Unspoken Social Media Rules You Need to Know

Whether you prefer the Book, Gram, Snap or Twittersphere, if you are a living and breathing human being, you are probably on at least one social media platform. According to a recent study, 2.34 billion people are on social media in some capacity and that number continues to grow. Translation: social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

While most people are confident in managing their personal social media accounts, they don’t always recognize that business social media accounts should be treated a bit differently.

There are definitely some similarities between personal and business accounts. For example, businesses on social media can still participate in real-time conversations happening between regular people on social media. However, there are some unofficial rules businesses should follow in order to have a solid and successful social presence.

If this is news to you, and you’re about to start Googling “social rules for businesses,” don’t worry! We’ve got everything you need to know right here and it’s not as scary as it sounds.

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Know who you’re talking to

Like everything else in marketing, you need to know your audience first. Understanding their needs and wants is a must in any marketing capacity, but it is especially important in the world of social media. Do some research into the type of content your audience is looking for and craft your social media content to cater to what they want to see.

In addition to their wants and needs, you need to know their preferences and habits as well. Don’t waste your time trying to connect on every single social media platform out there. Know which platforms your audience prefers and stick to the top three. As for the timing of your posts, try publishing your content at different times to see what time your audience is most engaged. Then, stick to publishing your content at those peak engagement hours.

For example, if your target market is stay-at-home moms, consider posting early in the afternoon during peak naptime hours. That way, they’ll be sure to see your content while they’re enjoying some much-needed quiet time. If that post doesn’t get great engagement, try posting similar content later in the evening, after dinner time. If that still doesn’t work, it may be time to re-evaluate what type of content you’re posting or what platform you’re using.

Know who you’re talking for

You also need to remember who you are talking for. When it comes to writing social content for your business, remember to leave your personal voice at the door. In order to maintain a consistent and professional image, it is important for the language and images you use to have a cohesive look and feel. A solid marketing plan is a great way to get everyone on the same page.

Additionally, while all of your employees should be familiar with your business’s voice and style, it’s not necessary for all of them to have access to your social accounts. Designate one or two social media contributors who are responsible for posting and monitoring your business’s social media channels. Trust us, the less cooks in the kitchen, the better.

Play nice with others — even your competition

We are firm believers in treating others the way you want to be treated. And we believe the same approach should be followed on social media. Show your audience that you care by responding quickly to their comments or questions, and be quick to give praise when a user shares your content with their followers by giving them a personalized shout out on your business’ social channel.

When it comes to dealing with a controversy or trolling on your social channels, it’s best to deal with them head-on. Take any and all sensitive conversations off-line and don’t be afraid to report any abuse that’s happening on your page.

You should also be polite and respectful of your competition. Don’t be afraid to establish a professional and supportive relationship with others within your industry. This will show your audience that you are a team player and can appreciate the success of others without being a sour sport.

Follow the 5-3-2 rule

Nobody follows a business on social media in order to get bombarded with posts that are all sales-oriented or are of the “Look at me! Look at me!” variety. Your audience wants a mix of informative, helpful and entertaining content that will keep them engaged but isn’t overwhelming. That’s where the 5-3-2 rule comes into play.

A good rule of thumb to follow is that for every 10 posts you put up on social media, five should be posts from other sources (like an article from an industry publication), three should be posts of relevant content you’ve created (like this blog!), and two should be personal, fun content that humanizes your brand (like our #StaffPicks series).

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Be social

In case its name wasn’t enough of a hint, social media should be social! That means you shouldn’t just sit idly by while others are building conversations and connecting online. Join in. Like, comment or share content that you think your audience would enjoy.

Is there a conversation happening about a topic you’re passionate about or is relevant to your industry? Start talking! Your audience wants to see that you are engaged as a leader in your respective industry, and one of the best ways is to start getting social on social media.

If you like having a plan before you dive into socializing, take a look at our social media checklist first. It’ll help you get started off on the right foot.

Keep on keepin’ on

Are your posts not getting the engagement you want them to get? It’s not the end of the world. Try switching up the time you’re publishing your posts, or consider tweaking your content a bit to be more conversational. Making small adjustments here and there can make a big difference.

The most important thing is to keep going. Every post isn’t going to go viral. But if you continue to engage with your audience and stay active online, you’re bound to build a loyal following in no time.

Don’t have the time or patience to work on your social media presence? Our team is fluent in social media and would love to help you get on the right track. Let’s talk!

Pssst! For those looking for Instagram-specific best practices, we’ve got a blog that covers that, too.