The unwritten rules of social media

There are specific unwritten rules of using social media. It is important that you become familiar with them straightway as people get very upset if your break them. It is vital that you understand the culture of social media so here are some core principles that you need to know before you start. If you follow these rules you won’t go far wrong:

unwritten_rule_social_mediaBe authentic and open: Don’t big yourself or your business up by pretending to be something or someone that you are not. Always behave in a professional way. Be yourself, be authentic and people will trust you.

Never go for the hard sell: Most people use social media to relax and for entertainment, so don’t focus too much on selling products. Instead, provide useful content that your community will value. Your content will ‘warm up’ your prospects for a later sale, particularly if you are selling something related to the content you are sharing.

Build social currency: What does that mean? It means that you have to establish your social media presence first which will eventually give you ‘permission’ to use it for marketing. Once you have been on social media sites for a while, you will have more credibility. People will take you more seriously and listen to what you have to say. If you simply join a social media site and start giving the hard sell, you will be ignored and seen as a nuisance. However if you share valuable content and are informative and helpful you will gain peoples trust and they will be much more interested in what you have to offer.

Don’t view it as just another marketing channel: A lot of small businesses don’t fully understand social media. It requires a totally different approach to traditional marketing. It is not a quick fix for instant sales. It requires commitment and investment of time and energy. If you don’t have the time to do this yourself use a company like ours who can run your social media sites for you.

Don’t treat it as a one-way broadcast medium: If you just use it to blast messages out, you are missing the point of social media. It becomes far more interesting and effective when you use it to start conversations with members of your community. Make a point of replying to some of your Tweets, retweet others and comment on their replies. Remember, it is not just about you. It is called ‘social media’ for a reason. Be social.

Be patient: As mentioned earlier, social media needs a long-term approach. For example, a new blog takes a good six months to establish itself and build a following. You will need to spend time and effort building and maintaining your online presence before it translates into sales. Your investment will be worth it because that online presence, once established will continue to build and provide you with an essential source of potential clients and customers.

There are so many tools and marketing strategies….where do you begin?

It’s true. There are a lot of online marketing tools out there that help with your marketing campaigns and enable you to build relationships with your prospects and customers but where on earth do you start?

The first thing you need to realise is that you don’t have to use everything. You can pick and choose which tools would be best for your business.

Many of your activities on social networks will be aimed at driving traffic to your website or encouraging people to sign up to your email newsletter or mailing list. These things work best when used together.

New tools and resources crop up all of the time which sometimes makes social media harder than ever to keep abreast with. Platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Vine and Google+ have been the biggest successes in recent times but there will always be something new that will be hailed as the next big thing.

Instead of trying to get to grips with all of the new tools at your disposal it is much more important to stay focussed on your marketing plan than the tools themselves.

If you have a sound marketing strategy in place, you can apply the same principles to any new tools that come along. Don’t be distracted by the hype that surrounds all of these new sites.

Focus on using proven online tools and social media networks to reach your customers. By all means keep an eye on new platforms but make sure you ask yourself if it looks like an interesting way to connect with your community and most importantly if your customers are using it. If not then you don’t need to be distracted by it.