Social media marketing is a constant struggle. A struggle to keep up with new technologies. A struggle to keep up with customer needs. A struggle to stay ahead. But perhaps, the biggest struggle in a world of News Feed algorithms, cluttered timelines and proliferating platforms, is simply standing out and stealing a few more fleeting seconds of people's time and attention. The simplest answer to get ahead is to emulate what others have done.
It's understandable marketers often ask the question: "What are the best practices for X?" A little bit of research, analysis of what is going on in the space and some homework will tell you what others are doing and where they're finding success. This kind of research is due diligence for any foray into social media, but it can lead any brand into the trap of copy-and-paste marketing.
It's not always best to do what everyone else is doing. Messing with the formula, taking calculated risks and learning every step of the way creates opportunities to succeed at a level others haven't.
Examples from the Field
Most brand tweets go out during work hours. No surprise here, but they may be missing the opportunity for increased engagement as the best time to tweet for a retweet is in the late evening between 10:00 pm and 11:00 pm EST.
Then there's YouTube. While most marketers are investing and continuing to invest in Facebook, YouTube has become the largest social site in the United States.
Finally, in an age dominated by visual assets, original, written content was cited by marketers in a recent survey as the most important form of social content.
These are just a few examples of where marketers are finding success in ways that trump best practices. None or all of these may be true for your brand, but the only way these were uncovered were from marketers going against best practices to see what worked for them.
Best Practices are a Start, Not a Strategy
Every business, audience and set of objectives is different, so each approach should to social media marketing should be just as unique. Best practices are most effective when they're used to identify an ideal starting position. From there, marketers must push the boundaries try new things and uncover what 'best' means for their businesses.