With social media a marketing staple for businesses in all industries, and across all parts of the globe, it has become more competitively critical than ever for brands to get their collective acts together in the space.
You’ll find no shortage of online articles that offer social media tips, but many of them don’t cover the foundational necessities that are at the core of a successful social media brand presence. Here are a few considerations to help better plan your strategy.
Respect each platform’s nuances
Facebook isn’t Twitter. Twitter isn’t LinkedIn. LinkedIn isn’t Instagram…you get the idea.
Each social media channel has its own unique qualities, and the audience on one will have different expectations than the audience on another.
- Hashtag usage – Instagram users expect to see multiple hashtags on posts, but on Twitter using just one or two is ideal. Few use them on Facebook. LinkedIn is encouraging hashtag use, but the jury is still out on whether it will gain notable popularity as a best practice.
- Frequency of updates – To stay on the radar on Twitter, it requires a much higher posting frequency than on other platforms. So, while tweeting every two hours won’t overstay your welcome on Twitter, posting that often on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn might result in people muting or unfollowing you.
- Formality – LinkedIn, with its professional focus, demands a bit more professionalism than other platforms, but don’t confuse “professionalism” with “stuffiness.” You can be professional without being boring or unrelatable.
There are other distinctions between platforms that you should consider when using them to build your brand, as well.
Strengthen your leadership team members’ personal branding efforts
What sets many brands apart from others is when followers have an opportunity to get to know the head honchos.
Business owners, CEOs, and others in leadership roles have prime opportunities to strengthen their companies' online presence by taking opportunities to share their expertise via guest blog posts, podcasts, media interviews, etc., and all of these have the potential to generate exposure across multiple social media channels and to audiences beyond your business’s immediate reach.
Stay up to date on social media changes
One of the best ways to do this is by subscribing to blogs that focus on content marketing and social media trends and best practices.
A few of my favorites include:
Also, consider following the blogs that the social media platforms themselves publish:
Most important, don’t be a stranger to your social media accounts. You’ll find that you’ll see or receive notifications of changes (such as layout modifications) made to platforms if you log into your accounts frequently.
Get buy-in at the top
Social media followers expect answers to their questions and concerns quickly. Some 42% of consumers that complain to a brand on social media expect a response within 60 minutes.
So, if your social media crew needs guidance on how to answer an inquiry or resolve an issue, you must make it your business’s M.O. to give that individual the information or direction needed to respond within a short window of time. This will mean setting the expectation with your team members that they must make answering questions from your social media manager a high priority.
Accept that you will probably need to “pay to play” if you want to expand your reach significantly
With the intent to facilitate a more enjoyable social media experience for consumers, platforms have tweaked their algorithms to organically show less content from brands in followers’ news feeds. To gain more exposure online, you may need a little help from the almighty dollar.
Fortunately, options like Facebook Ads and advertising on Instagram offer a comparatively cost-effective way to boost your brand and accomplish reaching a more extensive, targeted audience.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew
One of the biggest mistakes I see businesses make is trying to be on more social media channels than they're capable of handling.
Resist the urge to immediately jump on the bandwagon when a new platform enters the field - I’ve actually found that being an early adopter doesn’t always work to your advantage. Not every new channel takes off and sticks around for the long term. Some become short-lived fads (such as Vine and Blab) that suck up marketers’ time without delivering an ROI.
I’m not implying you shouldn’t review what new sites and tools have to offer, but I recommend that you carefully assess their potential benefits for your business before throwing time and money at them.
These are some of the key, fundamental social media marketing elements that are critical, but often get less focus. Cover off on these elements and you'll ensure you're on the right track to maximizing your performance.