Social Media Best Practices
With nearly 80% of the United States’ population having at least one social media profile there is a strong possibility you use some sort of social platform as well. That means that you have likely seen what happens when a person or a business posts something that was not well thought out; before they can hit “delete” the damage has been done. That raises the question: what are social media best practices? How can your business better make use of this powerful platform?
This article will help you to not only know some best practices for using social media are, as well as what to avoid, but also what your social media strategy should be to best appeal to your current and potential customers.
First though, let’s look at what factors have contributed to the rise of social media recently.
The “Social” Aspect of Social Media
Social media arguably got its start as an easy way to keep track of friends and family. Whether it is through pictures, quick video clips, or even games, social media allows people to connect and make friends from all over the world from the comfort of their couch at home.
Before long, businesses and companies from small sized firms to large corporations saw the value of this platform too. Think about it: the ability to reach millions of people within seconds from all over the planet without the need for extensive infrastructure seems like a no-brainer.
That thinking though has led to an inundation of very low interest posts that are not engaging and not effective.
What’s Your Point?
Take this actual post on a social media platform for example:
Pop quiz! What industry is this business in?
Can you tell from this post?
Let’s check the linked article to Forbes to see if that helps.
If you guessed real estate, you would be wrong.
If you guessed a software development company, you would be wrong.
Data analytics? Not at all.
Homeowners insurance? Nope.
For the protection of the company and marketing agency they used, we will keep their identity private. However, we we will tell you that this company is actually in the warehousing industry.
But the point is clear – the point of this post is anything but clear. Obviously, the agency being used to create this content does not have an understanding of the business or its target market, and does not understand “user intent”. This is also a prime example of what your business’s social media account should not be doing: mass distributing low effort content that is mostly irrelevant to your current and potential customers.
How can you avoid this costly mistake?
Look to the Light Bulb for Your “Light Bulb” Moment
Think about this: what does it take for a light bulb to illuminate a room? Whether it’s from a battery like in a flashlight or it is screwed into your ceiling fan or floor light, every light bulb needs electricity. Electricity is fundamentally made up of positive and negative charges, essentially things that share a common trait but are still different.
Can we apply this to our social media strategy, or even broader, who you think your target customers are? Let’s see.
Suppose you run a pet grooming salon. Now, you could only post about things your store is doing, like special hours or sales events, and that might be all well and good, but let’s say you want to broaden and expand. Would you then post about your political views regarding an upcoming election, linking to your local state’s website? No! What does that have to do with your business? If anything, that post would alienate your customers. The two interests share nothing in common, or in other terms, they are not “adjacent” to one another.
Think instead about what other things would be interesting to your customers.
Who are your customers? Likely pet owners.
What do pet owners need to take care of their pets? Just think of a few: pet toys, food and maybe specific types of food for certain dietary restrictions, general supplies like leashes or collars, kennels or other “daycare” type businesses for if they cannot be left home alone, and at times, all pets need veterinary services.
Like electricity in our light bulb example, these are things that are not all exactly the same but share a clear common goal. Posting on social media about topics like these, with good experiences and feedback from your customers, maybe even featuring local businesses that offer these services, are much more likely to align with the interests of your target audience.
Of course, there is the possibility that an errant post or unforeseen but totally innocent wording gets turned around and is sent out, and like standing on your roof and tossing a folder full of files into the air, you are left with the near impossible task of cleaning that huge mess up.
Ultimately, it is best to approach this proactively: face the issue head on, own it, and take the necessary steps to begin to restore trust among your customer base and in the community.
An even better idea though would be to avoid the issue altogether! The steps you can take to do that are to ask yourself:
Prepare – Gather your thoughts about the subject you want to talk about.
Research – With your idea in mind, do thorough research so you can speak with authority.
Draft – Put those thoughts down in writing and let them sit for a few hours or even a day.
Test – Get at least someone else to read what you have to make sure what you want to say comes across well enough.
Nice job! You have made a post on social media! Same time tomorrow, right?
At this point you might be thinking “this is a bit more involved than I thought,” and you would be right. When you speak to your customer base and the general public, even when posting on social media, what you say needs to be well thought out. Additionally, social media marketing trends and best practices change rapidly, so it is vital to your business that your social media presence stays up to date.
Need help managing your social media accounts? Would you rather someone else worry with this so you can spend more time working on your business rather than in it? Reach out to us today so see how we can help!