5 Social Media Rules of Thumb

I’m often asked to give quick social media advice or little nuggets of wisdom to pass onto the small business community. I am happy to do it because I have a lot to say about the dynamic and confusing world of social media. I decided to pull these ‘rules of thumb’ into one post, as I find that we repeat these to our clients and prospects daily.

Don’t jump on the bandwagon. Social media sites like to create new features, apps and tools in order to stay ahead of the competition. My short advice is to avoid the shiny new object syndrome. Blab is an example. Even my most respected colleague touted Blab as the next big thing — and now it’s gone. The current battle in the trending war is Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories. I don’t know who is going to win, and frankly, I don’t care. As a general rule, don’t put a lot of resources into the newest trend until you’re certain it will be more than a passing fad.

Create a central space. Facebook is great, but you don’t own it — and if you’ve been active on the channel the past few years, you know they change the rules all the time! Own online space — such a blog on your website — and make that the core of your efforts. You can promote your space on any channel you want, but make sure you have control of it. Otherwise, as channels evolve and dissolve, your central space goes right along with it. Feel free to play the game of loading it to the LinkedIn long-form publishing tool or Facebook Instant Articles, but keep it on YOUR space, too!

Engage with people who already know and love you. Social media allows us to reach people we have never been able to reach before, but that does not mean we should forget those who are already promoting our brand. I highly recommend starting with your current clients and brand advocates as you grow into your social media space. They will be your biggest champions and referral sources. They will share your content and become your Alpha Audience. Reach for more, as you’re ready, but do not overlook who is already in your corner.

Allocate resources. If you’ve been active on social media, you may have realized that there are a lot of pieces to this social media puzzle– and you may not be certain if your business is equipped to execute all of it efficiently. It’s said that an organization that realizes its importance… invests in it. But that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. This could take the form of paid part-time staff dedicated to social media. It could also be an outsourced consultant or social media manager. (Wink!) The bottom line is that social media takes work — time, money and people.

Humanize. Broken record time! H-u-m-a-n-i-z-e. Humanize! HUMANIZE. No matter how we say it, the principal remains. If you are not sure why this is critical, just check out this link to dozens of past blogs on the topic. I have always advocated the importance of being human and encourage our clients to incorporate the human element in their business brand. Why? People form relationships — and relationships are built on trust. Yes, it’s true. People buy from people they know, like and trust. You do not have to share every detail about your life, but please share something about what makes you, well — YOU!

I have other nuggets of wisdom that I can share depending on the circumstances of each business, but this gives you an idea of the things that I am always advocating. Call them what you want: universal rules, rules of thumb, quick tips, nuggets, key takeaways, or points to remember. Whatever the terminology, be sure to label them as nothing more than… critical!