With all that social media has to offer, and the many ways to utilize it, it can seem overwhelming for businesses who are wondering where to begin, or how to get it right. Luckily, we’re a social media marketing agency this is what we do. We know the corporate social media best practices, and we’ll tell you exactly what they are. Let’s jump in!
Really know your audienceThe most important thing when it comes to social media best practices for any business on any social media channels is to know your audience. If you don’t know your audience, how will you give them what they want? How will they give you what you want? First and foremost, know who you are trying to reach. Sure, you can start off with broad generalizations. Stay at home moms, Gen X, cat lovers, etc. But people are multi-faceted. Your approach should be too. Be specific with your approaches and rely on data. That will allow you to know if you are hitting the mark. When we talk about getting specific, there are a few guidelines for your social media marketing strategy that you can follow when targeting:
- How old is your audience
- Where do they live
- What languages do they speak
- Are they in a particular field of work
- What are their hobbies/interests
- What are their shopping habits
- How much do they earn
- Where are they in life? (student, retired, parent, ect)
- Create a market statement
- Test your social ads
- Clearly convey the value of your products and/or services
- Use data to analyze website and social media analytics
- Keep doing that- social media is constantly evolving, stay on top by trying different methods and actively learning from them.
Decide which networks are important to youOftentimes marketers will try to be everywhere, resulting in a presence that is mediocre at best. Take your time in determining what social media accounts would be best for your business. How do you do that? Research the demographics, not only for your audience, but for the users on the social media platforms. Here are some basic things to look for:
- More active monthly users worldwide than any one country’s population
- For the US population, most users fall between the ages of 24-35
- 75% of adults in the US make at least 75k annually
- On average there are 1.4 billion daily users, and 2.13 billion monthly users.
- Over 1 billion users, and over 500 million users that are active every day
- When considering US users between the ages of 18 – 24, 71% use Instagram
- Additionally when considering US users, 43% are African American, 38% Hispanic or Latino and 32% are white.
- A powerful political platform. The best for these audience
- Over 330 million active monthly users
- Around 45% of new users have a college degree.
Create a planThis is where a social media marketing strategies comes into play. A social media strategy will allow you to better reach your goals by breaking down what you want to achieve and how you plan on doing it. This will allow you to easily track your progress on a specific goal, and help you alter it as needed. Creating a social media strategy is simple. We’ll go over the steps.
Set some goalsWithout goals, you won’t have a clear picture as to what is working and what is not when it comes to your social media efforts. You’ll want to track metrics that are useful to reaching your goals and maintaining a presence on social media. For example, if your objective is to grow your brand, you’ll want to focus on awareness. Metrics that show your followers, shares, etc will help you in determining if you are meeting this goal. Likewise if you are looking to drive leads and sales, you’ll want to track conversions. These will be your email signups, website clicks, etc. Another factor worth tracking are your social media KPIs.
Audit yourselfGather everything you need to help you examine what is working and what is not on social media. This will allow you to make a plan on what to improve, and what to let go of. You’ll be able to determine:
- Which network your target audience uses
- Who is connecting with you
- Who you are connecting with
- How your brand compares with your competitors
- Is my audience here?
- If yes, how are they using this platform?
- How does this help you achieve your business goals?
Don’t lose sight of the competitionMake sure you are keeping an eye on the competition. If you aren’t, they will have the upper hand. Use their presence as a learning tool for your own business. What are they doing that works? What are they doing that doesn’t work? You’ll save a lot of time in the long run this way. When it comes to your competitors on social media, there are a few things you’ll want to know.
- Who are they?
- Where are they?
- What are they doing?
- What were they doing before?
- Are they doing what they are doing well?
- Are they a threat to your business?
- What gaps do you have in your own strategy that they seem to have filled?
- The networks where they have a presence
- The size of their audience
- How often they post
- How they are engaging their audience, and how much their audience engages with them (likes, comments, shares)
- Notice what they are good at (photography, call to action, etc)
- Also take note of things you would do to improve their strategy
- What threat do they pose, if any?
Keep your eyes and ears openIt’s good to know what others are saying about your brand on social media. It allows you to track, analyze, and respond to conversations concerning your brand across social networks. If you miss out on this, you’ll be losing the opportunity to gain some valuable insight on your business. Practicing social listening involves two steps.
- Monitoring social media channels to find user generated content, such as mentions of your brand, your competitors, and relevant keywords.
- Secondly, you’ll want to analyze those mentions in order to identify what you should do next.
6. Use social monitoring to discover conversations relevant to your industryJust as with social listening, social monitoring is about knowing what people think of your brand. There are tools that will alert you when your brand is mentioned on social media platforms, who mentioned it, what hashtags they use, and what trends are happening in your industry. Social monitoring is like the foundation for social listening. Monitoring can help you learn from the past and create a better future for your business.
