Unwritten rules of social media (Part 1)

Back when social media is still on its early stage, users -- marketers included -- are operating largely based on intuition and common sense. But as the online population grew exponentially, so did the need for more definite rules, if only to maintain some semblance of order. The thing is, the so-called "rules" are ever-changing so it makes sense that they are mostly unwritten.

But if that's the case, then what are we to do as marketers who are trying to maximize the social media platforms to connect to our target market? We adapt.

And since we at LGO are feeling extra generous, we thought we'd with you what we've learned so far. After much research, observation and a bit of trial and error, we have come up with five rules that are generally applicable across different social media platforms (for now):

Update daily. As much as possible, post several times within the day. However, this takes a lot of sensible discretion for you do not want to flood anyone's timeline (a sure fire way to get unfollowed). A good strategy would be to allow for an interval of a couple of hours before you post another update.

Be responsive. When users comment or engage you in a conversation, you'll be in their good graces if you can reply within an hour. Remember, these people are already used to "instant" stuff so they'll be expecting you to be online round the clock, ready to answer them.

Don't be too hashtag-happy. Two hashtags in a tweet are okay but anything more than that borders on annoying. For one, it's an eyesore; for another, you'll hardly have space left for the message itself. Keep your hashtags at a maximum of three per post and you'll be fine. (Note: This rule does not seem to apply to Instagram where hashtags are being generously used in place of a proper caption.)

Your audience must always come first. Yes, we know you're on social media to reach out to people and sell them stuff, but if you're going to be effective, you've got to leave the traditional mindset behind. In social media, your top priority is to entertain your audience; promoting your brand only comes second to that.

Use a friendly/casual tone. Companies have learned this over time -- using the first-person plural (e.g. we, us) sounds more informal, therefore more friendly to the eyes (ears) of the audience. Employing casual tone in company posts is all too common today and you'll hardly find any that uses formal language when dealing with customers.

Check back next week for the continuation of our series regarding social media rules. If you hardly have time, feel free to consult us about a suitable social media campaign for you or your brand.

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