Most of us are used to using social media for personal purposes, like sharing fun moments or staying connected with family and friends. However, when it comes to leveraging social media for marketing your brand, a different approach is necessary.
Transitioning from a personal to a professional account requires understanding and following a new set of rules to avoid harming your business’ reputation. To help you out, we’ve provided you with some basic dos and don’ts of social media marketing.
DO: Create Engaging Content
Social media gives you an incredible opportunity to connect and build relationships with your audience. You want to be sure you’re putting out content that genuinely interests them and encourages interaction. Otherwise, they may start to see you as one big ad.
Some examples of engaging content include polls, Q&A sessions, stories, tutorials, blogs, etc.—anything that sparks interaction. Once you become more comfortable with social media, generating creative and engaging content will become more natural.
DON’T: Ghost Your Audience
A lot of brands make the mistake of thinking they’re done for the day once they’ve scheduled their posts. However, posting is only half the battle. If you’re doing a good job of creating engaging content, people will want to interact with you.
Once you begin receiving mentions or comments on your posts, don’t ignore them. You need to make sure you are encouraging your audience to interact with you by replying to them in a timely manner. If you don’t, they’re going to begin losing interest. Imagine if you were trying to talk to someone, but they never responded; you’d probably give up and move on. The same applies to your audience, so make sure you’re giving them proper attention.
DO: Show Personality
Social media provides businesses with a unique opportunity to humanize their brand and give it its own voice. Take advantage of this opportunity to show your audience that there’s a real person behind the posts rather than coming across as a faceless entity. Do you want your brand to come off as funny and relatable? Professional and informative? However you choose to personify your brand, consistency is key; just try to stray from anything that could potentially offend your audience.
DON’T: Engage with Trolls
The internet is an incredible resource that has provided us with countless benefits to enrich our daily lives; however, it’s also known to harbor some less-than-pleasant characters. While some of the negativity you receive will come from customers with genuine complaints, there are also quite a few users out there who just enjoy causing trouble. Those individuals are commonly referred to as “internet trolls”. Trolls are people who go out of their way to provoke and annoy others online, often through hateful comments or even fabricating stories to defame others.
Trolls feed off attention, so denying them a response is key. Engaging with them only gives them what they want and reflects poorly on your brand. If you’re certain you’re dealing with a troll, consider ignoring, muting, blocking, or, in cases of inappropriate/threatening behavior, reporting them.
DO: Diversify Your Content
Simply posting a few pictures and calling it a day won’t cut it. Diversifying your content is essential for reaching new audiences and keeping the interest of your existing audience. The more varied your content, the more opportunities you’ll have to attract and engage different users.
You should diversify not only the topics of your posts but also diversify the format of your content. For example, there are multiple ways for you to put out an educational post. You could use an infographic, an informative video, a blog post, etc. Experiment with various formats to see what resonates best with your audience. Just be sure you’re not limiting yourself with repetitive content.
DON’T: Look Desperate
Witnessing accounts beg for likes and shares is always an upsetting sight to see. It comes off as desperate and needy, which are two words you don’t want to come to mind when your audience thinks of you. You want users to interact with your content because they genuinely enjoy it, not because you told them to.
Superficial interactions can give you inaccurate data and cause you to believe users are enjoying certain content more than they really are. It can also hurt your reputation by leading users to believe you’re incapable of generating engagement organically. While including a call to action is always a smart move, it’s also smart to make sure you aren’t coming across as pushy.
DO: Study Trends
Trends seem to come and go faster than ever before as people spend more time online. Constantly having to figure out what’s “in” and what’s “out” can feel overwhelming. Thankfully, there are many trend reports out there that can help you understand what your audience is currently enjoying and engaging with.
Given how quickly trends can fade, it’s important to regularly update yourself on upcoming trends vs trends that have already died out. Posting outdated content will have a negative impact on your brand and will make you seem out of touch. To stay relevant and avoid falling victim to fleeting micro-trends, make sure you’re doing your research and staying updated on what’s popular with your audience.
DON’T: #Abuse #Hashtags
Hashtags can be a valuable tool in social media marketing, but they’re often misused. Far too often, we see posts painted with an excessive amount of hardly relevant hashtags. When using hashtags, keep the following in mind:
- Understand the platform’s hashtag etiquette: Different platforms have different rules regarding hashtag use. For example, Instagram generally allows more hashtags than platforms like Facebook.
- Use hashtags for relevant keywords: Using a hashtag before every word is #overkill and will make you seem #annoying.
- Place hashtags appropriately: Where you place your hashtags is an unspoken rule on some platforms. For example, on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, hashtags should be placed at the end of posts and captions rather than scattered throughout.
DO: Maintain a Regular Posting Schedule
Finding a posting schedule that’s right for you can be challenging at first. Posting once every few days may seem reasonable enough to you at first, but that won’t work on every platform. Platforms like Twitter and Snapchat require more frequent posting than platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. Posting more often on these platforms increases your chances of being seen by more of your audience.
However, be cautious not to overpost. Quantity should not come before quality. If you’re constantly posting less than engaging content, your audience is going to start seeing your content as spam. Experiment with different posting schedules to determine what works best and is sustainable for you in the long run.
DON’T: SlopPy PoST
At the end of the day, what you put out on social media is a reflection of you as a brand, so you want to make sure you’re maintaining a certain level of professionalism. The last thing you want is users questioning your competency after reading your posts.
Not knowing the difference between “there”, “their”, and “they’re” will not only irk viewers but also lead them to doubt your credibility. To avoid any silly mistakes, make sure you’re double-checking for any spelling or grammar mistakes before posting.