Best practice on social media is far and away the most important thing marketers need to be all over. Things are constantly changing in the digital space, and social media is certainly no exception. From image specs to preferred media type, there is no shortage of habits to add to your best practice on social media handbook.
If you’ve read our Social Media – Team of One blog, you know that managing social media takes a lot of passion, planning, and coordination. We’re making it a little bit easier for you by boiling it down to the top 10 social media best practice tips for this year.
1. Plan It Out
You may think that your business is an exception to this rule. You need to post spontaneously; your industry demands it. Wrong! Now, of course, spontaneous posting can be a part of your strategy, but not the crux of it. If you typically post three times per week, plan and schedule two of those posts and leave an open spot for a spontaneous piece of content.
As the old saying goes, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. It will be a much more effective strategy to ensure relevant posts are consistent than relying purely on capturing the right moment. If you’re struggling to prepare a plan, answer the below questions to get you started:
- Whom are you speaking to?
- What types of content do they want to engage with?
- Are there events or holidays relevant to your industry?
- Do you know your goals on social media? (Ex: increase following, engagement, and/or sales?)
Start by answering these questions, and your plan will form itself. Post more of the content your audience wants to see. Use calls to action that make sense for your business goals. Don’t forget to post about industry-relevant events, holidays, or days of recognition.
2. Be Flexible
Maybe you don’t resonate with the above too much. Perhaps you love to plan. If that’s the case, make sure that you leave room in your plan to be flexible. Things are changing all the time on social media. Just recently, LinkedIn changed their image requirements for their news feed. It’s crucial to stay on top of things like image size requirements to ensure your graphics are optimized. Also, Instagram recently announced that their chronological news feed is making a comeback. How does this affect your posting schedule? Are you aware of the best times to post for your business?
In our ever-evolving world, it’s so important to keep an ear to the ground on changes to platforms, requirements, advertising rules, targeting options, etc. Ensure that your social media strategy has wiggle room for when things change. Subscribe to social media newsletters. Set reminders to check platforms for any changes. Be proactive and stay ahead of your competition.
3. Perfect Your Profiles
One of the essential components of a successful social media strategy, the pages themselves, is often one of the most ignored. Users are on your pages daily. Are you as well? What do they look like to the user? Are they up to date?
If your pages have any out-of-date information, blurry logos, or dead links, you will detract potential customers. As part of your social media management, ensure you set a weekly reminder to check all platforms for any outdated information. If your display picture is your company logo, ensure it’s the appropriate version. Does it include your tagline that’s too small to read? Is it centered and clear? Is it in the most recognizable brand color/s?
The above is a simple box to tick but is so vital to the health of your social media strategy. Make sure you take the time to perfect your social media profiles regularly.
4. Tailor Your Content
It’s so easy to get stuck in the routine of content creation. Every month, you tick the boxes on types of content and wait for the next month. However, it’s vital to any social media strategy to ensure you’re consistently tailoring your content. This could be for your various audience segments or the platform itself.
If you are unsure where to begin, perform an audit on each platform you post. Your audience on LinkedIn may be entirely different from your audience on TikTok. Are you tailoring your content to suit the audience? Also, it’s essential to keep track of what kind of content works well on each platform. Long-form, article-based content will not perform well on Snapchat, but it would be perfect for LinkedIn.
While it’s far easier to ‘one-and-done’ a piece of content and post on every platform, it’s far more lucrative and time-worthy to tailor your strategy for every platform and audience segment.
5. Know Your Audience
This leads nicely into our next tip. Understanding your audience is one of the most important social media best practices for businesses (if not THE most important). So why is it so often overlooked?
If you want to succeed on social media, you need to have effective messaging. And to have effective messaging you need to get to know your customers better. Who are they? What are they interested in? What is their occupation? Where do they live? What goals do they have?
Layering both demographics and psychographics together can help you create a high-level picture of your customer base. This information can be used to segment your customers and create detailed marketing personas that can be shared across teams. A marketing persona is a semi-fictional representation of a segment of customers who have similar goals, buyer journeys and personal profiles. One of our favorite HubSpot resources is their persona generator tool. You can input these key findings and HubSpot will generate personas for you to be easily distributed across your organization.
Once you have your personas, you can start layering additional information from social media listening and any insights gained through your team’s social-led customer care efforts.
6. Listen, Listen, Listen
In Conversations That Connect, a whole chapter was devoted to social media intelligence. Social media is the most important part of the digital customer journey and to be effective at it, you need to be able to capture all the incoming chatter about your brand, industry, and competitors.
Today, social listening platforms allow you to “listen” by analyzing conversations happening on social media and looking for specific keywords. Analyzing the chatter around these keywords in near-real time can become a sort of social media best practices guide for your employees. This information should not only help shape the content you’re posting but also the conversations you’re having with your customers on your social media.
7. Less Content, More Conversation
Back in 2018, Facebook updated its algorithm to prioritize “posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions.” And if Facebook prioritizes something, it’s fair to assume that other social platforms will follow suit. And did they ever. Most social media platforms now focus on prioritizing meaningful conversations over transactions.
