Looking for a bit of a crash course in social media basics? Need to tighten up your social media strategy best practice? Scratching your head thinking ‘How do I grow my customer base online?’ As a freelance social media manager, I’ve got lots of tips up my sleeve from my own experience if you want someone skilled to manage your social media – and I’d love to chat about that further – but first – here are 7 absolutely essential social media practices for businesses that you should follow.
1. Actually have Basic Info Visible
It’s a no-brainer but you will not believe how many brands I’ve come across who don’t have the absolute essentials plastered across their social media. Yes, there’s character limits and space is at a premium but if there’s one thing you need to do on social media it is display up-to-date, correct basic information in a very obvious way: direct phone number(s), email address (a general inbox or customer service if you prefer), address(es), opening hours, current menus (if applicable), stockists (if applicable)… you get the gist without me trailing off into every possible business’ individual basics.
2. # Instagram Posts
Cleaner, neater, less vulgar. No one wants to see your desperation for interaction, especially if it’s done wrong. You can effectively ‘hide’ your hashtags in a comment underneath each image for a cleaner look. By all means, use a hashtag or two (maximum three) in the body.
3. Images in Tweets, Widen Your Reach
A simple trick to tag more profiles and widen the reach of a tweet. Include an image and you can tag up to 10 profiles. This saves valuable space within your 140-character limit and might free up characters to add a relevant hashtag or some further written detail. Don’t abuse this, if Twitter profiles are tagged for no reason they will be annoyed, but this is great if you’re sharing content that links or mentions lots of other businesses and you want to shout about all of them together/at once.
4. Facebook is not dead
You need to be a little bit more savvy with Facebook, which in 2016 has around 1.6 billion active users. That’s a huge market that you MUST tap into. Here’s some perspective: that’s 1/7th of the entire world population; double the population of Europe; roughly the number of practicing followers of Islam on Earth. My advice? Content is king. Make your content varied (images, videos, links, polls, text posts) and offer something that will inspire a reaction in people, whether it educates, informs, pleases or inspires – they are more likely to click ‘like’, comment underneath and/or share to their circles.
5. Be Part of the Online Conversation
Participate in local #[location]hour (#MCRhour, #LouthChat, #SmallBizHour) weekly tweet chats. Join or create Groups on Facebook. Ask fans to interact in your comments on Instagram. Host a video Q&A on Snapchat. Don’t just spread your seed and expect to reap rewards, talk to customers or potential interests and make your brand more human. It’s a two-way street and you want to know as much about your customers (for your own benefit) as they want to know about you.
6. Timing & Targeting
This is about knowing your audience and being aware of their movements. You wouldn’t start a conversation with someone going into a meeting in real life. Likewise you wouldn’t ask for someone to proof-read a policy document just as they’re going to lunch. Social media follows similar rules and you need to target your content appropriately to get the best reach and engagement. If your market is city office workers, post during their commutes and lunchtimes. Busy housewives will have freer time in the mid-late morning and early afternoon. Teenagers are glued to their phones, tablets and computers pretty much every evening, so 5-7pm is crucial. Know your target market and literally target them at times they are more likely to see your posts.
7. Gifs are Great
For the Millenial generation, gifs are a language of their own. (Note: apparently they are pronounced ‘jifs’ but I’ll never stop saying ‘gif’ with a hard ‘G’). A moving image that nails an exact emotion, movement or cultural reference with little or no words is worth its weight in gold. Using gifs will instantly add value, humour, relatability or resonance to whatever you’re trying to sell/market. Twitter now has automatic GIF integration in every tweet and Facebook supports many of them as well, Giphy is the best site to use with a huge bank of options.
Need some extra help with social media practices? Drop me an email to chat about affordable social media management