I manage a number of social media accounts for a variety of businesses, including my own. Hands down the most important thing I've learned is to share good content. At this point, that should go without saying. And while this list is by no means exhaustive, I have learned a few tricks additional that have helped me connect with and grow audiences.
1. DO LISTEN TO YOUR AUDIENCE This is probably the most important of my dos and don’ts and it’s also the most difficult. Most of us like to talk: it can be a lot harder to listen.
The same applies to social media. It should be a two-way street. That means not just responding to questions you get on facebook, but actually keep track of what your followers and customers are interested in and what they’re talking about. And then start thinking about how you can be a part of that conversation.
LISTENING also involves tracking conversations that you aren’t even a part of, reviewing metrics regularly, keeping a sharp watch on which posts resonate, when they're most likely to be seen and which platforms are working best for your business.
2. DO SHARE CURATED CONTENT
Curated content is content that you did not create yourself, that is not about you or your business, but that you think would be of interest to your followers and customers.
Why share this stuff?
Marketers know that by adding value to the lives of their consumers via helpful or interesting content helps build relationships with them. Remember, it’s about finding, “cherry-picking” and contextualizing that content for your audience. Social media experts recommend the 80/20 rule: 80 % of your content should be CURATED and only 20% should be marketing related.
3. DO CREATE A CONTENT CALENDAR
A content calendar is a schedule of what you're posting, when and where. (I.e. which platforms.) In a perfect world, you should make a new calendar each month, taking into account upcoming events and special dates or holidays.
Do this not is just for your customers - who like to know what’s coming and when - but also for yourself. A content calendar allows you to be more organized and it gives you a framework for what you’re doing on social media.
After I decide what content I’m going to share, I like to use Hootsuite to schedule it. But of course, there are other scheduling options.
4. DO BLOG
Blogging is a way to create content for your website, allowing you to connect with your audience on a regular basis. Blogs also build up the amount of content you have on your site, turning your website into a resource for your clients.
Search engine rankings are affected by the amount and quality of content you have on your site. Finally, and most importantly, blogs drive traffic back to your website, where your audience will hopefully check out your services and other offerings.
5. DON'T OVER-POST
I think we’ve all unfollowed people or businesses that inundate us with too many posts. (See point #2) For small businesses, aim for posting on Facebook 3-5 times a week. On Instagram maybe 4-6 times a week. (And please, pretty please, don't post five versions of the same thing.) On Twitter you can and should post more frequently because of the way the feeds work - there's a good chance your tweet will be missed.
6. DON'T FORGET ABOUT PICTURES AND VIDEOS
Considering the mountain of information we’re assaulted with every day, you want to catch people’s eye. Photos and videos do a much better job of that than text alone. I’m going to go out on a limb and say 100% of your posts should have an accompanying photo or video.
Think about this: 87% of interactions on Facebook occur on photo posts. A tweet with a photo is 35% more likely to garner a retweet. Further to this…
7. DON'T POST DIRECTLY FROM INSTAGRAM TO TWITTER
With Instagram, it can be quite handy to use the share buttons and post directly to other social media sites. While Facebook will display a photo shared from Instagram, Twitter will not. It will only come up as a link to your Instagram feed. You are completely losing the benefits of having a photo attached to our tweet. Yup, it's a bit of a pain, but go directly to Twitter and repost there, with your original photo.
8. DO BOOST POSTS
Due to FB algorithms, it is becoming increasingly difficult for all your followers to see all your posts. We're all feeling that pinch. Boosting posts is a great way to increase your visibility without having to spend a lot of money. I’ve seen followers and engagement SKYROCKET after spending as little as $25 to boost a post.
(All this could explain by Facebook's share price has also skyrocketed recently, but we'll leave that for another time.)
9. DON'T FORGET ABOUT LINKEDIN
LinkedIn is still the world’s largest professional social network. And while it is popular, users tend to check it less often than both Facebook and Twitter. (Only 30% of users log on every day.) But because people and companies post fewer status updates on LinkedIn, if you post here, you'll stand out. Of course, not all content is appropriate for LinkedIn: stick to business-related content, and professional news and information.
10. DON'T IGNORE NEGATIVE COMMENTS
This brings us back to the beginning of my list - listening to your audience. If a comment is rude or inappropriate then yes, by all means ignore it or even delete it. But don't forget that social media isn't just a useful marketing tool, it's also a very important customer service tool. By addressing those negative comments, showing that you take criticism and complaints seriously, it helps build trust with your customers.
When it comes to social media for business, it's important to play the long game. It takes time to see the benefits at work, so don’t be discouraged. Social media just one of many tools that should be in your communications and marketing arsenal. But it can be a very valuable and cost-effective one.