Social Media Marketing Best Practices for Your Small Business
Social media marketing best practices can change as rapidly as the social media platforms themselves. New networks are constantly joining the game, and the existing social media continually change their algorithms and their interfaces to adapt to an evolving user base. It can be hard to keep up, but don’t worry; we’ve compiled a few do’s and don’ts to help you optimize your social media marketing.
- Use visuals. Let’s face it: People scroll mindlessly through the Internet until something catches their eye. Be the flickering light that garners their attention. Not a very visual company? No problem. Try turning stats into infographics or creating case studies as a downloadable PDFs. And don’t forget about stock images. Got a document you want to share on social media? Spice it up with an image that you can buy royalty-free from a place like iStock, Shutterstock, Fotolia or others.
- Be authentic. People can smell a desperate salesperson from a mile away. Inform and share rather than using social to sell, sell, sell. Use human language and communicate genuinely with your audience about topics they’re interested in. And don’t take yourself too seriously! Social media is a social outlet, after all. It should be fun and engaging.
- Schedule strategically. When is your audience online? When are they most likely to engage? Your content could be spectacular, but if nobody’s seeing it, you’re wasting efforts. Social media posts tend to get the most traction when sent in the morning, at the beginning of the work day, and right after lunch, when people are facing those mid-afternoon doldrums. But your audience may be slightly different, so experiment and watch your user engagement to see when you’re getting the most response and viewers.
- Offer value.Give your audience useful content, tools, stats and guidance for their field. Establish yourself as a leader in your field, and share your knowledge freely. Deals, discounts and coupons are nice, but can also be seen as promotional material, so don’t rely solely on those items. For example, let’s say you’re a jewelry business. Instead of posting about how great your necklaces are, try putting together an article about top spring style trends, with practical advice for pairing jewelry with the hot looks of the day. If you can sneak in an example or two from your collection, great, but don’t make it all about you; make it about them.
- Encourage user-generated content. Get your audience involved in the nourishment of your brand by hosting contests and active participation opportunities like “Caption this” or “Who can recreate our logo with the weirdest objects?” Not only does this help you save time by outsourcing your content creation, but it generates brand affinity and boosts fan engagement.
- Bombard your audience. This is the fastest way to ensure someone will unfollow or unlike your page. Posting two to three times a day is okay, but mix up your content and make it relevant to your audience. If you incessantly post irrelevant, repetitive content, people will tune you out.
- Forget to spell-check. Clean copy and tight grammar matter. Sloppy writing reflects poorly on your brand. Attention to detail projects an air of professionalism.
- Ignore your audience. If someone posts a question or complaint on your profile, address it ASAP and don’t delete the content. This shows your current and potential customers that your brand is both responsive, respectful, and transparent. If the comment is negative, you have an opportunity to show how you address an unhappy customer. Often, online complainers just want to be heard. If you can show that you’re listening, and you care, that goes a long way toward demonstrating your customer service priorities.
- Be a one-way street. Interact with your followers and other brands. Ask and answer questions. Share relevant content from other leaders in your industry. Comment on posts and Tweets that mention your brand. Get involved in discussions about your field. We keep saying this: It’s social That extends to your interactions within your industry. Make it a conversation, not a dictation.