As a member of Generation Y, society & businesses assume that I’m on my phone constantly and am a social media guru. This stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth. I have never had the latest SmartPhone or iPhone, didn’t know what Facebook actually was until I went to college, and more recently; I’m still a little foggy about Instagram & Snapchat. However, I don’t think I’m alone. Whether it’s a big corporation that’s been around for a long time, or a small business that doesn’t have the resources to hire a social media person, social media is still a mysterious beast to conquer. And even though it hasn’t been around long, it is an evolving phenomenon that can be overwhelming and confusing.
So as a longtime consumer, a late social media bloomer & an aspiring advertising professional, here are my social media rules:
Rule # 1
If you’re going to join the social media world, you need to stay constant & consistent. If you can’t or won’t do this, then don’t even bother. Consumers already have trust issues with businesses. If they see that you’re not “on” frequently and/or not honest with them, they won’t have anything to do with you.
Rule # 2
If you have decided to commit to social media, do research first. There are too many social media platforms to name and/or count, but you don’t have to join all of them just because it seems that they’re trending for the moment. Be part of the ones that will help show your business’ personality the best.
Rule # 3
There is a myth that if you have a lot of followers, then you’re good. That is not necessarily true. Having a lot of followers is a good thing but are they engaged and liking what you’re doing?
Rule # 4
How often should you post, tweet, etc.? Well, in my opinion, there isn’t a straight answer. It depends on what kind of business you are and your audience. I would start off every other day or 3-4 times a week.
Rule # 5
What should I post? Again, it depends on the business, your audience and the message you want to express at that given time. While Holiday posts, tweets, etc. are expected; don’t jump on the trending hashtag for that day. For example, a popular hashtag/theme is ThrowbackThursday, with FlashbackFriday and WayBackWednesday trailing behind. Don’t do all 3 unless it’s for a good, strategic reason.
Rule # 6
What is the best time to post, tweet, etc.? In one of my classes, I was told that 3:00 p.m. was the best time because it’s around the time that people at work are getting bored/tired and kids are getting out of school. However, this information is a couple of years old. I would suggest using analytics, and/or doing research or a survey to determine at what time your followers are most engaged/active. Be advised that the time could change day to day.
Rule # 7
Another myth out there is that millennials, and even Generation Y members, are digital natives/digital adaptors and therefore are social media experts. While I agree that there’s an advantage, using social media for personal use and using social media in a business setting are two very different things. For personal use, it’s not a big deal if you respond to comments or not, for a company not to respond to comments can be a PR nightmare. Consumers are more likely to voice their opinion when you’ve done something wrong than give you props when you’ve done something right. Whether it’s a complaint, rumor, concern, question, or thumbs up, you have to acknowledge everything. I’m not saying don’t hire a millennial or Generation Y member. What I’m saying is don’t hire based on age alone. You want someone that not only understands social media but also has the maturity & experience to handle the responsibility that comes with it. You don’t want the social media intern/manager/specialist to get into a namecalling match with your consumers.
Rule # 8
Why should social media be used? Because it is a marketing tool, it is the fastest way to interact with consumers & it gives you immediate results, unlike traditional media.
In conclusion, although social media isn’t mandatory, it is an avenue that should at least be explored. While maintaining a social media platform is a commitment, you’re not married to it, you’re married to the consumer; social media is just one method to keep the relationship alive. However if it’s not working out, then delete the page. Making sure the consumer is happy and that you’re giving them what they need is the top priority in this partnership.
Written By: Kayla Jones