Social media accounts for over 30% of all time spent online.* Yes, 30%!
Keeping up with the latest social channels, their functionalities, features, stickers, stories, etc. can feel like a full-time job ….. and it is.
If you’re like most small business owners, you’re probably juggling many other responsibilities, such as hiring employees, reviewing sales, overseeing daily activities, and more.
That’s why we compiled this list of 10 social media best practices just for you. You’ll find tips for every aspect of social media in business, from listening and engagement to publishing and advertising.
You may be asking yourself, what makes social media so great anyways?
Businesses and individuals bring their own voice, tone, and approach to social media. So as you read these 10 tips, think about how you can personalize them for your unique business goals, customers, and challenges.
1. Research where people are talking about you
The first step in the social listening game plan is tuning your antenna to the right channels. You probably already know that Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are smart places to start listening. But depending on your industry and customers, you may find that forums, Snapchat, Instagram, TripAdvisor, Yelp, or other sites are just as important.
2. Listen for social selling opportunities
Social selling doesn’t always mean conversion directly as a result of social. Usually, it’s about social media managers getting the assist from their sales teams. For example, someone might tweet that she’s thinking about buying a new BMW, and the local BMW dealership chimes in with a useful video. Look for these kinds of opportunities — and also times when someone may not be so happy with your #1 competitor. Social selling opportunities are everywhere once you start looking.
3. Put share buttons in strategic places
A few years ago, social share buttons exploded. Suddenly Facebook and Twitter logos covered every surface of brick-and-mortar stores and websites. We’ve since learned that share buttons should be used more strategically. Use social media buttons to let people know about a new network you’ve expanded to (maybe Snapchat or Instagram) or to indicate where they can get quick customer service, and always provide a valuable reason they should connect with you.
4. Grow your audience the right way
Big numbers of fans provide an ego boost and may help your boss see that you’re doing a great job. But what you really want is to grow your audience responsibly and sustainably. The old-fashioned formula of sharing consistent and valuable content, sending timely responses, and acting like a human still works for growing your audience on any social platform.
5. Be mindful of oversharing
While it’s important to stay in the loop and maintain social relationships, posting too often can turn off your audience. Delivering focused, exciting content less often will yield better results and help you grow your following. Create a content calendar with a posting schedule and stick to it. Everyone in your social media audience is busy — and they’ll appreciate clear and concise communication.
6. Help your customers become experts
You’ve accumulated a ton of knowledge about your industry, products, and services. Share what you’ve learned with your customers and community and help them become experts in their own right.
Here are a few approaches:
- Pay attention to the questions your customers ask most and put them on the FAQ section of your website. A robust FAQ library is a great way to assist your service team and show customers that you know their biggest concerns
- Answer every question and provide resources for further reading
- Lead by example. Conduct research, post case studies, and share learning moments on your blog
You don’t always have to have all the answers. Just be helpful.
7. Deal with negative feedback swiftly and skillfully
When someone has negative things to say about your company, respond quickly and don’t delete the post from your page if it’s on a network like Instagram or Facebook where comments can be deleted. Your customers may view deletion as a sign your brand is dishonest and trying to hide the truth. And don’t feed the trolls — stay focused on constructive criticism. If someone is clearly out to tarnish your name, it’s best not to play into their game on social media. Instead, send them your customer service email address or phone number and ask them to contact you directly.
8. Respect the rules of each channel
Smart social media managers understand that each social network is its own entity. Even if you want to share the same thing (like a big product announcement) across mediums, make sure you’re using each social network the way it’s meant to be used — and to the best of its abilities. For example, a Facebook post doesn’t need to be under 280 characters like a tweet and can include larger image sizes than an Instagram post.
9. Test ideas for new marketing campaigns
One of the biggest benefits of building a large social network is the ability to test new copy and concepts with that audience. Experiment with different headlines and post types to find what might work in an email subject line. Look back on your most retweeted content to get ideas for new content marketing efforts. Your social audience is a great petri dish.
10. Use tracking URLs
Tracking URLs are a great way to prove the return on investment (ROI) of social. As a rule, every time you publish, post links that have a tracking code built into them. This tracking code will then feedback into an overall database, helping you track which social networks are driving the most traffic and purchases. When it comes to proving the ROI of social, every link counts.
Are you a small business owner looking for social media marketing help? Not sure where to start or what to post?
The Digital Main Street Digital Service Squad is available for one-on-one consultations. Get personalized support and mentorship in what matters most to your business.Book a CONSULTATION now Lauren Underwood, “Social Media Captures Over 30% of Online Time,” We Are Social, wearesocial.com/uk/blog/2017/09/social-media-captures-30-online-time.