Day 2: What are the Social Media marketing best practices? [Top 10 Social Media Questions Marketers Want Answered]

Day 1 of our search to answer Michael Stelzner’s Top 10 Social Media Questions to ask marketers has brought us a reasonable answer to measuring your return on investment with regards to Social Media. Today we’ll be focusing on what the best practices for Social Media are:

2. What are the Social Media marketing best practices [My to-do list]?

Most people, when developing their skill sets and knowledge in a field start out with what they already know. Not bearing this is mind, large volumes of companies approach and engage in Social Media without understanding the “formal and unwritten community rules” and treating Social Media as simply another dumping ground for current “advertising assets”, as eloquently put by Lee Odden back in February 2009.

He, Odden, lists some of the best and worst practices of Social Media as:

  • Best Practices
    • Start with a thoroughly researched plan, including audiences, objectives and strategy, not just tactics
    • “Give to get”: meaning listening and participation with your audience. In effect creating value through your engagements, not just sales
    • Be transparent with intentions
    • Understand, advise, monitor and interact with the message, but realise that you can’t control it. [Read my previous post regarding this matter]
    • Metrics should roll up to objectives
  • Worst Practices
    • Being fake in any way. Just ask Trevor Noah and Cell C, by Walter Pike, about this if you need convincing.
    • Not listening
    • Being oblivious for formal and unwritten social rules and codes of conduct.
    • Being pushy or overtly sales driven
    • Approaching social media channels as silos
    • Not staffing appropriately
    • Not having a mechanism to monitor ROI correctly

So, how do I make Social Media work for me?

  • Start with listening, understand what people want
  • Share your backstory, who you are and where you come from
  • Try and crowd source content
  • Target your advertising on Facebook
  • Develop a community of Facebook, and customise their experience
  • Share your offline promotions
  • Respond quickly
  • Link back to your webpage
  • Remember your content and conversational tone, have a strong visual identity
  • Build relationships with bloggers
  • Have a clear call-to-action on Twitter, and try and build anticipation
  • Provide relevant offers and try and enhance customer service
  • Finally, show you are social and encourage sharing of your content

The Power of Social Media to Affect Corporates

Social Media, Activism, Brand Awareness, Activism


Recently, Social Media has once again been in the spotlight for its ability to force larger corporates out into the “open”, engaging in public debates and allowing smaller activist groups to force changes on larger corporate institutions. Think of examples like Cell C (Trevor Noah and 4G), Woolworths (Christian Magazines), BP, Gareth Cliff and our favourite…Barack Obama

Social media, by definition, has allowed info-activism (or internet activism) to reach new heights of visibility and accountability from larger corporate participants in the media. This form of global connectivity (Facebook, Twitter, Emails, Websites) have allowed local polarised groups and internal causes to engage with a potentially much larger audience, seeking to swell the support for their cause without people being forced to leave their homes.

So why is Social Media so powerful? In a recent article on, called Why Social Media Is Reinventing Activism, Sarah Keller pinpointed three based elements that showcase the awesome power of the channel:

  1. Social Media allow us to more easily connect with support structures, allowing people to affect social and business changes without bureaucratic support.
  2. Social Media also allows people to co-ordinate their activist activities to a much larger scale. 100 000 people shouting in the same direction does make a difference
  3. It allows you to not only connect easier but also to “shout” much loader
  4. Forces Corporates to consider new levels of accountability, where individual grudges (Dell Hell) or isolated incidents (Nestle) can quickly get out of control

So what should Corporates and brands understand about Social Media to engage appropriately and avoid similar fates as the ones mentioned above. Walter Pike distilled this down into a few great thoughts, which I’ve furtherThank God for Exclusive Books adapted to the below:

  1. Understand, and accept, that conversations about them and their brands are happening as we speak. You can’t changes this, or stop it or move it to a private meeting so either engage with the conversation and gain some level of interaction or burn as they’ll talk about you anyway
  2. Create a community space for your brands to engage with you, Social Media cuts  through a massive amount of red tape
  3. Let the conversation happen, don’t try to through your weight around and don’t react as if the Titanic were sinking every time a random thought pops into someone’s head about your brand
  4. If you have a good service or brand, trust in your consumers to act as activists for you as well.

Other great references on the discussion can be found below:

This blog is being completed as part of the requirements of the Digital Marketing Academy

PS. As a last thought let me include a segment of Gareth Cliff’s response to his level to the president. Simple put, it brillaint!

“What is impressive about this exercise is the increase in the scale of the public debate thanks to the internet. Immediate, insightful, evolving threads of discussion have unwound from the dissemination of the original letter and this is very encouraging. I am pleased to see that so many South Africans care so passionately about our country, regardless of whether we agree or disagree. The old “letters to the editor” means of airing issues of importance has been replaced by an organic, direct and instant forum for conversation. Surely this is something we can be very proud of? Newspapers, radio stations and television seem to lag behind ever more as we all become broadcasters online. Let it never again be said that young people in South Africa are apathetic, disengaged and ill-informed. There are new ways of finding facts, starting arguments and getting to the matters which matter. The Fourth Estate is no longer the province of a few editors and spin-doctors.”