7. Have a clear social media voice and toneWith every interaction you have, and every piece of content you create, you are using your brand voice. This is whether you are aware of it or not. You will build your reputation and create an impression in the mind of those who come across your brand in every way that your brand appears to them. Whether that be online, over the phone, or in person. What this means for you, is that you want to be deliberate with everything. Everything you do reflects on your brand and your message. You create “a whole vibe” as they say. So, what kind of vibe are you creating? How can you convey what you want to so that your customers, prospects, readers, listening, fans, and followers get it? First, find your adjectives in order to develop the voice and vibe you want for your brand’s personality. Secondly, write as if you are talking to the person who is reading your content. Keep it simple, and avoid using a ton of jargon. Write as if you are in the reader’s shoes. You don’t want to sound like you are preaching to them. Walk with them. Also make sure that your message is clear. Don’t be dramatic, don’t use silly, sensational headlines. (You know the ones, they always read like click-bait, and they usually are.) Be direct, to the point, and speak genuinely. You don’t want to sound like you are trying to impress someone with your sensational knowledge. It does NOT pass the vibe check.
8. Use the ‘Rule of Thirds’What does this mean?
- ⅓ of your posts should promote your business, convert readers, and generate profits
- ⅓ of your posts should share ideas from like-minded businesses or influencers in your industry
- ⅓ of your posts should be of personal nature. Sharing stories to build your brand.
9. Respond to all comments and @mentions in a timely manner.When you don’t take the initiative to interact with people that have interacted with you, it encourages people to NOT interact with your brand. Something you definitely do not want on social media. It gives the impression that you don’t care about anyone but yourself, and that you are lazy. Not the impression anyone wants. That’s why engagement on social media can make or break you. You want to be a part of the conversation. Listen, welcome them, answer questions. Be a good host in other words. We can’t stress enough how important it is. Social media is called social media for a reason. You are there to build a community, a brand with a good presence and personality is always going to be welcome.
10. Don’t just copy/paste across networksWhile it may seem efficient to create content that you can post across all of your social media accounts, you will create an appearance of being lazy, and having a lack of personality, even if your content is brimming with it. You’ll want to have a new message for every social media channel and social media post. Yes, it absolutely takes more time and work, but it doesn’t need to be as much work as you may think. Your content can have the same basic theme, or principal, you’ll just tweak it a little for each platform. But it will show that you are paying attention to your audience and the platform they use. Users will see you as a brand that actually cares about what it is sharing. When optimizing your content for each network, think about the words you say. What works well on TikTok or Snapchat, won’t go over well on LinkedIn. Also pay attention to the hashtags you are using. By all means, experiment, you don’t want to use the same hashtags for every platform at all times, but make sure you are using hashtags that make sense. Otherwise you’ll look spammy. Beware of overposting. While it’s important to post regularly, it’s just as important to not overpost. While it may not be an issue on Twitter, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are certainly ones where overposting is a bad idea. Keep in mind what we stated in the beginning. Every platform caters to a different style. A different audience with different tastes. Make sure you are matching your style to what is appropriate on the platform. Lastly, even if you have accounts on several profiles, keep in mind what you are posting to each. Have a new product? Great! LinkedIn doesn’t need to hear about it. Know your platform. Know your audience.
11. Analyze data to determine how often and when to postDid you know there is a right time to post? The right time for you will be dependent on the social network you are posting to, as well as your target audience. For example, you’ll most likely get better results by posting on LinkedIn during normal business hours, while social channels like Instagram will generally do better later in the day when people have free time. The other factor to consider is how often you should be posting. There’s no one right answer for this, but tracking reports on social media will help you determine this. You’ll be able to see who is engaging on your social media posts and when. This will allow you to post when you know your audience is active, thus helping the algorithm work for you.
12. A/B testingA/B testing, also known as split testing, is when you have a piece of content that you make minor changes to, in order to see what works best for your audience. How does this work?
- Start by separating your audience into two groups (they must be randomly selected for this to work)
- Show a different content variation to each one
- Compare the results
- The length of the post
- Using emojis
- Using different punctuation
- Key statistics vs quotes
- Different tone of voice, such as formal vs casual
- Photos of people or products vs graphics
- GIFs vs photos
- Different lengths of videos
- Text only vs text with video or photo
13. The tools of the tradeThere are tons of different tools and apps available to users of social media. The basic way to get started is of course on the platform itself. Many platforms have their own built-in tools to help you enhance your content. From there you can step it up a notch by using tools and apps outside of those platforms to enhance the experience of both you and your target audience. Here are a few apps we love:
- Canva is a great app to create graphics and do some light photo editing. It’s super user friendly and easy to learn.
- Campsite is a wonderful tool when you want to have more than one website linked to your social media profile
- Planoly is a game changer when it comes to posting. You can schedule and see how your grid will lay out before you post.
- Story Slicer allows you to cut, edit, and post videos for various platforms. Best part is it’s easy to use!