Rules of Engagement: Learning to use social media as a constructive marketing tool


It’s great to have these new ways of expressing ourselves; new platforms to promote our opinions and interests, to interact with our friends, to share and engage with online content.  However, using these mediums as part of the face of a business meant I had to make the transition in viewing them as simple sharing to constructive marketing tools – meaning much more ‘thinking before speaking’!  You wouldn’t think it would be that different, but it can be; and as representative of the business it deserves the extra forethought.

A previous job at Rocksalt Roof Garden opened my eyes to making constructive use of all the classic social media channels, and more importantly making sure that they are all integrated.  Part of my aim for the business was to maintain a coherent brand image and values that are supported and reinforced everywhere our name is mentioned – so our brand values were behind everything I created and produced in that role.  There are two main things that I learned (and that’s before even thinking about the nature of content!).


Highly frequent posting isn’t aggressive marketing

Promotions, events and news are shared across emails, Facebook and Twitter; but one of the biggest realisations was that it wasn’t enough to simply post content once or twice a day.  Putting myself in the mindset of the user enabled me to understand how heavily regular posting isn’t an aggressive marketing technique – it is necessary if you want followers to see your posts at all!  Bearing in mind that some users, especially on Twitter, may be following hundreds or even thousands of accounts; therefore to increase the likelihood of anything from Rocksalt Roof Garden being seen, content must be regular enough to avoid being swallowed up by the likes of a hundred other posts.


Be prepared to interact and respond as a fully social business

A very wise man once gave me this advice – that if businesses are going to use social media, they must accept the two-way nature of its dialogue and be prepared to engage with users, not just expect users to engage with them.  Failure to do this means appearing shallow and being exposed as not understanding the purpose of said media channels.  Conversely, the sight of a company that responds on social media whenever possible indicates a full and rounded approach to fans/customers – response to any negativity is better than ignoring it!

IBM recognise the importance of this with an entire publication, which makes good reading.  This marketing blog runs along similar lines; it’s interesting to see how “sales” techniques need to focus away from hard selling in order to appeal to consumers who have become desensitized towards advertising.

But, depending on the target market, one should never lose sight of traditional media and how the two integrate; hence why I have also ordered a great big banner for the front of our building indicating our new 6 days a week opening times!


Grammar Pedantics 

Of course.  This time: WRITING WITH EMPHASIS.

It should never be forgotten that oral language came before written, and that the best aim a writer can have is to emulate oral patterns of speech; many people read by hearing the words in their heads, and all good writing should be read aloud (one of the more fun things to do is playing around with this in use through use of punctuation and syntax – Arundhati Roy does it to great effect in The God of Small Things).  However, again with increased use of online interaction and content consumption, the written word is asserting its importance in how we express ourselves.

Therefore, when writing something expressive such as woeful exclamations, think about how whatever you’re writing would be said.

E.g. ‘Oh no! My car broke down!’

How might you say this?  By elongating the vowels, or the ‘h’ sound in ‘oh’ – hence ‘Ohhh nooooooooo!  My car broke doooown!’

NOT:  ‘Oh no!  My car brokkkkkkkee downnnnn!’


Try saying it like that.  I guarantee you will sound like an idiot.

Thanks for reading! 

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