However, even with all the myths and misconceptions, it’s essential for marketers to identify which rules to follow and to avoid. Doing so will help you plan out effective and successful strategies for your brand.
To help you out, here are five social media “rules” you shouldn’t believe – and what you should be doing instead. Below are the 5 social media marketing rules to toss away (or test).
Social Media Marketing Rules #1: You should post when your audience is most active.
Don’t get us wrong: This CAN be your best option. But this is also a tricky social media strategy and an assumption that you don’t want to immediately make.
There are several details that you need to consider before blindly trusting this one. Some have more to do with your business and some with the target audience. First, competition is higher. Second, the most optimal time differs from a platform to a platform. And third, you definitely have to consider location marketing.
Posting when your audience is perceived to be the most active means that a lot of brands are also posting during that time. It’s when people’s feeds are more saturated and the space is most competitive. So, you have to work harder to get attention. Are there more eyeballs available to you? Yes. Will you have an easy time reaching them? No. In some cases, posting during “down hours” or when fewer people are active can be better, because there’s a higher chance of your content to be consumed. Yes, the audience might be smaller, but fewer brands are fighting for these people’s attention.
Social media platform timing differences:
Similarly, social media activities are said to peak during the mid-week. Yet, many platforms report that they also have high engagements during weekends and even in the evenings. However, knowing this doesn’t mean that you have to post all the time just to increase your chances of getting seen or viewed.
The prime times of posting is different on different platforms. So just taking the “posting when the audience is most active” rule as a general application mechanism does not work. There’s a general suggestion based on data that posting during working days early morning hours work the best for all platforms. But the most optimal working days do not include Mondays and Fridays.
The best hours to post on working days (again, posting on Mondays and Fridays will not gain the same engagements due to it being the first and the last day of the working week) on the most popular social media platforms differ slightly. These platforms include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. The hours range anywhere from 8AM to 12PM. It’s a bit later for Instagram, being 11AM.
And finally, if you don’t consider location when using time as a marketing tool on social media, nothing will go right. Firstly, your own location. If you don’t operate on the global scale, your main target is the local audience. Study and learn their social media habits. When are they most responsive? But that still doesn’t mean a non-local won’t be checking your online business account. If you don’t ship outside of a certain area, they may not be important when it comes to making a purchase, but they can boost your engagements. That helps business overall.
If you operate on a global scale, you have a lot more work to do. When is your target market most active anyways? Because there are time zones, and different commute times, different times for lunch breaks, even holidays and day offs differ. That’s where you need help. There’s no way a single person can stay up all day to post when it’s most convenient. Of course, we don’t mean literal posting. Please schedule all your social media posts. You will have to make a calendar beforehand and that will take some time but after that, scheduling will save you a lot of time, money and efforts.
The key takeaway is that nobody can predict when is the best time to post. You need to test different times, monitor results, and adjust your strategies accordingly. For your specific brand, you might find the off-hours get you the best results. Other brands might be the opposite.
Are there general rules of thumb? Sometimes. Should you assume that these social media marketing rules apply to you? Definitely not.
Social Media Marketing Rules #2 Use hashtags with a huge audience.
Hashtags are vital in social media. They make your content easier to find, help you gain more traction, and increase your reach and audience engagement. It’s not that you can help it. If you have a bag manufacturing business and you use Instagram to promote your products, you can’t avoid using popular hashtags like #bags #handbag or even more specific ones like #blackbag. These type of basics will have huge amount of posts under them. That means, two things: more audience and more competition.
Many people believe that using only the most popular hashtags will get the most exposure. For example, at the time of this blog, #fitness has over 401 million posts, which means that a lot of people are using it and it has a huge potential market. SMBs and agencies might see this and think, “Heck yes! I want in on that!” But here’s the thing. This also means that #fitness is extremely competitive and it can be challenging for you to be seen. Yes, it’s popular. But it might also be too popular.
So what is the way out? It’s quite simple actually. Use less popular hashtags alongside the basics. Yes the popular ones are necessary to get you anywhere within your niche. On the other hand, you’ll likely have more luck when you use a combination of popular hashtags and lesser-known ones like #fitnesstipsforwomen.
We know it might not look as exciting, but this isn’t about what “looks” exciting or fun or popular. It’s about what works. And like anything else, we’re going to encourage you to test everything — even the less popular hashtags!
Different hashtags work better on different social media platforms:
What works for Instagram might not work for Twitter and the other way around. Here, you have to consider the nature of the social media platform. Instagram is primarily a visual focused platform. It’s also very business oriented. Twitter is more of a news, information and daily life sharing platform. Of course it’s also great for certain businesses, like tech for instance. Less so for food or fashion. In fact, you can use Twitter as sort of a reviewing platform for these type of businesses.
So for example, if you use #fitness on Instagram, you will come across lots of businesses operating in that niche. The same cannot be said about Twitter. Here, the top tweets will be about personal fitness journeys or something similar. You can try to go viral using that tactic and plug your business under the viral tweet. Could be considered that in certain areas, there is less competition, so take that as you will.
On the other hand, using less popular or specific hashtags will get you nowhere on Twitter. Only your followers will see it. Unless you are super popular and can start a trend.
It’s important to be smart about hashtags and use only the ones relevant (and effective) for your brand. Consider this recipe for using hashtags:
- Three to five popular + three to five more that are less popular
- Three to five industry or niche-specific
- One to two brand-specific
- Again, it’s best to test a variety of hashtags and see which ones give you the best results.
