4 Social Media Rules for Businesses

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Social media on smartphone

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest aren’t just for Gen Y’ers any more. These sites are set to be one of the most important ways for companies to spread the word, with social media marketing budgets expected to double over the next five years. Companies must learn the rules now to ensure they get their social marketing right.

1. Offer Information of Value

It sounds like a no-brainer, but many businesses become preoccupied with promoting their own activities. Companies will quickly find their followers dwindling if they don’t balance this content with information of value.

For example, a footwear company might mix announcements about new shoes and sales with styling tips and details about the newest footwear trends. It might also share an article about the health implications of wearing high heels and ask its followers to weigh in.

2. Deliver the Right Message

Don’t make the mistake of thinking social networks are interchangeable. Each has a unique identity which should be considered when you’re creating your marketing messages. For example, Facebook users love pictures, while Google+ followers get passionate about brands.

Marketing professionals should take the information they’ve learned during their MBA to develop their core vision, then adapt it to their social media platforms to get the message right.

3. Post at the Right Time

It can be disheartening to note that many posts made to social media aren’t seen by many followers. Time-poor followers often glance at only the most recent posts. Some sites give preferential treatment to popular or recent posts. If your messages tend to fall flat, it might be time to shake up your posting routine.

Data analytics firm SumAll found that the best time to post on various platforms varies between social networking sites. For Facebook, it’s 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. EST. Google+ users tend to prefer early morning posts made between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Pinterest users are night owls responding best to posts made between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

The best time can also depend on your intended audience. Women often use social networking sites late, while office workers tend to check their social networking pages during their lunch breaks. Knowing the habits of your followers can help you get better results.

4. Design Social Media Conversations

Most businesses know it’s important to post regularly to maintain a social media presence, but many are unsure exactly what to post. They might promote sales or post funny videos or cute photos to capture the interest of their followers with little real thought about engaging their audience. If you’re guilty of this, it’s time to get out of this rut and start consciously designing your social media conversations.

One of the most effective techniques is to design conversations which will evoke an emotional response. You might want to make your followers fall in love, or make them angry about injustice. Conversations that provoke such responses can help you learn more about your target demographic and engage them in your brand.

Some rules might be made to be broken, but sticking to these guidelines will help businesses make the most from their social media marketing strategy.

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