Social Media's Golden Rules
Nicole Bowling

Last week, Laura Van Zeyl and I received the news that Residential Lighting won the Gold TABBIE Award for Best Use of Social Media. Hosted by Trade Association Business Publications Intl., this year’s competition saw more than 450 entries internationally. We were fortunate enough to receive the Silver TABBIE in this same category last year, so to win this year was extra rewarding.

Judges commented that they loved our use of Pinterest for products and show reviews, although our whole social media arsenal — including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn — is strong. “Great activity across all the various platforms,” they said. As an aside, we also just joined Instagram at ResLightingMag, so look for posts of insider peeks from the upcoming Las Vegas Market and NY NOW shows, too.

From the outside, it may seem like you need a full staff with tons of expertise to be successful at social media. In a perfect world, this would be ideal. We have tons of talented people guiding us at our publishing company, Scranton Gillette Communications, and its sister company MediaPress Studios, which actually offers social media consulting.

And while we may have the proverbial village at our disposal, it does not necessarily take one to raise a child (or successful social media). You can do more than you think on your own, because, let’s be honest — you know your audience better than anyone else. By sticking to a few guidelines and being consistent, you can maximize the benefits of the knowledge you possess. 

What works well for us?

1) Start and engage followers in conversation, but also participate in others' chats and communities. This works especially well on Twitter, but is applicable over all platforms. Don’t overload your pages with your own products, but share links to outside content that you think your followers would find interesting as well. It's equal parts give and take.

2) Images draw people in and increase engagement.

3) Don’t post too frequently, but don’t be scarce either. Share quality content on your pages a couple of times a week and followers will be waiting for more.

4) Stay true to and focus on your individuality. What makes your showroom or company different? Translate that to social media and your authenticity will draw people in.

To find out what really works for you and your business' social media efforts, trial and error, and time, is key. And don't forget, we're online and ready to mingle. Hope to "see" you there if we haven't already.

About this author

Nicole Bowling
Nicole Bowling

Nicole Bowling, Editor in Chief, has been with Residential Lighting magazine since 2012. In 2014, she was named one of FOLIO magazine's "20 in Their 20s," recognizing up-and-coming talent in media. She studied journalism at Northwestern University and lives in Boston.

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