15 Rules of Social Media Marketing
Welcome back to another episode with Heather Heuman. In the last episode, we discussed how to grow a business organically on social media. Today, we’re going to discuss Heather’s 15 rules of social media marketing from her book, The Golden Rules of Social Media Marketing.
#1: Be Clear
Customers crave clearity. The easiest way for us to be good at our social media marketing efforts is to be clear on how we can help our customers. Remember, our customers want to know what’s in it for them. What value will our products add to their lives? What problems will our services help our customers solve? We should break down our offering to make it obvious.
“Your customers are craving for you to be clear,” Heather said. “Stop trying to be fancy; break it down to where a fourth grader understands exactly what you do and who you help. I believe that is going to make your social media marketing more effective.”
#2: Listen to Your Customers
We need to listen to our customers. Social media gives us the opportunity to directly connect with our customers. We can ask for advice and build relationships. When we listen to our customers, we can take their feedback and apply it to our brand and products. If they don’t like something, we can fix it; if they love something, we can focus on promoting that specific feature.
“[Social media] is this revolutionary opportunity to have this two way street dialogue,” Heather said. “When you truly listen to what [your customers] are saying, then you can turn that into amazing content.”
#3: Be Awesome
If we want to get our target audience’s attention, we have to stand out. When we create incredible content our customers love, they want to share it with others, leading to word of mouth marketing. In most cases, people don’t trust us when we tell them we’re awesome. That’s just not credible. We’ve got to get good enough that other people want to tell the world we are awesome because they love us so much.
“Be so awesome people shout it everywhere on social media,” Heather said. “I believe in this idea of just showing up; lead with value. . . . There are so many people that when [good] things happen, they instantly are wired to . . . tell other people about it.”
#4: Gain Visibility
It isn’t about who we know or what we know, but who knows us. Our job as an online business should be to gain visibility and get out there to make sure our customers know that we exist to serve them. This means that we can’t just create and post content. We have to find customers and communicate with them.
“I think sometimes we’ll get in the silo and we’re just like, social media is my Instagram feed,” Heather said. “But I think we’ve got to be top of mind. We’ve got to be going out there and having these conversations. We’ve got to be drawing other people into our social media content.”
#5: Understand that Connection is Currency
Connection is the new currency. If we want our business to expand and increase in success, we have to create connections with our customers. When we connect with our customers, we build trust and credibility. The more our customers trust us and know us, the more likely they will buy from us. Instead of just using social media to talk about our brand, we should use it to communicate with our customers and create connections.
“Think of [connection] as the $100 bill that you’re going for,” Heather said. “The likes, the comments, the shares, and all of those things are great but there are deeper levels of all of it. . . . It’s important for us to truly value connection in our marketing and I think it will uplevel the way that you and I will all show up every day in our marketing.”
#6: Follow The Golden Rule
We should treat others the way we want to be treated. When we follow this golden rule, we are making sure our customers are continually treated with empathy, respect, and kindness. Even if a customer leaves a bad review, we should try to be understanding and remember that they aren’t just a profile, they are human.
“You want LinkedIn reviews? Have you left one recently? You want Google reviews on Google My Business? Have you done that for anybody lately?” Heather said. “When you show up in that mindset . . . it can greatly impact your business.”
#7: Go Where Your People Go
We should try to find spaces where our customers already spend time on social media. We don’t have to be active on every social media platform. We don’t want to waste our time posting content on eight platforms our customers aren’t active on. Instead, we should find our demographic and psychographic and go where they already are. This might mean leveraging one social media platform or five.
Where our audience is being aggregated may not be what we think the answer is. I was working with a company that was targeting a certain demographic and they found that a certain print magazine aggregated more of their target audience than any others. They thought it sounded old school, but when they found that out and started using the magazine, they got more results than anything else they had ever tried.
#8: Be the Best Human
We are all dealing with life. We don’t know what anyone else is going through so we always want to make sure we are being the best human that we can. Our business could be life changing for someone if we always take care of our customers.
“Whether you are that person owning the local ice cream shop or whether you are an attorney, you do not know what anybody else has walked through or been through prior to engaging with you on social media or just coming in contact with your business. Keep that in mind. Be the best human and I think it will have nothing but positive outcomes for your business,” Heather said.
#9: Have Online Etiquette
We should use our best online etiquette on social media. As we mentioned before, our customers may be going through difficult times, making them more sensitive to some topics than others. We should be aware that our customers come from all different backgrounds and situations. We want to have common decency, incorporate politeness and kindness into our brand, and think before we post.
