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The debate around social media rules can be endless. Are there any social media rules? We find both groups: individuals who advocate and others who do not.
Who is right in these two?
Which group must we support?
Should we be active on social media?
If yes, why should we be active at all?
If we are not, are we missing anything?
The dilemma about the rules of social media can be everlasting.
Social media is an intrinsic part of our modern lives
Whether we digest it or not, social media has always been a part of our lives. Our social journey might have started with Facebook, but today we have social platforms that suit our tastes and purpose. Today, the choice is wide and diverse.
The content flow on social media is so gigantic that often it erases the thin line between facts and fake news. The sea of social information is drowning us in the stage where we believe that everything that lands on our social accounts is reliable.
According to a recent Oxford Press study, 54% of Indians rely on Instagram, FB, and Twitter to verify information. This figure is 43% in South Africa, while in Britain it is 16%. Unfortunately, 87% of Indians trust that the shares on social media are true!
The same study finds that around 44% of social media users in the age group 25-44 believe the content shared on social media.
Such statistics reflect both the power of social media and the decline in the reliance on traditional learning mechanisms such as referring to books and standard publications. They also remind us why we need to mind and implement the golden rules of social media.
Why do people share on social media at all?
According to psychology, people post on social media to feel good instantly. The likes, shares, and comments on their posts build their self-esteem. They crave the dopamine rush that pushes them into a state of happiness and self-confidence. (Dopamine is a feel-good hormone that is released when we shop or eat our favorite food.)
This influencing effect can be cyclic and contagious.
While this is good to a certain extent, similar to anything that is beyond the limit, the social media dopamine rush can be addictive. Even worse, it can push such addicted users into depression when they face poor engagement.
Does that mean social media is all bad?
It’s a resounding No.
For instance, the potency of tweets in solving many issues within a couple of hours proves that when we use social media the right way, good things can happen.
Social media is a powerful channel to trigger conversations, exchange ideas, inspire and get inspired, motivate and learn. It is also the quickest path to find, connect and stay in contact with people. The trick is to use it appropriately, follow the rules of social media, connect with the right people and be accountable.
Let’s not forget that social media was our window to the outside world when we were stuck between the four walls in the recent past.
On the contrary, the downsides of social media are many too. The spread of fake news, trolls, and haters, social media addiction, loss of attention, and personal and professional issues can all result when we use social media extremely.
Golden rules of social media
So, do we have any golden rules for social media that give us peace when socially active?
Well, I can think of these good social media practices that retain the peace of others and ourselves. Additionally, these can also be considered social media marketing rules.
Shall we call them the Golden Rules of social media?
Please do if they make sense, but before that, let’s see what they are.
Social media rule #1: Be polite, professional, and positive
Hatred spreads fast, and so does positivity. When we turn social media into a platform that can share positivity, the vibes flow beyond geographical boundaries. We can do that, can’t we?
Social media rule #2: Give credit to others; nurture your connections and community
Possessing a group of followers does not give anyone license to boast about themselves.
One of the social media golden rules examples is as below:
In an attempt to build a personal brand, it is common to impart more importance to our inner “I”. In practice, if it turns extreme, this can be counterproductive and dispels your followers.
As a golden marketing rule, give credit to your followers, and close connections, and make them a part of your conversations. When we are digitally connected and physically separated, social media can be an excellent channel to share our gratitude and strengthen our connections.
Offering credit to loyal customers and connections is also one of the proven social media marketing rules. Doing so builds up a vast trusted follower community that elevates a brand.
Social media rule #3: Set a routine to avoid addiction
Here comes one of the vital social media marketing rules.
Use social media like a knife – always only for good purposes. Let’s not carry the knife all the time with us, for it can be harmful in the long run.
Set a routine, limit the time spent on social media, and follow people who spread positivity. Let’s remind ourselves that social media is only a part of life and not the whole life.
Social media rule #4: Spread only facts
Here is another of the social media golden rules examples: Fake shares can cause serious harm to brands and individuals.
Let’s remember to be responsible while sharing or forwarding the content we receive on social media. It is a vital step to prevent fake news that can be irreversibly damaging.
Social media rule #5: Use social media to establish yourself, not to impress others
The secret ingredient that matters for social media success is authenticity. Efforts to ‘only impress people’ can be emotionally and mentally draining.
Instead, be authentic and connect with like-minded people who understand and support you. Let’s not forget that authenticity has been the evergreen golden marketing rule of many established brands which they focus while creating a content strategy.
Related Read: How Social Media Managers Can Help Thrive Your Business
Social media rule #6: Never compare yourself with others
Many times, comparison arises when we see others’ social posts. We tend to conveniently forget our blessings and start identifying what we lack. Look at others’ accomplishments and take the first step toward your own.
The first rule to stay as a happy social media user is to stop such comparisons. Be practical and focus on what you can achieve instead of what you have not.
Social media rule #7: Prioritize quality over quantity
This is a golden marketing rule and applies to both your posts and connections. A network of thousands of followers and connections can be inviting.
A quick question to ask ourselves here:
Are all our thousands of our followers engaging with us on every share and post?
What if the connection and follower count is a vanity metric?
On the other hand, social media is a platform that can invite risks from strangers, especially for women. Unwelcoming conversations and cyberstalking are common for socially active women.
Then, as a part of social media golden rules, do we have any remedy?
Well, there is.
Go on a social media cleanse. Inspect your connections monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly, and remove the connections you believe do not add any value to you.
Likewise, social media posting is not a race. Share only when you believe the content is unique, value-adding, and meaningful. In a craze of posting challenges and marathons, it is easy to lose the essence of social presence.
The ultimate of social media rules: Focus on quality content and connections to stay happy on social media.
Social media rule #8: Be strong, trustworthy, and reliant
Existence on social media needs thick skin to cope with disagreements, trolls, and less number of likes to your posts. If you stay genuine, self-reliant, and authentic, dealing with such things becomes a cakewalk.
Let’s use social media for a greater good
I would love to close this discussion with my favorite quote on social media usage which is also a golden marketing rule:
“If you are on social media, and you are not learning, not laughing, not being inspired or not networking, then you are using it wrong. – Germany Kent”
Implement these social media rules and have a happy social media experience every day!
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