You hear about social media everywhere in this digital age; it’s not just a thing for the kids anymore. Today, social media has helped people to build careers, create awareness for clauses as well as increase consumer conversion rates for businesses.

Now, that sounds all fine and dandy, but what exactly is social media?

Social media is the term used to describe a variety of digital platforms, applications and technologies that allow people to interact, share, create or exchange information with one another. Some examples of these are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and Tumblr.

As advertisers and marketers slowly gear towards digital advertising and marketing, they need to understand the differences between traditional media and new media. Today, consumers are no longer willing to just be on the receiving end of a message-they want to be able to interact and communicate.

With over 600 million users on Facebook, 300 million on Google+ and 200 million on Twitter, it would be ignorant for marketers not to leverage on this huge population of people. Here are a few dos and don’ts if your company is just starting out on a social media marketing campaign:


Create quality content

With more and more brands hopping onto the social media bandwagon, attention is increasingly harder to grab. To stand out from this clutter, creating quality content is simply the most effective way to distinguish your brand from the rest. Get to know your target audience thoroughly and understand things that are important to them such as their passion points. For the local market, passion points can be categorised into 5 categories: shopping, food, technology, travel and career. For example, if your brand deals with baby care products, your audiences are most likely parents. Creating content like baby diet tips or videos on how to enhance their baby’s health will add value and meaning to your audiences’ lives. This in turn will increase social engagement as well as the likelihood that they will share your brand with others.

Listen to your community

One important aspect of social media marketing is to constantly pay attention to what people are saying about your brand. Be it a compliment or criticism, learn to take each and every comment constructively. Ensure that you engage and respond to the users appropriately and let them know that your brand is genuinely concerned about every individual.

Update your page regularly

Setting up your brand’s social media page is the first step, maintaining it is the second. Ensure that you create a presence and update your followers regularly. Disappearing for long periods of time will make them forget about you completely. Depending on the platform being used, the frequency in which you should update your followers varies. For example, brands should limit their posts for Facebook to 1 or 2 per day in order to avoid spamming. On the other hand, for Twitter, 1-4 tweets per hour have proven to induce a higher level of click through rate (CTR).


Trying to hard sell your audiences

There is one hard fact that every marketer should get right: people don’t give a flying fig about your company, business or brand. What they truly care about are their own interests, problems and challenges, i.e. what’s in it for them (WIIFT). People follow a page either because it’s entertaining, informative, interesting or otherwise useful. They don’t want to hear about your products unless it offers them a solution or solves their problems. Constantly creating posts on your promotions and products are a sure fire way to annoy your followers and in the worst scenario, unfollow your brand’s page.

Platform overload

With the proliferation of new social media platforms, it is tempting to jump onto every single one of them to increase your brand’s reach. In doing so, you dilute your brand’s presence and engagement attempts might not be as effective. Research and target one or two platforms that will create the best connections to your consumers. If your business involves selling to other businesses, a platform like LinkedIn would be more appropriate as compared to Facebook or Twitter. Similarly, if your brand sells directly to consumers, platforms like Facebook or Pinterest would be more ideal.

Ignore feedback

Don’t ignore the people who take time out to interact with you. Devise a compelling customer relationship management (CRM) strategy and respond to every comment, whether they're good or bad. It is important to build relationships with your audiences based on mutual understanding. For negative feedback, treat them as gifts-deal with it, solve it and move on. You want your brand to be seen by others as being completely transparent and honest with business.

Always bear in mind that social media users are unique individuals with their own identities. Humanise your brand and aim to understand your followers like friends. Consider this set of guidelines for your social media marketing plan and rest assure your efforts will not backfire on you.