Tips and Best Practices for Marketing on Social Media
- Social media usage is growing quickly, making it critical for businesses to establish and expand their marketing efforts on these platforms.
- The first step is to identify your needs and goals.
- Know your target audience and the social media sites they use most.
- Share engaging and relevant content in multiple formats.
- Monitor your pages regularly and engage with your followers.
- Track essential analytics so you can improve your results.
- Use paid advertising to boost your results.
As social media gets ever more popular, most businesses appreciate the need to have a Facebook page and accounts on other sites such as Twitter and maybe LinkedIn. However, for many smaller and even mid-sized businesses, coming up with a viable social media strategy can be daunting. Another challenge is staying consistent with your efforts. In this article, we’ll provide some useful guidelines for forming and implementing a plan for social media marketing.
Identify Your Goals
The first step is to get clear about your goals regarding social media. These may include one or more of the following.
- Generate leads. This may include sending traffic to a landing page where people can join your email list.
- Sell products, whether for a physical store or an e-commerce site.
- Build brand awareness.
- Build and expand your online community.
- Drive traffic to your website and other online content.
Focus on the Right Platforms
There are many social media platforms to choose from. It’s hard to be active on all of them without diluting your efforts. Depending on your business and target audience, certain sites will be more profitable than others. The following are some points to keep in mind about the various platforms.
- “Everyone” uses Facebook. Because Facebook remains, by the far, the most widely-used platform, every business can benefit by having a Facebook page and posting regularly. Facebook really encompasses all demographics and industries.
- Instagram and Pinterest are great for sharing photos and other visuals. Food, fashion, travel, real estate, and pets are just a few examples of businesses that can entice customers with compelling images.
- LinkedIn is essential for any company that does business-to-business marketing.
- The age of your audience may influence your choice of marketing tactics. Younger users are more likely to spend time on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
- Gender is less of a factor on social media than in the past. However, Pinterest still has an audience that’s over 76% female.
If you want your customers and followers to engage with you on social media, you have to give them a steady stream of content. You don’t always have to post something long or profound. People like to be entertained on social media, so short videos, graphics, and links to relevant information (just don’t link to competitors) also foster engagement. Automation tools (discussed below) can make it easier to post on a regular schedule.
Share Timely and Engaging Content
You want to give your followers a reason to read, watch, and engage with your posts, videos, stories, and other content.
- Keep up with the latest news and trends in your industry.
- Consult question-and-answer sites such as Quora to keep up with your customer’s problems and concerns.
- Repurpose content for social media. Blog posts, long-form articles, white papers, and videos can be turned into shorter social media posts.
- Make use of visual content. Your own photos, short videos, custom memes and illustrations, and original infographics are generally more engaging than stock photos that are likely used on hundreds of other sites.
Post Content in Diverse Formats
Social media sites are providing more options to post in a variety of formats. In particular, short videos are great for capturing your audience’s attention. The Stories feature on Facebook and Instagram is a good way to draw attention to your content. As Business2Community reports, Facebook Stories has 70 million users while Instagram Stories has 300 million.
Another way to set yourself apart is to use live video. Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Instagram Live, Twitch, and others let you connect with followers in real time. Live broadcasts can be done from home, the office, or at events. For example, you can broadcast from a convention or festival and give viewers a close-up look at what’s happening.
Use Automation Tools
There are many automation tools that can help you manage your social media marketing more effectively. For example, you can use a calendar to post on a preset schedule. You or your team can create all your posts for the week in one session and schedule them to appear on certain days.
Engage With Your Followers
It’s important to engage regularly with followers on your social media pages. In order to do this, you have to monitor your pages daily. Reply to comments and questions. At the very least, like positive comments to acknowledge that you’ve read them. You can encourage more engagement by asking questions and posting polls and surveys.
Handling Trolls and Negativity
Another reason to monitor your pages regularly is to spot and respond appropriately to trolling or negative comments. You can always turn off comments on a post or change your settings on who can comment. For example, you can set it so only followers of your page can comment on profiles you follow. When it comes to a specific grievance, it’s always best to open up a private dialogue with the customers. Send them a private message via social media and try to resolve the issue. You don’t want to get into long and contentious discussions on social media.
Social Media Analytics
As with any type of marketing, it’s essential to track your social media metrics. Essential metrics to track include reach, impressions, views, engagement, and audience demographics. Social media sites all have their own analytics tools. You can use the following as well as various paid tools and services.
- Google Analytics — You can integrate GA with social media. If you’re using an older version, be sure to update to GA4.
- Meta Business Suite — This tool, which covers both Facebook and Instagram, has replaced the old Facebook Analytics. Clicking on Insights gives you information about the results of your posts, stories, and ads.
- Twitter Analytics
- LinkedIn Analytics
As noted, the ability to engage in free or low-cost marketing is one of the top benefits of social media. However, you can amplify your results with ads on sites such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube (part of Google Ads), Pinterest, and others. It’s especially critical to track your results with paid advertising. Facebook and other social sites let you target your audience based on demographics and interests. Start with a small budget and scale your efforts.
Social Media Marketing is a Powerful Tool For Business Growth
Statista estimates that the number of social media users worldwide will grow from around 4 billion in 2021 to more than 6 billion by 2027. Every business can benefit by forming a social media strategy that helps them connect with prospects and customers. If you’re consistent with it, social media will pay greater dividends as you gain more followers and engagement.