number one brand killer.”
In other words, if your social media activities are inconsistent with your brand promise and the expectations that people have for your brand, they’ll turn away from it in search of another that does meet their expectations for it in every interaction. You don’t want that to happen to your brand based on your social media participation!
3. Know When Not to Engage.
Social media is filled with people who like to incite arguments, call other people names, and hide behind a veil of anonymity. Avoid reactionary responses to these kinds of conversations. Instead, take some time to consider your response, and remember that sometimes, the best response to these types of conversations is no response at all.
In other words, don’t add fuel to the fire. Consider the source and adjust your response accordingly. Most importantly, always stay professional in all of your social media conversations and activities!
4. Don’t Get Too Personal.
Be human but avoid getting too personal in your social media participation. As mentioned in #3 above, keep it professional! This applies to what you discuss on social media with consumers, too.
You need to know when you should guide conversations offline. For example, if a customer asks you a question about his or her account on Twitter, you should avoid discussing any information through Twitter about that person’s private account in response. It’s fine to provide general information on social media, but it’s never acceptable to offer any kind of personal information.