Social media is a window into the personality, products, and services of your business, and a venue for interacting with your target audience. These are golden opportunities for marketing, but only with the right approach. Every business is unique and will have different strategies for success. No matter what your specific strategy is, following the best social media practices for business will help you to hone your tactics and maximize the value you get out of social media.
Social media allows you to promote the various aspects of your business in a number of ways. However, it should not be used solely for this purpose; and promoting is very different from pitching. Your main focus in your social media posts should be on educating and engaging with your audience, in a way that brings value to them while raising awareness about your brand and products. A rule of thumb is for 80% of your posts to be appealing, educational, and/or beneficial to your customer, and 20% of your posts to promote your brand.
One of the benefits of social media for business is that it provides many opportunities for you to express your brand. Consistency is the key to brand awareness, so it is a social media best practice for business to create some guidelines around your posts. Determine the type of content you want to share, what your writing style is, and how you want to interact with users. This will help keep your messaging the same across social media channels, allowing your target audience to more easily recognize and recall your brand.
A call to action is a prompt for users to engage with your business or participate in activities related to your business growth. With all that you can offer to your audience on social media—information, tips and tricks, special promotions, and updates—it is important to use calls to action in your posts to get users to engage with the content.
If you sporadically manage your accounts, then the time you are taking on them, even if it’s small, is wasted; and as a business owner, you can’t afford to waste a second of your time. If you neglect your accounts, you end up increasing the time you spend on social media when you log in, as you have a lot of catching up to do.
Build social media management into your schedule to ensure that you put in the time that your social media strategy needs in order to be effective. Identify the amount of time you can afford to spend on social media, and determine how to distribute that time throughout your week.
In addition to being consistent with your profiles and posts, it is important to be consistent in your frequency of activity and engagement. This social media best practice for business is not just for businesses that are highly active. It is for all levels of activity. Whether you are on once a week or twice a day, being consistent with your activity will allow you to stay on top of your strategy. It will also allow users to know what to expect from you, which is key as people like predictability.
Scheduling all of your posts for the week in one session can save you time throughout the week. It also requires you to come up with the posts all at once, which can help you get into a rhythm and produce consistent content in a shorter period of time. Nevertheless, one of the social media best practices for business is to mix scheduled and spontaneous posts. Scheduled posts are practical, but spontaneous posts are just as important in your social media engagement. These posts tend to have more personality and excitement, and give you a “digital pulse” to show your followers that you care about them enough to monitor your accounts.
Social media is all about personal interactions and building relationships. Therefore, one of the most important social media best practices for business is to be interactive, not just active. Rather than just posting, be sure to respond to comments made on your posts, comment on your follower’s posts, and share valuable content from other users. You might also take your conversations a step further by reaching out to loyal customers or avid fans through direct messaging.
Engaging with your followers and with those you follow makes you a part of a community. It also shows your followers that their voice is heard too, that they are valued, and that you care about more than just your business.
Products and services do not attract customers; it’s people who deliver them and the experience they create. Social media platforms can help you to tell your story to prospective customers and provide insight into the experience of being a customer. Therefore, it is a social media best practice for businesses to inject their personality into their posts.
Using language specific to your company when sharing informative content is a great way to be both relevant and personal, and distinguish your business from competitors. You can also show our personality by posting behind the scenes pictures, offering your perspective on something, or sharing quotes or cartoons. Knowing who is involved with and what goes into the service you provide can also earn you respect and appreciation from customers.
While your intuition and your followers comments can give you a general idea of what they like and don’t like, it is their behavior that has the final say. Sometimes, people don’t even know what they like! That is why it is a social media best practice for business to utilize data and analytics. Most social media platforms have free basic analytics tools. These tools gather audience behavior and show you which posts got the most shares or likes. You might also want to use Google Analytics on your website and used tracked links so you can identify which platforms are bringing in traffic. These insights can help you to determine what to post in the future, and when the best time for posting is.
Social media encompasses many different channels, networks, and audiences, and every business is unique. It will take some time for you to determine the strategy that works best for your business, but don’t let that deter you from using social media. If you follow these best social media practices for business, you can turn these widely used platforms into low cost, highly effective tools for marketing your business.