We all know that marketing is towards social media and so should marketing rules.  So here are three rules that are great for traditional branding, but that should be altered when working with social media.

1. Target a small, focused audience.

This is definitely a smart thing to do for standard marketing; however, when it comes to social media bigger numbers often mean better results.  That doesn’t mean go friend, follow, and connect to everyone. It just means find a delicate balance. Let’s say you sell flowers to small flower shops in your city.  If you only connect with those shops it could take a long time to spread the news about your company. For one, many of these stores may not have Twitter, Facebook, or even care to read your blog. Now let’s say that you target those same businesses, but you post content relative to a much larger (but still relevant) population, say anyone living or working in the metro area that likes or follows the outdoors, flowers, or city related pages. It’s only a matter of time before one of these people has a link to someone at a flower shop and they hear about your company. You certainly want the right people seeing your website, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work through others to get them there.  Think of making connections on LinkedIn or the theory of six degrees of separation.  News spreads faster when more people know about it.

2.  Focus on what you do.

Again, this is great for standard marketing but in social media, it’s a little less about what you do and more about what you know.  I’m not saying go write about anything and everything you know, but it may be helpful to reevaluate your content plan. Let’s go back to the flower business. By following a broader target of people, you now have openings to post content about more topics.  Instead of being a company that simply sells flowers, you can now be a knowledge source on the outdoors, events going on in the area, tips for growing plants, etc.  Do you recruit the best employees? Write about your recruiting plan (not all the details of course). Did you start your own company or continue a family business? Write about it.  People learn best from experience, so even if you don’t think you’re an expert, you’ve experienced things that people want to hear about.  Find interests that are related and give your opinion.  This draws in more readers and has a better chance of creating dialogue. If you simply don’t know about other topics, it’s a great reason to follow or connect with someone who does. You can have them guest blog, retweet what they are saying, or link to their site.

3.  Be formal.

It is important to establish who you are as a professional company, but that doesn’t mean you have to write formally and know all the answers.  If you don’t know something, ask!  If you aren’t getting viewers to your blog, send a tweet or blog asking what they want to hear about. If you can’t decide what to include in your new product or update, have customers vote on your website, Twitter, or Facebook.  These types of interaction keep people interested.  Some great examples of this can be found in all types of companies.  Google launched its Chromebook early to those who participated in an online scavenger hunt, Cottonelle ran a poll asking if people rolled toilet paper under or over, a small ice cream company lists their flavor-of-the-day only on Twitter, and the list goes on of companies getting people to interact with their brands. It’s a great way to gain followers.

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