Social media is constantly changing and ever-evolving, which means that what is effective today might not have the same impact tomorrow. With this, it’s no wonder why a lot of agencies, entrepreneurs, and SMBs find it hard to stay updated and to keep up with what’s going on in the space. They end up following social media rules that perhaps they shouldn’t.
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.
5 Social Media Rules to Toss Away (or Test)
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.
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.
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 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 rules apply to you? Definitely not.
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.
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.
On the other hand, you’ll likely have more luck when you use a combination of popular hashtags and lesser-known ones like #fitnesstipsforwomen. Check this out.
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!
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.
3. You shouldn’t repost old content.
This is one of those social media rules that really needs to go.
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 entirely new posts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5. Respond to all comments immediately.
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.
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 e-clincher, you can create saved replies and use this for similar queries instead of typing your message over and over.
Similarly, if you’ve received a serious complaint (which your followers may get to see), you might need to step back to assess the situation and plan your response. It’s best if you dig deeper into the situation or consult with the involved teams before writing a thoughtful response.
The same goes for when you’re dealing with trolls (or bot comments). Sometimes, your best bet is to ignore or hide these comments, especially if it’s not significantly impacting your brand.
Are we saying that it’s okay to leave people hanging? Of course not! Listen to what people are saying to and about you. Help them understand that you’re there for them and you can. You can do this by responding in a timely manner and answering to their needs.
But we’ve noticed that sometimes, brand owners will be very, *ahem*, passionate about responding to comments immediately. They think that their entire social media presence is going to crash and burn if people need to wait a day for a response.
It won’t. We promise.
Break (or Bend) These Rules Today!
Now that we’ve debunked the social media rules and learned the truths behind them, you have a better understanding of how social media can work best for your brand or your clients. It’s time to revisit your current strategies and start implementing tactics that can take your business to new heights.
However, we’d just like to reiterate again that nothing is permanent – especially not on social media. That’s why it’s important that you do A/B testing, consistently track your metrics, and make adjustments as you see fit. Always remember that what works today might not work a month from now. What works for one brand or industry might not work for another. The only thing you can really rely on is the data. Become obsessed with your insights, analytics, and metrics. They’ll show you the way.
On top of that, you have to stay updated and always one step ahead of the game.
That’s how we at e-clincher can help. We’re always up-to-date with the latest trends in everything focusing on digital marketing and social media. On top of that, we always keep our finger on the pulse, anticipating changes before they actually happen, so that we’re leading the pack. We’re proactive, not reactive. In the world of digital marketing, sometimes, responding to change after it has happened is already too late.
Ready to take your business to a whole new level? The time to take action is now. e-clincher is your one-stop-shop for everything and anything related to social media management. Sign up for our free trial today and experience what everyone is buzzing about.
Which one of these social media rules will you break first? Let us know in the comments section below.