Armed with the intelligence you gain from social media listening, your team is well equipped to write meaningful content. In our research and background studying the Social Penetration Theory (SPT), we know that your conversations should include feelings and opinions over facts and cliches. Why? Because feelings and opinions tend to spark more conversation. Using the SPT as a guide, your social media content mix should be 60% opinions and feelings, 30% facts, and 10% cliches. How does your current social media content measure up?
8. Capitalize on Free Tools
You don’t have to subscribe to ten different social media tools to compete. There are plenty of free tools available that can make implementing your social media strategy a little bit easier.
- Canva is an excellent tool for designing content, and there is a free tier. There are thousands of social media templates that you can edit to suit any brand. You can create content by the platform as Canva has pre-made platform templates that fit the size requirements necessary. This tool is also handy if you want to level up your social media game and introduce videos or short animations. There are templates for that, too.
- Buffer is a fantastic tool for scheduling content. A free tier allows you to connect up to three social media pages. You can then plot out your content on their handy calendar view. Voila! You have successfully planned out your content.
- Unsplash is your one-stop-shop for any free stock photo needs. This platform is unique in that the images don’t often have a very ‘stock image’ feel. They’re more realistic and artsy. This ambiguity may mean you have to dig a bit harder to find what suits your needs, but hey, it’s free. All they ask is that you credit the photographer.
9. Research Often
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Social media is changing all of the time. It’s vital to stay in the know, or you’ll get left in the dust. Best practice on social media dictates staying abreast of… pretty much everything.
- What’s happening in your industry? Perhaps significant changes are coming that won’t necessarily affect you but will with your customers. Keep putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience. What do they want to know?
- What is happening in the world? Is there a conflict? A natural disaster? Maybe one of the posts you have scheduled to go out could look insensitive at a particular time.
- What about social media platform rules? If you’re running ads, targeting options and regulations change frequently. Your ads could be at risk.
- What’s trending on Twitter? TikTok? Is there a current trend you can capitalize on?
A good practice to follow is a daily, weekly, or monthly reminder to check the news about your industry and get a pulse check on what’s trending on social media.
10. Watch Your Competition
These days, there are so many tools (some free, some paid) that can help you keep an eye on your competition. You can follow pages through your Facebook Business page to see how you stack up weekly on metrics like engagement and followers.
What are your followers posting? What is getting the most engagement? While you don’t want to mimic exactly what the competition is doing, there is also no reason to reinvent the wheel.
An easy way to do what your competitors are doing from a safe distance is to look at their content and note what pillars they are utilizing. Are they posting news articles? Memes? Get the big picture of what they’re successful at and do your own version.
Source: Napoleon Cat
11. Manage Your Community
This is an easy win but often overlooked. Are users commenting on your content and messaging you? If not, ask yourself why? Maybe your content isn’t drawing them in and needs to be reassessed.
Once you have your community engaging with what you post, then it’s time to capitalize on it. Simply like, comment, share. Ask questions, answer questions, respond frequently.
The above is an easy way to increase engagement, increase social proof, and build a positive reputation for your brand. It’s also a great way to stick out from your competitors. Often, businesses don’t have the time to deal with inquiries in the social media space.
If you find your business is overwhelmed with inquiries, don’t give up. Just give us a call, and we can discuss best practices for your social media strategy.
12. Choose The Right Platforms
Twitter. LinkedIn. TikTok. Reddit. Pinterest. Snapchat. Youtube. Facebook. Instagram. This list of platforms is overwhelming for even the most experienced social media managers. The fortunate thing is, you don’t need to be on all of them. In fact, you shouldn’t be if you carefully select the platforms first.
Pinterest may make sense for some, while LinkedIn is the primary platform for others. First thing’s first. Find out where your audience is. Then, figure out your bandwidth. How many platforms can you realistically be active on?
Best practice for existing on platforms but not living on them is to pin a post. You can pin a message to the top of your feed on most social media platforms. Maybe you can say something like, ‘Hey there, thanks for stopping by. We’re not active on [insert platform here], but we are active on [insert other platform here]. See ya over there! [insert link]
13. Monitor The Data
Social media is undoubtedly a creative space—videos, graphics, trends, etc. But, there’s a world beneath the beauty-filled of data. Metrics can tell you how many users clicked through to your website, engaged with your content, and how many comments, shares, or likes you’ve received.
If you’re not monitoring the data you are receiving, you’re missing out on a massive tool for strategizing. We recommend checking the data briefly every week and in-depth every month.
You can start small. What post got the highest CTR? Boom. Now you know what piece was most successful at driving traffic to your website. What post was engaged with the most? Was it positive engagement? From this data, you can then strategize future content in the same format. Rinse and repeat next month and watch your website traffic or engagement grow exponentially.
If this all sounds overwhelming, don’t fret. Following these ten tips will put you far and above many of your competitors. Take it slow. You don’t have to implement every strategy at once. Start to build these habits slowly and work towards the bigger picture.
If you’re interested in working with an agency on your social media program, get in touch with B Squared Media for a free consultation.
Do you have any best practice tips you’ve committed to in 2022? Let us know in the comments below!