You’ve made your company Facebook and Twitter pages, you’ve carefully crafted a post or tweet, and you hit send. Social media is easy, right? Now, just sit back and wait for the likes and favorites to roll in.
Not so fast. There’s a lot more to social marketing than just posting. Here are some do’s and don’ts for building a smooth and successful social strategy.
DON’T Leave Links in Your Link Preview
When you add a link in a Facebook post, the platform is smart enough to generate a link preview for you with an auto description from the website, as well as a photo. This means you don’t need the long, obnoxious link in your post. It only distracts from your original message, and it’s an eyesore. Plus, it’s an indicator that you might be a social media novice, which is a quick way to lose your audience’s trust.
Helpful Hint: If you just aren’t digging your link preview, you can customize it by changing the title and description, and uploading your own photo. If you’d like to post a photo with a link, simply use a link shortening tool like Bitly. You’ll also want to use shortened links on platforms like Twitter. Additionally, links don’t work on Instagram unless they’re in the bio.
DO Experiment With Posting Strategies
The algorithms from one social platform to the next is vastly different. What constitutes good content on Facebook might not be the best for Twitter or Instagram audiences. Stay informed about trends on what content types perform best on each platform, and experiment with them. What performs better for your audience? Maybe it’s funny, witty short-liners (great for Twitter and Instagram). Maybe a longer post with a few descriptive photos works best for your Facebook audience. Checking your page’s insights by content type will also let you know which type of content performs best for your audience.
Helpful Hint: Facebook insights show you when the optimal posting time is for your audience, as well as what content types are performing best. See “Insights” and then “Posts” in your navigation.
DON’T Delete the Bad
When someone comments something negative or posts a complaint on your page, it’s natural to want to remove it immediately. However, unless there is profane and threatening language or something that goes against your company’s policies or the social platform’s community standards, you should leave it.
The best course of action here is to turn this negative experience into a positive learning opportunity for you and a great customer service experience for the disgruntled commenter and the people watching you. Remember: Online, you always have an audience. You need to show people that you care, and the best way to do that is to make an honest effort to try to connect with this person and take the conversation offline, where they can speak with a real person on the phone or in person about their experience or issue. This all falls under the vein of online reputation management — and it’s important.
Helpful Hint: On social platforms such as Facebook, your company’s responsiveness is shown on your profile. The more likely you are to respond to messages, the more available you will appear to your audience, which will build trust with them.
DO Look for Tagging Opportunities
Give yourself a fighting chance for the maximum number of people to see your content. Organic reach on Facebook is declining — we all know that — and it’s declining at an increasingly rapid rate. On Twitter, the time decay formula makes it so that if you are gone for five hours, you miss a lot (although the “While you were away” option helps with this).
By tagging other companies, you open a door for cross-audiences to see your content. Additionally, using hashtags correctly will increase the likelihood of people seeing your content. Give yourself the best shot organically with a solid foundation of good content and posting practices. That way, when you go to pay for your posts, you get the most out of your money spent.
Helpful Hint: When promoting your posts, it may be tempting to simply hit “Boost Post” underneath, but if you are managing several campaigns, this can be a pain to keep organized. Instead, go into the Ads Manager tool and create a new campaign where you will house certain content topics. Then, create adsets for each post in that campaign. This is similar to housing files in folders on your computer. For example: If you’re doing an ice cream campaign, you can create a campaign called “Ice Cream Campaign.” Then, if you want to promote a post for this campaign, go into the campaign and create an adset with the date of the post and a keyword about the post. When you look at the performance of these over time in Ads Manager, you will thank yourself. Simply boosting a post creates a separate campaign each time, making it difficult to navigate and find key metrics when it comes time for tracking.
DON’T Make It All About You
While it is your company’s social page that people are on, it is not only about you or your company. Social media is about connecting with your audience and courting them. This avenue of marketing allows you to be more personal with your audience than any other platform, and it has to be treated as such.
Algorithms such as the one Facebook uses are set up to show audiences content they actually want to see. And people want to see content that pertains to them, not necessarily content that is all about your company and which has little or nothing to do with them. It’s like having a conversation: If someone only talks about himself or herself, the other party will lose interest. Social media works the same way.
You have to establish trust with your audience and give them a reason to keep coming back. This means getting to know who your audience is and where they are. What is important to them? What resonates with them?
Be human. We’re all on screens, but show your audience that there’s a person behind the screen. Let them see the faces of your employees. Additionally, understand where your audience is. Don’t go on Instagram just because you feel like you should be there. Who are you trying to reach? Are they there? If not, then you could be talking to an empty room that won’t provide you much ROI value.
Helpful Hint: If someone interacts with your post in any way, don’t leave them hanging. If they comment, you should “like”, “favorite” or comment back. There’s nothing worse than saying hello to someone and they ignore you. That’s just rude.