Why Following Social Media Best Practices Is Killing Your Business

We have all read articles talking about how often to post on social media, how many hashtags to use or when the best times are to post on each social network. Hopefully you have even read them on our blog! These types of articles fall into the category of “industry best practices” and provide a great starting point for businesses new to social media. Unfortunately, if your business is using these types of articles as a blueprint for what a successful social media strategy is, then you are probably struggling mightily. Why? Because your business is unique and your social media strategy should be as well!

Show Off Your Personality

Social media was created to allow individuals to express themselves and connect with friends, family, like minded professionals, etc. The bottom line is, social media was created for humans. Before you laugh at how obvious the previous statement is, think about how many businesses act like robots on social media. Automated direct messages when you follow them, exactly the same form of content all day long, absolutely no humor… Starting to sound familiar?

Businesses have been scrambling in recent years to create social media accounts in hopes to become the next company to go viral. With a goal to become a professional social media marketer overnight, business owners begin reading best practices articles.

Before we go any further let me just say, these articles are a GREAT place to learn valuable information. The problem is, social media is not one-size-fits-all. What worked for one company doesn’t necessarily translate into success for another company. Instead businesses need to find their own success by trying, failing and refining (AKA trial and error).

Know Your Audience

Who is your ideal customer? Male or female? Millennial or baby boomer? Which social media network do they spend the most time on? Are they local or global?

These types of questions must be answered in order to succeed on social media. These same questions are what best practices articles can not predict. The ideal time to post for your business might be 2 a.m. depending on where your customers are, but you will not find a single best practice article recommending you post at 2 a.m.

Funny Tweet

A great example of a company that breaks a majority of the “social media best practice rules” is DiGiorno. But guess what? They are one of the most engaging brands on social media! They use slang, post jokes and tweet ridiculous stuff at other brands. They have a firm understanding of who their audience is and what type of content they want. With this understanding it makes it easy for them to deliver engaging content (no pun intended).

So… What Should Your Business Do?

Have you become discouraged, realizing that there is no blueprint for social media success? Well the good news is that your business has the same opportunity to succeed on social media as every other company! Learn who your audience is, go where they spend the most time, engage with them, provide value and learn from your mistakes by monitoring your efforts with social analytics tools such as eClincher. If posting 3 times a day works, then do it. If posting every 20 minutes works, then do it! Just make sure that people get to know who your business is when they follow you on social media. Copying what someone else found was successful simply doesn’t allow you to do this.

So the next time you read a best practices article or stumble upon a post discussing “How My Business Doubled Our Following,” understand that even if something works 95% of the time, it still doesn’t guarantee it will work for you or your business. This doesn’t mean ignore all content about succeeding on social media, especially on our blog, but make sure you are evaluating the effectiveness of your efforts and making changes when necessary. Social media marketing does not have to be hard, so don’t be afraid to break all the “rules” and become a business people cannot live without following!