10 Rules for Social Media

Daniel Martin, principal and lead strategist of Aston Social a Digital Brand and Social Media strategy firm based in Melbourne and Brisbane, shares his 10 rules for social media.

Here is Part 2 – the second five

Listen to others

Flowing on from the megaphone, it’s equally important to listen to others when they have an opinion or when they have something to say. Listen to them and respect what they say, who knows, you might even learn something!

Don’t treat social as a silver bullet

Social Media as a digital medium tends to get a lot of good press. Evidently its going to be the death of print media and traditional advertising.

This leads people to think that it’s their silver bullet, it’s the thing that will change their world, bring their business back to life and solve their sales woes.

Now, whilst it’s an effective medium, it’s no silver bullet. Rather it’s one of a number of mediums, granted one of the more important ones, but still just one of a number none the less. Include it as an integral part of your overall advertising and customer engagement plan, then you’ll see they’re more than just the sum of their parts.

Throw out the advertising playbook

Forget everything you know about advertising, social media is pretty much the exact reverse. In traditional advertising you typically directly target your customer base. You go for specific numbers of people, with a hugely targeted and equally specific message. You also have a clear call to action, every time.

Social media is the opposite. Yes, you need to know who your customer base is, but in reality what you’re trying to do is to reach the largest possible number of people, some of whom may be your customers, some may not, but it’s really their friends that you’re after.

You see, in traditional advertising you buy impressions (reach). You buy a certain number of people to see your message. This is similar in Facebook terms to your fan number, the number of people who like your page. But the real beauty of social media is the people behind your fans. For example, if you have 2000 fans, then there’s potential for up to 2000 people to see your content. But if your fans engage with your content, then it’s their friends who start to see your content, and that’s the powerful part.

If each of your 2000 fans has 100 friends, then your potential reach is not 2000, but 200,000. A significantly different number! But you need to have content on your page that your fans will engage with, because if they don’t engage, you don’t get spread and your number stays much closer to 2,000.

Imagine a dinner party

We’ve all been there. The boring guy you get stuck next to at the dinner party. He’s got lots to say, but none of it’s very interesting and it’s almost entirely about him.

What do you do? Some people are good at getting out of it, others politely listen but ultimately everyone ignores him and switches off.

Social Media is one giant dinner party. Everyone has lots to say, but some people find better ways to say it than others.

So when you’re embarking on the dinner party of social media, remember to think about the conversation you’re having and whether it’s really a conversation or whether it’s just a big blast of noise that will bore the pants of everyone.

Catch the ball

When someone says something to you, makes a request or elicits comment, make sure you catch the ball and run with it!

It’s pretty common that people don’t answer other people’s direct comments or messages on social media. Direct messages that are left unanswered are very similar to repeatedly not answering someone’s phone calls and not replying to their voicemails. Unless it’s a debt collector, you probably wouldn’t do it!

So it’s very important online to answer and acknowledge anyone who’s talking to you. Either as a brand or as an individual, if someone is talking to you, talk back, don’t just leave them hanging.

What this means in practice is – if you’re on Facebook and someone either sends you a direct message, posts on your wall or mentions you in a post, it’s polite to at least reply to them, thanking them for their comment. If you’re on Linkedin, the same theory applies. It’s even easier on Twitter, where if people mention you, you get an alert and you can choose to react – advisable you do!

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