5 Golden Rules Of Social Media That Entrepreneurs Should Follow

5 Golden Rules Of Social Media That Entrepreneurs Should Follow Social media is a relatively new beast – still getting discovered, still feared, still feted and boasted of. If you are a new entrepreneur, venturing into social media communication, too many uncertainties must be plaguing your mind. For one, the newness of the business…and then there’s the bouquet of challenges, opportunities and options that make up one’s social media presence.

Here are five key rules that can help your brand find a footing in the virtual world as well as strengthen brand in the real one.

Rule #1: Identify your core audience
It’s easy to fall into the number game on social media. How many followers? Number of favorites, retweets, likes and shares. However, as a new entrepreneur, you will first need to strengthen your base, which comprises your core audience. You may eventually attempt to broaden this base, but that will only happen later, depending on your growth, bandwidth and brand needs.

As the initial go-to strategy, do not aim for an unreasonably broad base. Focus on the section that best fits the profile of your perceived target audience. Streamline and customize your content according to what they’d like or relate to. And then decide what all social media platforms you ought to be present on – in addition to the requirements stemming from the nature of your offering.

Rule #2: Post consistently and keep the content customer-centric

First-hand experience holders advise managing your social media accounts in a business-like fashion instead of treating it like a hobby, where you post if and when you feel like.

Your audience is looking for interesting and relevant content on a regular basis. Irregular feeds will result in their attention getting drifted elsewhere – and knowing the volatile nature of the medium one must realize that those lost may not be won back that easily. So, safeguard the base won by meeting their expectations. Also, guard yourself against erratic behavior where one day you flood your followers’ accounts with posts and then refuse to resurface for days together.

It’s also equally important that you post original, thought-leading content. But realize that such posts will happen only once in a while. So, in between, you need to keep generating material that will keep your audience hooked.

Rule #3: Thank and appreciate your followers
The virtual world demands the same reciprocity and etiquette that works in the real world. It is an important gesture to show respect and gratitude towards anyone who mentions you or your brand, shares your content or promotes your ideas (giving you due credit). There are features, such as ‘like’, ‘share’, ‘retweet’, ‘favorite’, etc. that can be used. You can also drop in direct messages like “Glad you liked the post!” or, “Thank you…appreciate the suggestion!”

Most people downplay the importance of personal gestures on social media. However, being ignored is never a nice feeling – even if it’s done virtually. Just as a real-world invitation deserves a response and a reciprocal invitation, so does a virtual one. Else, people will get turned off and stop approaching you. It’s a way to show that you value someone’s opinion and ideas – and doesn’t that mean something to all of us?
Then again, building an online community requires perseverance and efforts. The last thing you’d want is to lose this base just because you were too lazy or forgetful to recognize and appreciate your community members or potential followers.

Taking this a step further, you can even ‘follow back’ or share the content posted by the followers and the fans of your brand. Start retweeting such people’s posts to the rest of your community.

If done the right way, this rule can help you build strong brand advocacy.

Rule #4: Encourage queries and discussions to strengthen relationships
Be proactive in initiating and promoting discussions around your posts. Do not sleep on queries or pass them up due to laziness. If someone’s question remains unanswered, it’s highly likely that this person will not engage with you the next time.

There are customer service platforms on most social media platforms, which need to be used. Initially, it could be overwhelming to go public with your responses, explanations, etc. However, this bull is best dealt with by being taken by the horns. Watch out not just for direct messages, but also for hashtags mentioning your brand. Any negative comment, remark or experience related to your brand should never remain unacknowledged. If you think that responding online may be taken as defensive, send direct inbox messages to the complainants to try and understand their problems better and offer information, acknowledgement and solutions. The key is to be prompt and helpful. This will help you build your reputation as a customer-oriented and responsible brand.

Rule #5: Keep your social media profiles clean and professional
When you began you social media accounts, you may not have thought of using them professionally ever. So, it’s a good idea to scan your profile for any post, content or remark that’s likely to go against your current professional image and etiquette, and remove it before you begin building your community. Keep your account free of objectionable, controversial or frivolous posts, pictures and videos (which may have seemed ‘cool’ as a college-goer).

You can also enhance your professional image by understanding the privacy settings of different platforms and using these judiciously to decide who gets to view what in your profile. E.g. you may be more comfortable sharing some personal posts with a given section of your community as compared to another.