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It’s the end of 2015 and the digital universe keeps on evolving with no sign of stopping soon. With the ever speed at which technology changes, social media marketing is not a nice to have anymore, but a must have. Your customers expect it. Even though you might have a Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest profile, does it really mean that you understand what social media is about?

It’s simple. Social media is an instrument of communication that facilities human behaviour. It’s a way that you can communicate directly with your target audience on grass route levels. It’s about engagement and building relationships online. It’s the same as traditional networking meetings, and the same basic rules apply. Be yourself!

Find below a couple of rules you can live by to make sure your social media campaign has a lasting impression on your company.

Social media rules

1. Transparency: Being transparent and honest will be greatly appreciated by the audience you are trying to reach. Always make sure that you fully disclose on who you are and what you do. This builds trust and plays a key role with your campaign. Misleading and dishonest people on the social web will be noticed and will anger your audience.

2. Be smart: Be respectful of other brands and yourself. This doesn’t mean you should ignore any conversations going on about your competitors, but be smart about it. Protect your brand, confidential information, and brand. The social web is public and what you publish via social media can be around for a long time (especially if Google catches it). Review and consider the content you publish carefully when you are part of any engagement activities.

3. Build the personality of your voice: Determine the personality, identity, and character of your brand and match it to the people who are going to represent you online. Be consistent with this. If you are not consistent, you are going to confuse your audience and this can result in reluctance to participate in any social media activities with you.

4. Be yourself: When publishing content on the web, make sure you know exactly what you are talking about. Do not write or curate any content if you are not familiar with the content. If your readers feels like you do not know what you are talking about, they will leave the conversation. The best rule of thumb is to stick to topics that you are familiar with. Use your experience and expertise to your advantage.

5. Add value: Your message and content should be on topic, useful, and thought-provoking. It should answer the questions of your audience, solve their problems, and make them come back for more information. If they return, acknowledge and thank them for it. This adds great value to your campaign.

6. Be social: Talk to your audience on their level. Being authentic is ok, but you shouldn’t be replying to their comments and concerns as if you are a bot. Never speak to your network though a narrow focused message. Introduce value, direction, and insight through every engagement you have with them. Do this in a personal manner to express your personality with them.

7. Learn and change: Learn from your mistakes and successes. What have you done wrong previously? How can you improve your offering so that it doesn’t happen again? If you have made a mistake on the social web, admit it. Your audience will thank you for being honest.