Monday, May 12, 2014

10 commandments for moving social media mountains

Charlton Heston in the 1956 movie, The 10 Commandments.

Think you know how to conceive and create social media that gets attention? Creating two-way conversations is a given, but you're going nowhere if you don’t know these 10 social media commandments: 

1.      Thou shalt not neglect photos/graphics. On social channels be brief with your words. If you need to say a lot then use a space that is not on social media channels to say it. The only people who are willing to read more than 80-100 of what you say are your friends, not most customers.

2.      Thou shalt not unleash plagues of ideas. Ideally you should be making one point. If you must, make two points. More ideas confuse the reader.

3.      Thou shalt cast lines that reel in all who are curious. These headlines are designed to get people to click a link to go beyond the social page. Can it be annoying? Yes. Does it work? Undoubtedly.

4.      Thou shalt not be predictable. People get tired. Don’t make them tired more quickly. Curious copy interspersed with different kinds of writing for maximum impact goes the furthest.

5.      Thou shalt avoid disclaimers and disclosures. These are ugly and scorned by all of humanity. Find a way around presenting such copy on your social pages at all cost.

6.      Use photos whenever possible, except on Tumblr when you might choose to go with .gifs first. You don’t generally want to push people invest time in a movie.

7.      Thou shalt not cheat with thy neighbor’s information to create boring photos. Infographics are so 2012. The only place they still really work is on LinkedIn. Want me to prove it? Just see how often the biggest and best companies using social media (Oreo, Samsung, Red Bull, etc.) use infographics.   

8.      Thou shalt remember to execute as you wish, not as social companies want. For example, Facebook wants you to upload your videos directly through FB. Instead, you can use a bitly link pointing to a video on YouTube. You get people's attention using a flashy pic for lower investment buy-ins. There are other things you can do too. (Ask me in the comments below or in any of the LinkedIn groups this is published under. I’m happy to bounce ideas.)

9.      Thou shalt know your age. Trendy sites mainly aimed towards younger folks, like Reddit and Tumblr, see plentiful use of memes. This is where memes should remain for the most part. Occasional use of memes on other sites to remind users of our their youthful days is fine. Likewise, when on social channels for younger folks, trying to advertise or use approaches blatantly vetted by a legal team or PR group is going to explode in your face. Try advertising elsewhere and your paid posts will have a much easier time, although even many people are tired of sponsored posts (advertisements) that they see as SPAM.

10.   Thou shalt be a hep cat modern. Look for trending events and try to quickly create posts that play off of sentiment. You’ll be seen as more with the times, not creating posts that you feed into some sort of machine to be spit out at regular intervals.

BONUS COMMANDMENT! Look at what your competitors are doing with your target audience. Figure out why it works, not just how it works. Now use the why to find your own approach and do it better.