Rules of Social Media Engagement (For Business)

The social landscape changes quickly. Platforms and trends can move in and out of fashion faster than planking pics on your friends' Facebook page. (You do know it's all about "owling" now, right?) So what is a growing business to do? Keeping abreast of what's new and what's about to be big is key, but growing a thriving community is just as important. Here are a few tips for keeping it all together:

  1. Establish one person to manage your social efforts — Relying on one social media manager to stay on top of the new trends and strategies (like deciding where you'll have a presence and how) will keep your efforts efficient and on-point. The last thing you need is too many cooks in the kitchen.
  2. Keep sales out of the equation — Your social channels should exist solely to build trust, friendships, and share ideas, not to make a sale. You've got enough advertising on your website, pre-roll on your videos, and pop-up ads to help support the business that you shouldn't need to extend the sell into someone's Facebook feed. (And if you don't, then you should probably take another look at your business model.) Putting a "sponsored post" in the news feed of your hard-earned fans is a fast and easy way to get blocked, or worse — dun dun duuuun — unfollowed.
  3. Know the numbers, but know they aren't always the most important — It's true that every business effort should be quantified, and proving the ROI of your social media program will help you see where you're succeeding and where you can make improvements. But the truth of the matter is, if the whole point of social media is to be social, then you should focus more on engagement than your follower count. I'd trade 1,000 dummy and/or spammy Twitter followers for one or two really engaged and connected ones, since they're more likely to share your awesome content (which brings me to  . . . .)
  4. Create amazing content — People won't flock to your blog or business page just because you will them to. You've got to give them a reason to go, and even more reasons to keep coming back. Even if you're a B2B, your business blog can be a great way to connect with like-minded individuals. HubSpot works this angle like a champ — they're selling marketing software, but it's side-hustled its way becoming a top resource for marketing information, case studies, tips, and much more, so even if you don't need the software, the company knows you'll probably keep coming back for the rich content they provide. Win-win!