Social Media Marketing Rules #3 You shouldn’t repost old content.
This is one of those social media marketing rules that really needs to go. To give you a simple example, think about how most Twitter users retweet their old tweets when one of the newer ones goes viral and they get engagements on their account. There’s nothing wrong with reposting old content.
Of course, you’ll want to offer fresh and up-to-date content at all times. But this doesn’t mean that you always have to brainstorm and create a bunch of entirely new posts. Then what happens to brilliant old posts that went unnoticed because you didn’t get enough engagements when you were just starting out? Why create a new post about the same content when you can simply repost. If your audience hasn’t seen it, it’s new to them.
Many of your followers don’t see everything you post. Thus, reposting previous content improves your posts’ results. Most often, these even rank better on search engines, improve leads and page visits, and take less time to create and share. Plus, how silly is it to put all this time and effort (and money!) into creating content that you share once? Why wouldn’t you reuse it? To only share things once seems like a horrible waste.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s okay to repost old content especially if it’s evergreen. Better yet, consider repurposing and updating them. You can do this by revising your posts’ titles and tags, changing the visuals, or updating the publishing dates. Another way is to turn old posts into several new pieces like e-books, online courses, or webinars.
Take note that we said evergreen content, which are posts with topics that are relevant and applicable for the long-term. Essentially, maximizing this kind of content helps you save you a lot of time, effort, and resources. When it’s time-sensitive content, that’ll be a different story. For instance, you can’t share a holiday post when it’s not that holiday, of course. Similarly, trends from 2018 cannot be reposted in 2022. You will most likely need to rewrite such posts and publish them as a new one.
Social Media Marketing Rules #4 Keep all content short and sweet.
Many marketing gurus will tell you that people have short attention spans on social media, lasting mere seconds before they get bored and move onto the next thing. Do we have short attention spans? You bet. That’s what social media, instant gratification, and “binging” on content will get you.
And this is why a lot of marketers believe that they should always keep their content bite-sized. For example, a Google study reveals that blogs with less than 1,300 words perform better. Another report says that videos under two minutes get the most engagement. So, why bother ever creating longer blogs or videos? People aren’t going to spend the time to consume this content, right?
Maybe, but maybe not. While these numbers can be true, the reality is that it actually depends on what you’re talking about and who it is for.
Benefits or keeping it short (or long):
Keep in mind that you must not endlessly ramble away without any direction. You need to constantly be providing value. Your followers need a reason to continue interacting with you. If your content doesn’t give them something that they really want, then they’re going to leave. In this sense, if you’re going to produce long-form content, make sure it’s on-point. Some brands will produce long-form, meaty blogs because they want to seem knowledgable and authoritative.
And that’s great! But then they just go on and on about nothing of value or importance. Here’s a thing though, If you are writing a blog post about tips and suggestions, or How To content, or maybe a review of some product, you are required to be thorough. Even if you have to create a lengthy post. The same way, there’s nothing wrong with providing detailed information about a particular product in a caption.
Differences on different social media platforms:
On Twitter, you are bound to keep things short. You can create threads occasionally, but the entire content shouldn’t be just that. On the other hand, longer posts and announcements work better on Facebook. Frequency balances things out. Shorter posts can be shared more frequently while longer ones can be published once a day. LinkedIn is another platform that prefers longer, blog like content. Instagram can be a mixture of things. That’s why they have lots of time features like Story compared to a Live, for instance.
All of this is to say that you shouldn’t limit yourself if you have a lot of important information to share. Always focus on providing relevance and value to your audience, regardless of word count and video length. Create a blog or video and keep creating until you’ve finished telling that specific story. If that means a two-minute video or 500-word blog, then great. If it means a 10-minute video or 2,000-word blog, then that’s great too.
Social Media Marketing Rules #5 Respond to all comments immediately.
Yes you should. Except YOU shouldn’t be the one doing that. And we aren’t talking about a social media manager who works 24/7. Of course, human managers are necessary. You should either hire one or take some time out of your busy day to do it yourself. But that time should be limited and as convenient for you, as possible.
Timely replies are an absolute must when it comes to successfully operating your business. However, nobody has that much time. No matter how big a business gets, they can never hire enough managers to stay alert 24 hours a day. Luckily, online chatbots exist. You have seen those on Facebook. Here’s a small list of things according to which you can customized your chatbot:
- Opening and closing hours, working days; If there is an upcoming holiday and you’re taking a day off you can provide the information about that too.
- Information about delivery and shipping. Put costs for both local and non local shoppers. Put the list of location where your business ships to. It’s better to create the list and just link it in a chatbot.
- Basic information about your products or services. For instance, about the material you use. If your products are eco friendly let the customers know.
- Id there’s an ongoing sale, giveaway or an event planned, provide that information as well.
Providing a prompt response helps boost audience engagement and loyalty, especially when it comes to Facebook messages. However, there are instances when replying right away is not possible or required. Sometimes you need to bend the social media marketing rules using you common sense.
For example, there will be days when you’re simply loaded with work. And you don’t have time to reply to all messages and comments within a matter of minutes. Although it’s a positive sign that people care enough about your brand to leave a comment, responding individually can take up so much time. Luckily, with digital marketing tools, you can create saved replies and use them for similar queries instead of typing your message over and over.