One of the principles Heather talks about in her book is courageous kindness. There are times when we don’t want to be kind and maybe the person doesn’t deserve it, but we should be kind because it is the right thing to do. We should act because of what our company stands for, not because of how we are feeling at the moment. Sometimes this means being courageous and taking the highroad.
#10: Handle Haters the Right Way
It is important for us to know how to handle our haters the right way. In an ideal world, there would never be any bad reviews or hurtful comments, but I think most brands can expect hard customers and mean comments at some point, especially if they are active online. We should know how to deal with this.
“Realize that if you post [a response], it’s public and it’s out there,” Heather said. “Ask yourself, ‘Do I really need to post this publicly?’ At the end of the day, you can’t remove every single negative thing, whether it is or isn’t true. But you are responsible for how you behave. I always like to remind people that you’ve got to get your feelings together before you hit the post button.”
#11: Don’t Say it and Spray it
We don’t want to say it and spray it. What Heather means by this, is that we shouldn’t post the exact same thing on every social channel we are on. We don’t want to just copy and paste content on seven different platforms.
“It’s not a great reflection on your business and I think you would be much better served to take the time to do one platform really, really well than for you to take something and paste it,” Heather said. “If you really want to get traction, I encourage people to put 80% of their time in one place. . . . and then spend 20% of your time in other places.”
#12: Ask, “What’s In It For Them?”
When we are posting on social media, we should always ask ourselves, “What’s in it for our customers?” We can find questions our customers have and answer them. We should find problems our customers have and solve them. Are we giving our customers what they need and want from us in the content we post?
I’ve seen businesses that spend so much of their effort focusing on their brand and building their brand, but in reality, people don’t really care about our brand. They might care about how our company helps them achieve what’s really important to them, but it comes down to what’s in it for them. They don’t care if we released new software, they care about how that new software might help them. In all of our messaging, we’ve got to focus on what’s in it for them.
#13: Don’t Focus on Quantity
Our voice can influence no matter how many followers we have. We shouldn’t spend too much time worried that we don’t have enough followers. We don’t want to gain followers simply to have a bigger number posted on our social media accounts. It’s not so much about quantity, but quality. Our voice is important whether we have 100 followers or 1000.
“I think sometimes in the online space we really lose sight of the fact that 50 people is 50 people and 50 potential customers,” Heather said. “Quality is so important for us — remember that as we’re showing up in our marketing and in our voice and how we’re presenting ourselves.”
#14: Encourage User Generated Content
We should encourage user generated content. Everything we post doesn’t have to be created by our team. We can encourage people to use a certain hashtag or get people to tag us in their photo, and then use that content on our brand pages. This not only saves us time, but also shows our customers that we value their input.
“When you incorporate [user generated content] from the very beginning, and you say, ‘We want to celebrate you. How is this product helping you?’ . . . Then you can get so many people that are willing to directly post online or they might even DM message you or text you or send you photos, videos which is great content that you can incorporate into your marketing,” Heather said.
#15: Stand for Something
Our brand should stand for something. What are you passionate about? Find something other than your product. Maybe we can stand for something faith-based or show our support to a non-profit organization. It is important to stand for something as this will help us connect with our customers on a deeper level and stand out from our competitors.
“You can make a stand for all types of things,” Heather said. “Just being human and incorporating some of that into your marketing can be a differentiator to make people be more passionate [about your brand] and know that they have an ability to be relatable with you.”
If there are two companies that offer a very similar service, the company that stands for something the customers also stands for, will win. It makes us relatable. Consumers are trying to find companies they respect so it is important we show them our brand stands for something good. Social impact can make a huge difference on customer purchase decisions.
Thank you so much Heather for sharing your stories and insights with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
- In our social media marketing, we have to be clear on what value we can provide to our customers.
- We should listen to our customers so we can create awesome content they love.
- We should focus on gaining visibility and creating connections with our customers.
- As we treat others the way we want to be treated, have good online etiquette, and focus on being the best human, our marketing will naturally be more successful.
- We don’t have to be on every social media platform; we just need to go where our customers already are.
- We shouldn’t copy and paste the same content on every social media platform.
- We should focus on what’s in it for our customers and provide great quality content, no matter the number of followers we have.
- We should encourage user generated content.
- Social impact can make a huge difference on customer purchase decisions so we should stand for something as a brand.
Connect with Heather
To learn more about or connect with Heather:
- Connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram
- Visit her website at SweetTeaSocialMarketing.com