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3 Timeless Social Media Tips

by Justin Palmer - March 19th, 2012

There’s a part of me that hates change. I despise the fact that much of what I learned 3 years ago about social media is now irrelevant. Are there any principles from today that will still stand years from now, regardless of what the new hot network is? I’d like to suggest at least three.

1. Focus on the Feed, Not the Profile

This is a classic mistake I’ve witnessed on countless platforms. The brands that spend the most time pimping out their profile pages, whether on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, tend to have the worst engagement of all. I’m going out on a limb to predict that the new Facebook timeline and upcoming Twitter brand pages will not change this. Yes, milestones, and pinned posts, and cover photos are cool for branding, but if your content sucks, no one will ever  see them. People will still primarily interact with your business through the newsfeed.

Your content is what makes fans care, not a pretty profile page. Content isn’t just king, he’s a ruthless dictator that jealously demands your allegiance.

2. Don’t Buy or Bribe Followers

In effort to inflate followers, many brands incentivize followers by offering coupons, giveaways, or exclusive content behind soon to be defunct LIKE gates. While these tactics can be highly effective at growing a following, they produce very low quality followers who are far less likely to engage in the future.

Unless your only social media agenda is to give the illusion that a lot of people like you, an overemphasis on the sheer number of followers will always backfire. For example, by inflating your number of Facebook likes with low quality fans, you inevitably make it less likely for true fans to see your content. When Facebook’s EdgeRank sees that your engagement rate is low on a post, it drives down your content in the newsfeed, hiding it from those who do want to see it.

My advice, don’t polute your social networks with people who ‘sorta’ like you. Demand real followers. Put the your like/follow button prominently on your site header, footer, emails etc…. all the places that real supporters are likely to find it.

3. Keep in Short & Shareable

Brands that create content that’s short and easy to like/retweet/reblog/repin always win. Twitter gives your 140 characters, use 70 and get read more often. Facebook gives you virtually unlimited characters, keep it brief and stand out from the clutter. Regardless of the platform, people are busy and probably care more about what’s going in the lives of their family and friends than what your company has to say. If you keep it short and digestable, you stand a better chance of staying in their feed for the long term.

Do you think these tips will stand the test of time? What other timeless social media tips can you add? Share them below.




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4 Responses to “3 Timeless Social Media Tips” by Justin Palmer

  1. Tim Ruswick Says:

    While I think you’re head on with #2 and #3, #1 I think is off. While I agree engagement is more important than pimping your profile, having one that is appealing ironically helps engagement.

    Content is for sure the main point, but an attractive profile will help people pay attention to your content. I know plenty fo people that do great stuff but they are ignored because they dont look professional.

    You need to look and act professional, I think 1 or the other is unacceptable.


  2. Justin Palmer Says:

    Good point Tim. I’m not advocating unprofessional looking profiles, but rather that brands spend more time on their content, which will provide 95% of the experience.

    You make a good point, well taken :)

  3. Beric Says:

    Good points, while we are launching our new online shop website with our German Magento agency we are still debating with then on how big the engagement on social should be. And what about Pinterest the new rising star in social media? Any statement on Pinterest?

  4. Downtown Ecomemrce Says:

    Focus on the Feed, not the Profile — “but if your content sucks, no one will ever see them.”

    Amen Sir, right on the money here – no matter how well pimped your profile may be if your content is not being consumed, your dead in the water.

    This is a fundamental “Paradigm” which we work through with each client to ensure that they focus on publishing and syndicating great content to a few places rather than syndicating sub-par content to everywhere. Approach each new social platform as a mini-site – clearly state a purpose, function and game plan before proceeding with any new launches and make sure you have a plan for upkeep in place too.

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