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When it comes to social media sharing, the rules must be followed…if your business wants to keep up with the curve, that is.

These 20 rules of social media are meant to improve online visibility, maximize social shares, maintain public relations, and improve a business’s reputation and authority.

This article will examine the general rules that your business should apply across the board, then see how they apply to the most popular social networks.

1. Share regularly and consistently

Consistency conveys reliability, which engenders trust. Don’t leave gaps in your editorial calendar, be late with posts, or post whenever you feel like it.

Pick a schedule that works for your team, then stick to it.

2. Always be positive

Negativity is a buzzkill and can kill customer relations.

Never be negative, and get your friendliest staff member to deal with difficult social media interactions.

3. Mention others

Mentioning others in the “social media conversation” helps other people feel important, which will improve your reputation.

This is an effective way to gain more followers.

4. Use hashtags # the right way

Hashtags are a great way to target a specific industry or niche, but don’t toss in too many at once.

One, two, or three hashtags is appropriate…but when you have more hashtags than words, you know you’ve got a problem.

5. Inform, entertain, and engage

Content marketing acquires customers by engaging them.

Inform them, entertain them, and keep them engaged. Use talented content creators and don’t jump into a network with sales pitches, landing pages, and “great deals.”

6. Always interact

Social networks and the people on those social networks know the difference between a robot and a human.

The more interactive you are – from commenting to favoriting to following – the more your social presence will be rewarded.

7. Don’t oversell or spam

Promotions are fine, but remember: everything in moderation.

Overselling and spamming are both out of the question on social networks. When in doubt, ask yourself if it would be appropriate at a social gathering.

8. Don’t over-automate

Automation is critical and normal for social media.

However, automating too much – such as auto-following, auto-liking, and auto-replying – can turn people off.

9. Don’t buy fake likes or followers

Likes and followers are only useful if they’re genuine.

These metrics are only useful insofar as they help your bottom line, so if you buy or create a fake social media following, you won’t gain anything except fake results.

Also, keep in mind that some tools can examine a social media presence and clearly determine how real it is – so a fake following can actually hurt you.

10. Be descriptive, but don’t stuff keywords

Keyword-stuffing is like over-hashtagging.

It quickly turns people off and can come across as spammy.

11. Use images whenever possible

Posts with images earn more clicks than posts without.

To maximize engagement, use relevant images that grab attention and convey the essence of the post.

12. Curate first, create second

Though the jury’s out on the perfect ration of curated content to created content, everyone agrees your curated content should dominate your social stream.

13. Like, +, and favorite

Liking and favoriting are great ways to interact without actually saying anything.

Though subtle, this action can offer a significant boost to your reputation with your audience.

14. Find the right tone and style

Match your tone to the social network in question.

For LinkedIn, be professional. For Facebook, be casual and friendly. For Twitter, be yourself.

15. Personalize interactions

Put a face and a name to your social media account, if possible.

People prefer interacting with people, not with brands or corporations. “Mary from Company” is more personal than “Company Staff,” for example.

16. Always link to original sources

Giving credit where credit is due won’t go unnoticed by the original content creator.

So when you divvy out data or post stats, always refer back to the original source. If the source happens to be a competitor, forego the post.

17. Add value

Every business interaction, including social media interactions, should be value transactions.

Give value first, and then you shall receive. Go in with a sales pitch, and you risk alienating your prospects and potential partners.

18. Be productive

Don’t waste time on social media and don’t post unproductively.

Social media should definitely not be a sounding board for your company’s frustrations. But before posting anything, ensure that it aligns with your content marketing agenda and your business goals.

19. Use tools

Automation tools are necessary to keep up with your editorial calendar.

Also consider using analytics tools, such as those that analyze an industry’s social media demographics, specific accounts, an account’s followers, and so on.

20. You are what you post

Remember: you are what you post.

Always post content and interactions that reflect your brand’s image and those that interact with your marketing agenda. Inappropriate content, posts, or interactions can all have negative impacts.

 

These rules are fundamental for every business that wants to maximize its social sharing. By focusing on valuable, positive interactions and content, every business will earn more followers and more shares.