Social media is a phrase we hear all day, every day. It often describes what we post on sites and apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and others. But rather than define the term using a bunch of boring jargon that would only complicate things, perhaps the best way to get a clearer understanding of it is to break it down into simpler terms.
What is social media?
The “social” part refers to interacting with other people either by sharing or receiving information. The “media” part refers to an instrument of communication, like the internet. From these two separate terms, we can pull together a basic definition: Social media are web-based communication tools that allow people to interact with each other by both sharing and consuming information. It is the fastest and easiest way of interaction, but there are some things that we need to consider when using it to promote brands and businesses.
Here are the six simple commandments that every social media fanatic should consider:
Commandment #1: Thou shalt remain truthful.
Skip the temptation to embellish or inflate the truth online, especially since it can easily backfire and lead to potential legal repercussions. Staying truthful doesn’t just apply to social media, but to life in general. For instance, when a customer asks they haven’t received their orders from your website, the best answer is simply a prompt, “We apologize for the inconvenience, but rest assured that we are trying to get to the bottom of this delay and will update you as soon as possible.”
Remember that trust is the foundation of any relationship — real or online. Loss of trust can negatively impact both your brand and customer perception.
Commandment #2: Thou shalt not be indifferent to the voice of thy customer.
When you engage in social media, you commit to playing a role in the very public eye of customer conversations. Being so entails consistently having to acknowledge and respond to other parties’ opinions, and embracing both the good and the bad feedback.
Instead of letting your emotions run wild when someone posts a negative remark, take a moment to assess the feedback objectively. Constructive criticism not only presents opportunities to polish your business, but it also offers you a chance to engage in human exchanges, to apologize and pacify the situation. The goal is to create conversations, not critiques, and optimize the level of customer support provided to your audience.
Commandment #3: Thou shalt respect the hashtag.
Hashtags are excellent vehicles for highlighting topics of relevance, drawing audience’s attention and fostering fan engagement. However, they can also be dangerous when misused.
Often, brands overuse hashtags or place them in separate posts utterly unrelated to their niche for the sole purpose of driving added visibility. Unfortunately, doing so may leave viewers feeling cheated, especially when those hashtags add no relevant context to conversations. This deceitful use of hashtags can cause an adverse reaction to your online voice and ultimately hurt your business.
Commandment #4: Thou shall never underestimate the power of the internet.
We can find everything that we’re looking for over the internet, and despite its convenience, we can’t deny the fact that the internet isn’t 100% safe. The internet is rife with piracy, theft, and illegal sharing. If you feel that your product has been threatened by the impartiality of the internet, it’s best to find an alternative approach.
In some cases, the vulnerability of the internet is of great advantage. The music industry is one of the best examples that manifested a great benefit in using the power of the internet. Labels and musicians are able to limit the money spent on marketing by distributing free music as part of a promotional tool. Free music can be used as leverage for followers on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. The internet is a communications medium that functions more like a podcast than a large store.
See where you can adapt your business to fit to this new model. Is there a way you can make money by offering free services? Think about it: Facebook, Yahoo, Google, YouTube, and Pandora are considered as the biggest online companies offering free service.
Commandment #5: Thou shall focus on what’s best for you. Just study the newbies.
Nothing is constant in the world of technology. New trends will be discovered as new practices are being developed. But it works differently on social media. Your success on social media depends on your effective practices. It doesn’t mean that there’s no room for new discoveries. We can adapt the new sensation but never forget the ones that work best for your business.
The use of social media tools is a powerful channel to reach target audiences with strategic, effective, and user-centric interventions. Without well-produced, engaging content with a clear call to action, any and all tactics you employ will most likely fail. This tried-and-true trio of power is just as important in social media as it is anywhere else. Make sure your content is relevant and be clear about what you want your audience to do after consuming your content or engaging with your brand.
Commandment #6: Thou shalt keep it strictly business.
Business and pleasure rarely mix well in social media contexts. Personal and corporate accounts should always be kept separate. Remember that users following business accounts do so because they identify with the brand and expect related content in keeping with its core image and focus. Posting anything outside of this realm may prompt confusion or indifference, and has the potential to reflect poorly on your brand.
At the end of the day, if you are not providing value to your prospects and customers, you are not doing your job. Here is an easy test: put yourself in your prospects’ shoes and ask if you find what you are offering of any value. If it doesn’t, kill it and start over.
Need help following the six commandments of social media?
If you need help managing your social media pages, PrimeView can help build your audience and improve conversion rates on your existing social media traffic. Call us at 480-970-4688 today.