There’s a series of movies that Mel Gibson starred in that revolved around his character “Mad Max”. All of these movies take place in a post-apocalyptic future filled with what seems like lawless heathens who take what they want when they want it, and usually through an epic battle of some sorts. My favorite, and one of the most popular, movie in the series is called Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
In this movie Max finds himself in a city of sorts called Bartertown. This city has a very unique culture and is ruled by a very unique set of laws and leaders. As an outsider Max eventually gets himself into a bit of trouble. The kind of trouble where he finds himself inside an iron cage fighting to the death, and the only rule that matters at that point in time is “Two men enter, one man leaves.”
What does any of this have to do with social media?
As businesses, marketers and brands, we tend to overlook the most important laws that govern the social networks we have come to rely on. Even though these laws aren’t written in stone or on parchment for the world to see, they exist. Breaking these rules is the quickest way to ruin our reputations and, essentially, get ourselves exiled (at least socially) from these networks, which is exactly what happened to Mad Max.
Another thing to consider is that within these bigger networks there are smaller tribes with their own code of ethics and laws to follow. If you want to earn the trust and respect of these networks and tribes you need to respect and abide by these rules. That means that your conduct on Facebook is going to be different than it is on Twitter. More than that, your conduct on a specific page on Facebook may be different than it is on other pages.
Your goal for social media is (or should be) to build and maintain relationships with your customers. To do this you NEED to earn their trust. You won’t be able to do that if you aren’t communicating to them through the channels they use and by following the rules they follow.
Example: If you’re using a visual and creative networking site like Pinterest or Instagram you shouldn’t be trying to pass off cheesy ads or coupons to your followers. People on these networks are looking to be inspired by ideas expressed on a visual platform, they aren’t looking for deals. You also shouldn’t take a screen shot of a text-heavy document and add it to your profile in the hopes that someone will decide to read it. Again, that’s not why they’re there. You can gain their interest and respect by interacting with the users (your customers) and staying within the norms and expectations they have.
Something to consider: Your brand’s reputation can be made or ruined based solely on your conduct within these networks and tribes.
I wouldn’t tell you all of this without giving you some kind of solution, I’m not that mean. The trick to it all is to simply…… OBSERVE. If you take the time and effort to understand how a certain group works you will be able to find/earn your place in it. This applies to an entire network, like Twitter, and to smaller groups that might be developed around something as simple as a hashtag. Here are a few things you should look for:
1. Language – It’s important to know what people are talking about as well as how they are talking about it. How much detail are they using? Are there any specific terms that have a unique meaning to that group in particular? What media do they use to communicate? (video, pictures, text, etc.)
2. Etiquette – It’s just like going to a foreign country, there are social norms that you might not be aware of. How are people interacting with each other? Does this group focus on detailed conversation or big picture ideas? When should you acknowledge or interact with just one person in this tribe and when should you share it with the entire community? Are there any taboo topics that people are avoiding?
3. Mood - You don’t want to be the person who cracks a joke in a group full of passionate and serious people, they will attack. What personality traits would you associate with this group?(serious, intelligent, funny, goofy, sarcastic, etc.) What reasons do these people have to be saying what they’re saying?
Have you been breaking all the rules? Click on the image below to find out The 5 Biggest Mistakes Businesses Make On Social Media And How to Avoid Them.