Social media best practices are a great thing. If you don't know where to start or are hitting a plateau, it's great to know best practices inside and out. What do they do? What's the point of knowing them?

For one, it'll help you at least appear more professional in a space crowded by amateur hour. It's a way to take a step back and look at patterns and rhythms of success that other brands have had in order to apply those learnings to your own strategy.

Best practices are a guide to success. They aren't blue prints. Sometimes I have to be reminded of that - even by my own clients.

A Facebook Post Against My Normal Recommendations

Unless you're my client and the rules don't apply to you in an awesome way

We have one client that we don't do community management with but do help guide overall strategy and will do some month-to-month analysis for. In our last monthly report, I noticed that their best-performing post of the month wasn't an image.

It wasn't a fill-in-the-blank post.

It wasn't a meme or a link.

It was an essay.

Significantly more than the recommended amount of characters I mention in our social media bootcamps for maximum engagement. Longer than some blog posts I even bother reading.

The post was a think aloud from the organizational head. They had written something that was on their heart in that moment on the corporate page. It was way longer than any post I would ever recommend for a client. It didn't fit a content calendar schedule.

In spite of all the best practices I know, the post got 400 shares and just south of 1,000 likes. Not bad for an organic page post of a small nonprofit.

Don't Throw Everything Out The Window

I tell you this story to not tell you to throw everything you know out the window. This isn't an argument against sound social strategy. There is a reason best practices exist in their current forms - they are tactics that have worked consistently well for many brands time and time again.

That said, as a brand, you have to develop your own best practices. Find what works for you and nobody else. It will help you find your own win space and stand out in the crowd.

Every once in a while, to do that, you have to throw best practices out the window.