5 Social Media Best Practices Any Small Business Can Do
5 Social Media Best Practices Any Small Business Can Do
We often hear about the mishaps, blunders and the big don’ts of social media. With most blunders being made by seemingly smart people. Reason? The social media landscape is an ever-changing array of platforms, rules and regulations. What is correct and necessary today may be completely irrelevant by tomorrow. And, what works next week might not be good enough next month.
Just this week, Social Media Examiner stated in their 2016 Annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report; 40% of marketers believe that social media marketing has become more difficult in the last 12 months. Great! Just what we all wanted to hear.
Following some of the best practices and basic principles listed below will give you a bigger bang for your efforts and create a better experience for your community
The Basics of Best Practices
The basics on social media best practices are sometimes long forgotten or were never learned in the first place. Many small business have limited time, resources and sometimes limited know-how to manage multiple accounts. The catch 22 is many small business also don’t have the budget to hire someone else to do it for them.
If you are juggling social media duties while managing the rest of the business, knowing and implementing a few best practices will help you make the most of your efforts. These efforts do take time to execute, but the payoff will be well worth it in the end.
1. Remember First Impressions Still Matter
First impressions always have and always will be been a vital component in the pathway to success. You know that. They get you the girl/guy, the job, the client and the business. They can also halt any opportunity in the matter of seconds. Especially on social media.
With that being said, do you know what your first social media impression looks like to a potential customer? Take a look at what the montage of social posts and pics can look to a first time visitor to your page. Do you you have a plethora of posts that are self promoting or are you providing valuable information to your community?
Social media shouldn’t be looked at as free advertising. Make sure you aren’t just talking about your selling points. You wouldn’t just talk about yourself in a face to face meeting, would you? If you did the other person would just walk away. Same goes online.
Think about what current or potential customers are searching for. What problems are you trying to solve and how are you solving them. Customers are willing to support companies that care about the same issues as they do. What are the issues you stand for? Including some of these valuable pieces of information with your posts will make a person want to come back for more.
2. Talk To Your Community, Not At Them
Some people believe that the art of communication is dying in the digital age. I think they’re right. Picture talking to someone in person. We automatically and intuitively change directions and approaches during a conversation based on the other person’s actions. We look at their body language and facial expressions. We listen to the tone of their voice. All of which gives us insights on how we can direct the conversation. Basically, if you say the wrong thing, you have an opportunity to quickly recover. Better yet, that slight mishap wasn’t presented to the rest of the world for viewing.
Sherry Turkle, Author of Alone Together: “Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other”, believes online conversations are a completely different story. “We’re talking at each other rather than with each other.” When you talk at your customer you are in essence having a one way conversation.
When posting on social media picture that you are face to face with your customer. What would you say if you were showcasing your product or service in person? You would ask them questions and present to them what they really wanted or needed. Right? Now do the same on social media. Talk to your customers. Ask them questions. Reply to their comments. Proactively engage with your community. This is the best way to improve engagement and grow your audience.
3. A Picture Will Always Be Worth a 1000 Words
If content is king then images are queen. Here are the stats from HubSpot to prove it:
1) Researchers found that colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. (Source)
2) Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images. (Source)
3) 39% of marketers believe that more of their budget should be allocated to the acquisition or creation of compelling visual assets. (Source)
4) Visual content is more than 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. (Source)
5) B2C marketers place more importance on visual content than B2B marketers — and a whopping 40% of B2C marketers say visual content is the most important type of content. (Source)
Pictures are obviously important. But, they are very different depending on if you are uploading them for personal or professional use. Posts with quick images can entertain and enlighten the people in your personal community. Images for business are an entirely different story.
When posting images for a business they should always be clear, consistent and compelling. They should ALWAYS follow best practices for posting images as the design of your images is reflected onto your brand’s identity. Blurry, poorly cropped and mis-sized images don’t just look ugly, they look unprofessional.
Properly sized images will be fully responsive for mobile customers. Smart Insights tells us that mobile use grows 58% year over year, with an 81% increase in shopping. Not paying attention to the mobile safety area can make for a real mess when customers are viewing your pages on phones and tablets.
Every social site will have a place where you can find image sizes and specs. Make sure you are resizing your images for every platform. This may seem time consuming at first, but it is worth it in the end. Overlooking these details can make the difference of capturing or losing a customer or client.
5. Auto Posts Across Multiple Channels
We just talked about how social media platforms are not a one-size-fits all for images. The same goes for content. Busy business people may find it tempting to click on auto-shares when they think of all the time they will save. Yes it will save you some time. However, in the end it can be a dangerous short-cut.
Every social media channel has a unique purpose, each with a different audience. Connecting your accounts doesn’t allow you the opportunity to modify your message or your images. Facebook posts that are auto-shared to twitter are often cut off and missing images. While Facebook posts that are auto-shared on LinkedIn are usually not relevant for business. This will end up making your brand look like you just don’t care about the customer.
It’s ok to share the same content on multiple channels, if that is the type of content consumed on those channels. Just do yourself a favor. Rather than relying on an auto-post, make sure each post is tailored and appropriate for each platform. Doing so will show your community that you care about the conversation, not just about posting a ton of content.
5. Traffic and Reach
Sadly, a ton of great posts just don’t get the traffic they deserve. For the most part, your social media posts are a way for you to promote your website, products or services. What’s the glory in having a carefully crafted post that just doesn’t go anywhere when clicked on. Here are a few reason that can contribute to low or no traffic.
When creating your content, make sure you also thinking about the roadmap you want the customer to follow. Include appropriate and trackable links to your website (using url shorteners) and measure which social media posts are bringing the highest volume of traffic to your website. Then adjust your strategy based on which posts generate the best results.
Another thing to be wary of is the amount of people that are viewing your posts. Especially on Facebook where brands see little reach without promoting a post. We are deep into the days of having to pay to play. Creating content without backing it with an advertising budget can almost always ends up being a waste of time. If you are spending all that time creating great content, it is worth it to putting a little spend behind it to make sure it’s seen. Set a social media advertising budget to make sure you are making the impact you desire.
There you have it. Five social media best practices that can help you maximize your return on the amount of time you are spending on social media. Remember, social media is getting more difficult. A real commitment of time is absolutely necessary to cut through the clutter and make sure your message is heard.