5 Social Media Marketing Best Practices You Can't Ignore
Businesses know that marketing methods that worked for years don't really work as well in a socially connected, mobile society. Buyers' habits and priorities have changed, and the impersonal, interruptive advertising that businesses used to rely on is easy to escape from these days.
Social media marketing has become essential to most businesses, but it isn't just a matter of taking the ads you're running from other media avenues and putting them onto social media. A social media strategy is unique unto itself and requires forethought, planning, and avoiding common mistakes. Keep reading to check out these practices that are quite effective, and to learn how to avoid unintentional blunders along the way.
Choose Social Platforms That Make Sense for Your Business
Not all platforms are right for all businesses. While most companies should be on Facebook and possibly Twitter, trying to be on every platform can be counterproductive. Choose platforms that make sense for your business. For instance, if you make wedding cakes, you'll want to focus on image-heavy platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. If you run a technical consulting business, you're probably going to want to focus on LinkedIn instead.
If you try to be on all social platforms all the time, you'll spread yourself too thin and give up essential engagement on platforms that are most suitable for your business. Part of a successful social media marketing strategy is knowing which platforms to focus upon. So look at your target demographic, and find out what channels they're using.
Promote Social Channels in Multiple Places
Sharing buttons next to blog posts, in product descriptions, and on key web pages help you cross-promote your website and your social media presences. You should also make your social presence known in your offline advertising. A reminder to follow your brand on Facebook or Twitter is easy to incorporate into most print, television, and audio advertising. You don't want to go to the trouble of developing your entire social media strategy and then drop the ball when it's time to inform people about your presence! Make it easy for people to find your business on the channel that works best for them.
One thing here: put social buttons in your emails too! It doesn't have to be front and center but don't miss out on those potentials fans. Just because they have subscribed to your email list doesn't mean they are also a follower on Twitter.
Post Engaging Content at Strategic Times
Posting for the sake of posting isn't wise. If you clog people's news feeds, they'll switch you off (and it's really easy to do). Most of your social posts should be informative (AKA: shareable), and only 20% or fewer posts should directly pitch products and services. You should also know when the best times are for posting to maximize exposure and engagement. If you're not sure, you can start with this infographic, but you should use your own social media analytics (like Facebook Insights) to learn which of your posts are most effective and determine why so you can replicate their success.
Simply posting when it's convenient or when you can find a few minutes can lead to a haphazard and ineffective mess. Who wants four posts in one day and then nothing for three days? Fortunately, social dashboards like Hootsuite can help you schedule social media posts in advance, so you don't have to disrupt your schedule to get posts out on time.
Use Paid Social Media Advertising
Significant organic reach on many platforms - particularly Facebook - can be hard to achieve. While it's important to have profiles in order to inform and engage with your users, paid advertising is a fact of life in today's social media world, and it should be a part of your strategy from the beginning. The good news is that social platforms have powerful advertising options with accurate audience targeting and the potential for a high return on investment. And platforms are constantly collecting data that lets them fine-tune their paid advertising options to help brands get the best results.
Interact and Engage With Followers and Fans
I can't stress this enough: social media is not a megaphone. If you don't interact with followers or try to understand what makes them tick, you'll come across as tone deaf, and everyone will tune you out. Learn about what prompts people to like, share, and comment on Facebook and try to tailor your content accordingly. If someone leaves a positive comment on one of your posts, respond promptly to thank them.
If someone leaves a negative comment, though it isn't fun, it's still essential to respond. Remember, you're not just dealing with an unhappy customer, but with other people who are connected to your social media presence and want to see how you handle things. Deleting negative comments can backfire spectacularly, so read them, ask for clarification if necessary, and deal with them professionally and courteously. And whenever possible, take it offline as soon as you can.
Social media marketing requires a different approach than personal social media use. When you know what to do and what not to do when planning your social media marketing strategy, and you can make the most of this powerful medium.