Tailor your social media strategy to the channel you’re on and the people who are using it, they say. We say, there’s only one social media strategy and it’s completely irrelevant which network you’re using. Follow these 7 rules to achieve marketing success on social media.
While every social media platform is indeed different and you have to watch out for different things and plan differently, some rules are universal for brands who are engaging in marketing activities on social media. These rules apply whether you’re on Facebook or Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest or Musical.ly.
1. Start building your social media presence in time
If you’ve been ignoring your accounts until you badly need them for your next campaign, you’re already way late. Building a presence on social media takes time and effort and it takes time to grow organically. So start now. What are you waiting for?
2. Don’t be a megaphone
Don’t be that brand who just yells its promotional content into the void. Talk to people, not at them. Engage, have conversations, reciprocate — people can tell when you’re just trying to get something out of them, instead of genuinely caring about them.
3. Don’t be a dick
Don’t be sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist etc. No brand has ever sustainably benefited from unacceptable behaviour. This is generally good advice for brands, but people tend to forget that social is very much a part of a brand and should reflect the brand’s values. That means hiring social media managers who are on board with the company values and have no problem sticking to them.
4. Be honest
People — consumers — like honesty. They like transparent ingredients lists on products and knowing what a company stands for. Honesty builds trust. And it extends to social media as well.
Don’t lie to people on social media, whether you’re answering questions about your product or reacting to customer complaints. If you make a mistake, own it and work hard to repair the damage.
Lies will come out eventually, especially in a time where user-generated content and user reviews play such a huge role in people’s buying decisions. The internet is pretty unforgiving when it comes to dishonest brands.
5. Don’t just be honest, be sincere as well
Mistakes do happen. When they do, it’s best to own them and apologise sincerely, instead of doing the fake “sorry if it hurt someone” apology. The problem with the fake apology is that “sorry if I hurt someone” really means “I’m sorry you are feeling offended even though I don’t think I did anything wrong”. The only real apology is one that says and means “I’m sorry that I fucked up and hurt you.”
6. Be helpful
When you offer customer service on social media, your standard answer to help requests should never be “Thank you for contacting us. Please, send an email to support@….” Chances are, your customers can google your support email address all by themselves.
The reason they turned to you on social media was that they wanted your customer support there and not via email. If you can’t handle social media customer service, don’t offer it. But better yet, learn how to improve your customer support.
7. Have a sense of humour
There are few things worse than a brand which has zero sense for irony or can’t share a laugh. Educate your customer service and social media teams accordingly. And, please, give them some leeway to be human instead of robots when they’re interacting with people on social media.
One size fits all?
Yes, alright, so you’re still going to have to create a social media strategy and plan everything out. But if you take these seven rules as something to base your behaviour on, you’ll be in pole position for whatever you’re planning to do: from day-to-day social media activities to planning a hashtag campaign.
This basic strategy really does fit every brand on every social network, given that it’s built on something as straightforward as basic human decency.