Social Media Best Practices Aren’t Always Best (Live from #SXSW)
Professor Aimee Roundtree speaks about social media for small organizations

Everyone loves best practices.

Including me.

After all, we love being told what works and what steps we should take to find success.

Here at Constant Contact, we publish articles about best practices regularly. Hopefully you read them and take the advice to heart.

But one of the things that’s really coming through in the presentations at this year’s SXSW is that businesses of all sizes need to think about what’s “right for them,” not just what’s “right.”

This, of course, is not breaking news. But it is really important.

In the last few years, the world of technology has evolved rapidly, but the world of social media is actually stabilizing.

There are tons of case studies now. The things that work are being enhanced with innovations, and the ones that don’t are fading away. But there are no rules that everyone needs to live by, for better or worse.

Who manages your social media voice?

For example, during the session “Food Trucks Share Social Media Tips,” the panel was asked whether it’s okay to outsource your social media voice.

For Daniel Shemtob, owner and founder of the Lime Truck, the answer was yes. He has a blogger friend who does nearly all of the posting. But he made it clear that everything posted must be in his voice, and he reads closely all the posts and responses they get.

On the other hand, James DiSabatino, chief cheese griller (best title ever!) and co-owner of Boston’s Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, says he would never ever outsource his social media presence because he thinks it undermines the authenticity.

You know what? They’re both right, because what each is doing works for them.

Can your fans keep your Facebook Page active?

Aimee Roundtree, associate professor at the University of Houston-Downtown, led a great session entitled “Big Social Media Results at Small Organizations,” and she talked about how the established best practices are not always the ones driving success.

She laid out how many successful organizations don’t have a strategy, are not centralized or well trained, and don’t rely on metrics.

One such organization is Girl Trek, a Susan G. Komen–like walk that encourages African American women to take a more active role in their own health. Girl Trek only posts to its Facebook Page 4–5 times each month, instead of the daily posting best practice. But the community is so vibrant that the members keep the Page active with their own stories on a daily basis.

And then there is Lou Kerner of Liquidnet, who during the session “Are We Killing Social with Social” talked about how he retweets himself and gets great results out of it, despite it being a social no-no.

So, what’s the big takeaway?

We can give you ideas, but you need to write your own rules. Which is way more fun anyway!

What are your rules for using social media? Share what works for you in the comments section below.

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