Social media marketing is the act of using social media (ie Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) to promote a business.

Many companies will want to start their own social media marketing campaign and create a Facebook page or Twitter account. The problem is, they have no idea how to run a successful social media marketing campaign. Here, I have listed 10 of the most basic rules when it comes to social media marketing. Follow these rules to have successful accounts on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

The 10 [basic] Social Media Marketing rules

1. Update! You shouldn’t even have to list this as a rule of thumb, but many forget how important it is. You should try to update it daily, because when consumers visit your page and it has not been updated in more than a month, they will assume that it is inactive and decide not to follow your business. Also, they could easily go with your competitor because their page is so active that they feel that companies will serve them better. You don’t want that to happen, so update your social media accounts regularly!

2. Don’t throw! You are not Billy Mays. So you don’t need to yell at consumers telling them to buy your product or use your business. Social media is meant to connect, not launch. If your consumers feel like they have a connection to your business through your Facebook or Twitter page, they are more likely to use it rather than another business that doesn’t make a serious effort to connect.

3. Communicate with your audience. If you don’t think it is necessary to reply to comments, answer questions, or join the conversations on your page, then social media is not for you. You must be part of the conversations on your page. Otherwise, you will lose touch with your customers and what they want.

4. Choose wisely. What you say will forever remain a public record on the Internet. Choose wisely what you post on your page. I can’t stress that enough. If you hire a company to publish for you, be sure to hire someone you can trust. And remember, if you manage your social media yourself, only post what you’d like to see on the front page of the New York Times (or the Huffington Post).

5. Handle angry customers with class. Some customers are just having a bad day and want to get you off their page and blame you for everything. Please do not delete any negative comments. Instead, ignore it if it’s just a comment (unless the comment is in foul language and is completely inappropriate). If you’re in a situation like Nestl√© about a year ago, where everyone protested on your Facebook page, post an update saying your company is taking steps to fix the problem. Never respond directly to an individual, you will never win. Also, never make promises that you can’t keep.

6. Link with others. If you find something interesting (and relevant) on the web, link to it on your Facebook or Twitter. Explain why you find it interesting (and relevant) and ask for their opinion. Link to other companies, articles, interesting websites, whatever. Just be sure to ask yourself before posting, Is this relevant to my business?

7. Share! Don’t be afraid to show your consumers what your company employees do when they are not in the office. Take photos of your office picnic, philanthropic event, or even a run / walk for a good cause. These photos create a positive image of your company for your consumers. They want to know that you are human and they don’t wear ties all the time. If it’s a casual Friday at the office, take a group photo of everyone wearing the company polo shirt and post it right away so others know what’s happening in your office in real time.

8. Start a weekly trend. If you do something once a week, on the same day every week, your followers will likely come back on that day every week. For example, if you have a shoe store, every Monday you can post the shoe of the week. Include an image and promotion for the shoe, as a percentage off for that week only. If you post every Monday, consumers should check every Monday to see which pair is promoting that week and walk into your store to buy. It’s a great way to drive customers to your social media pages, as well as your store.

9. Link to your blog. You put a lot of effort into writing that amazing post about trendy heels for spring, but no one reads your blog. Link it on your Facebook, Twitter, etc. Don’t do it all the time, because if that’s the only thing you do to update your social media, people will get bored of you very quickly. But at the same time, don’t be afraid to link to your blog. You put a lot of work and effort into it, and you want people to read it!

10. Spread the word! If you have Facebook, Twitter, blog, YouTube channel, etc. you really need to tell people. They’re not just going to assume you have them. Put them on your company website, on your business cards, sign up for your store that says “Add us!” with all the little logos for each site next to the copy. Don’t be afraid to tell your customers that you are on Facebook. If they like you and your product, they will share it on their Facebook and say, “Hey, I’m a Sally’s Shoes fan and I want everyone to know!”

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