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A Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Marketing: Embracing The Wild West of the Internet

Social media is still the Internet’s Wild Wild West. Platforms change like the wind, measuring ROI regularly proves to be elusive, and the online territory as a whole is more massive than many understand. We sat down with Philosophy Communication’s social media manager, Libby Stauffer, to learn where she has found nuggets of metaphorical gold throughout her social media marketing career. Here’s some of her best advice.

READ: Don’t Get Left Behind — Top 8 Social Media Trends for 2023

What are some of the biggest lessons or takeaways you’ve learned about implementing effective social media marketing?

Check your ego at the door

We are all familiar with the Golden Rule, “Treat others how you want to be treated.” When it comes to social media marketing, engage with your brand’s content how you want others to engage with it. If you’re not going to be your brand’s #1 fan, who do you expect will be? 

Social media just wants to have fun

In a world of buttoned-up websites, brochures and emails, social media is like the cooler, funnier sibling who has only one motive… to have fun! Save the straight-edge professionalism for your other marketing outlets and really let your brand’s personality shine. 

The golden question

When creating your brand’s content, rather than asking the question “How is this going to help my business?”, ask “How is this going to help my audience?” Libby recommends curating content that implements some combination of the four fundamentals of content marketing: inspire, inform, entertain, persuade. 

Stay nimble

Always be prepared to change up your plan and add new content at a moment’s notice. With the fast-paced nature of social and the low longevity of its content, if you have the opportunity to jump on an emerging trend, don’t wait. Your other evergreen content will be just as relevant tomorrow as it is today. 

Another important aspect is maintaining a finger on the pulse of your content’s sentiment. Sustaining a continual understanding of how your brand and its content is being perceived helps shape effective future content and discern the type of messaging that best resonates with your audience. 

READ: How To Organically Grow Your Company’s Social Media Presence

Keep your friend close and your competitors closer

Some of your greatest inspiration for new content will likely come from keeping a close eye on your competitors’ socials. Take note of what type of content receives the highest engagement, which posts are a “flop,” the posting frequency they implement and how they interact with their audience. 

What do you feel are some of the biggest mistakes brands make when it comes to social media? 

Choose your channels wisely

The most important factors to consider when deciding on your socials are your audience, your services/products that you’re selling, your competitors and your business goals. 

Too often, companies make the mistake of thinking that just because they can be on every platform, that they should. Because each platform differs between hashtags, tone of voice, audience and optimal graphic sizes, it can prove to be extremely difficult to maintain a successful presence on multiple platforms. If you cannot sustain a consistent content strategy across numerous platforms, there is no shame in scaling back to allocate your time, energy and resources towards a single platform. 

How many cooks are in the kitchen? 

At most, your posts should be reviewed by two to three brand stakeholders before it has the green light to be posted. Creating an excessively laborious flow of approval will only do more harm than good by creating unnecessary roadblocks that prevent your brand from being first on the scene. 

Another factor to consider when there are too many cooks in the kitchen is the increased likelihood that your brand voice will become altered amidst the excessive rounds of edits. 

Are you true to you? 

Prioritize authenticity. Because there is an endless amount of content vying for everyone’s attention, people are craving real brands that are unapologetically unique and true to them. Evolution has led humans to develop an expert nonsense-detector. 

From your experience, what are some of the most impactful ways to best utilize a small social media budget? 

User-generated content is king

User-generated content is original content that is created by an individual and/or consumer, rather than by the brand itself. The beauty of this type of content lies in the positive influence it has on a consumer’s trust and loyalty to the brand and how it builds a sense of community amongst its buyers’, without the company having to spend a single penny.


Alli Westbrook is the social media coordinator for Denver-based marketing and PR agency, Philosophy Communication. While she is a writer at heart, she is deeply curious about social media’s ever-evolving landscape and its role in businesses’ success.