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 audience
The 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)
You can use a few of these tactics to learn more about your target audience on social media:
- 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 you
Oftentimes 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.
As you can see, there are different audiences to reach in each social media platform. Knowing your audience, and knowing what platform they use will help you decide what is best for you.
Create a plan
This 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 goals
Without 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.
Gather 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
It’s also important to be honest about your social media presence. Take a look at each platform your business is on and ask yourself:
- Is my audience here?
- If yes, how are they using this platform?
- How does this help you achieve your business goals?
You may find that some accounts aren’t worth keeping. And that’s ok! You don’t want to waste precious time trying to keep an account going that just isn’t working for you.
Don’t lose sight of the competition
Make 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?
You’ll also want to take a look at:
- 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?
Your social media competitors can be a great source of inspiration for your own social media strategy.
On that note, you can even reach out. See about collaborating together, talk to their marketing team. Just because they are the competition doesn’t mean you can’t learn from one another!
Keep your eyes and ears open
It’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.
Some things you can do are to respond to a happy customer, an unhappy one, or even a troll. Test one campaign against another. Or you can shift your brand voice and tone in a significant way.
Look closely at how social media users think about you in comparison with your competition. Is a struggle happening with a competitor? That may be a good opportunity to make your presence known.
Look at your competition and their complaints to see if you can resolve pain points. Does that competitor have a product or feature that is being shown in a negative light? Can you provide something similar, but better? Or better yet, is there talk about something that customers wish your competitor provided? Can you provide that?
Look for positive mentions for your business. Is there a user or an influencer who has spoken highly of your brand? Maybe it would be beneficial for you to collaborate with them.
Take the time to listen and learn. It’s well worth your while.
6. Use social monitoring to discover conversations relevant to your industry
Just 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 tone
With 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.
Something to keep in mind is that when you share content it shows your followers that you not only know the industry, and that you are well positioned in said industry, but that you have a collaborative nature. That’s always appealing.
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 networks
While 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 post
Did 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 testing
A/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
When performing A/B testing, the key is to change one thing at a time. Otherwise, you’re back to guessing what piece of your content worked if you change multiple portions.
So what should you be testing with A/B testing?
A/B testing is most effective when used to compare the text in your post.
You can try different variations of post text such as:
- The length of the post
- Using emojis
- Using different punctuation
- Key statistics vs quotes
- Different tone of voice, such as formal vs casual
CTAs or call-to-action are an important part of your posts. This is when you are directly asking users to perform an action.
As an example, if you are wanting someone to use your service or shop through an app instead of a browser, your wording can make all the difference. If people see a CTA saying “Install Now” they are less likely to move forward with that CTA. You’ll get better results with “Use App” or maybe, “Shop Now”.
Posts will always perform better when they are coupled with an image or video. If you are having trouble deciding which to do, this would be a great opportunity for A/B testing. You can test various designs such as:
- 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 trade
There 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!
14. Check your results and adjust as needed
Once you’ve gone through all these steps, you probably feel like you have a good handle on effective social media management. And you do!
There’s just a few more details to make sure you are really making an impact in your social media strategy. First you’ll want to determine how much you are spending on social media, and how much you are earning.
You can do this by tracking data from your social accounts and campaigns in order to improve your performance.
For example, let’s say you are working on your Facebook strategy. Facebook has an analytics dashboard that will show you how many likes, followers, and how much engagement you have for both your pages and your posts. You can use this data to compare differences before and after campaigns.
If you are looking to boost some ads to increase these numbers, but aren’t sure which ones would be best, you’ll head over to the “Promotions” section.
From there it’s pretty straight forward. Don’t be afraid to play around and find different features if you feel a little lost. It’s one of the best ways to learn.
Like Facebook, Twitter has a dashboard that will allow you to look at information, month-to-month. You’ll see things such as the number of likes, top tweets followers, mentions, engagements, impressions, and promotions for your tweets all in a set time period.
Twitter will also show you the demographic information for your audience. This is very useful in finding out how your audience and their interactions differ from platform to platform,
Instagram offers some in depth analytic information for business profiles. You can gain insight on exactly who your followers are, when they are online, and more.
You’ll be able to track the number of times your posts were viewed, how many times users went to your website, and how many users clicked your username to visit your profile.
Similar dashboards can be found on Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Take advantage of these tools to find out what’s working and what’s not so you can create the best social media strategy possible.
We love to watch businesses big and small succeed on social media. It’s our passion. If at any time you need a helping hand to guide you through the process, we are always here for you.