To most people, social media is still a relatively new concept, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t undergone intense change over the last few years. Social media pros were quick to establish rules for posting on Facebook, twitter, and every other platform, as soon as they discovered what works and what doesn’t, and there are a ton of ways to establish a proven strategy that works no matter your type of business. But can we really expect these rules not to change? The amount of articles you’ll find when searching something as simple as “how often to post on Facebook” is almost mind numbing. Don’t get caught in the sea of information that may have been relevant in 2011, but sure as heck isn’t today.

Social Media Rules You Don't Actually Have to Follow | Funk Digital Media

Update Facebook 1-2x per day. While limiting the amount of posts you upload to Facebook daily is still a good rule of thumb, the amount of times you should post will vary dependent on your type of business and the content you post. For example, if you simply want to direct people to a home page, posting once per day might work, but if you have a website with new content published every hour that you need eyes on, you’ll probably post upwards of 3x/day. Once again, these rules differ and you need to find the correct balance for you rather than adopt someone else’s formula.

Comment on pins. I’ve seen this strategy on many a marketing blog and as someone who has managed a sickening amount of Pinterest accounts, I have to debunk it. You don’t need to frequently comment other people’s pins in order to get noticed. While it’s a decent tool to have when you truly have something to say, it’s not vital you use this functionality. Pinterest differs from Facebook in how to engage engage, so don’t treat it like that’s its primary purpose. If there were major evidence in support of commenting on pins as a social strategy, more people (specifically top pinners) would be taking part.

Shorten all URLs. When people first started shortening links, it was convenient and necessary for successful linking on twitter. It’s still widely practiced by social media pros, but twitter has long been auto-shortening links (via the “…”), so it’s not necessary for the platform. However, there are still benefits to using a site like bit.ly to shorten a link. 1) It looks much cleaner –no one wants to see an ugly link, and on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, it’s super obvious when you try to incorporate a long like in your update or profile. 2) It adds that element of surprise – even the most clever caption is no good if the URL gives the story away. 3) It provides a simple way to track and archive links – very helpful to monitor growth. But is it a totally necessary strategy for those who simply aren’t into it? Not anymore. It’s convenient, but not a make or break you strategy, and plenty opt out entirely.

Join every network. Although it’s tempting to sign up for every social media network just to get behind the latest trends, it’s not necessary nor is it a great strategy. As we talked about in this post, you want to be on the channels that are truly going to work for you and your brand.

Now, a few social media rules you DO need to follow:

Engage. While on Pinterest you don’t need to do much outreach, it IS a good idea to respond to any comments or messages you receive. Same goes for all other networks, especially those that are not only where you’re fielding questions about your business from those who don’t feel the desire to send an email, but you’re doing so on a very public platform.

Listen. Noticing the activity of your audience, what they like and don’t like, what they respond to, what gets them excited, etc., indicates where you should go with your business. So no matter what, stay tuned into your social media and truly listen to your fans/followers/customers. They’re the ones you want to impress, so it makes sense to make decisions based off this!

Learn. You don’t need to join every platform but if you’re going to be active on any social media, you really need to stay active in the community and make sure to maintain your knowledge of where it is and where its headed. If you don’t, you’re simply setting yourself up to follow outdated rules that may not even work for you – which means investing a lot of time and energy into the wrong strategies.

If all this social media talk is making your head spin, check out our services to see how we can help. Even if you’re ready to take on the task of social media alone, it’d be nice to have some direction, right? A consultation can set you up for success!