Social Media Best Practices

I have been skeptical when recommending Facebook to clients or using it to advocate for my own products, services and causes. But the fact is that Facebook and other forms of social media can pay dividends in many ways. Getting rich fast isn’t the payoff for most people, but it’s certainly happened for some.

Other metrics to look for on social media include engagement, market research, competitive research, awareness, understanding and more. It’s just another collection of channels to reach influencers, media, consumers, stakeholders and voters. It’s a way to garner endorsements and scorn alike, much like the other media channels in the world. In other words, it’s impossible to ignore the conversation on social media and foolish to do so for many reasons.

Social media is a platform for positioning, messaging, education, advocacy and overall online visibility. It’s where you will find the leaders in your industry. If for no other reason, monitor social media just as a form of competitive research and market research.

The conversation is dynamic, real-time and viral. The endorsement effect is huge when managed in a favorable way. Your activity on social media also tells the search engines like Google and Yahoo! that you are a leader who should be followed. As such, your social media activity can impact your search engine profile, which is another significant payoff. How can you shape a conversation on social media productively? Here are a few very general tips that will help you generate even better ideas of your own:

1. Use engaging copy, images and videos.

  • Rich media like photos and videos get more attention and help your message stand out in News Feed;

  • Lifestyle images like the ones you see from your friends on Facebook are always engaging. Try sharing images of your products or photos of your customers enjoying your services; and

  • Keep your posts between 100 and 250 characters to get more engagement. Shorter, succinct posts are better received.

2. Create a two-way conversation.

  • Ask your audience to share their thoughts and feedback on your product and services. This is another way to listen to your customers and improve your business.

  • Posting content that shows you took their feedback into consideration can build customer loyalty and show you value their ideas.

3. Share exclusive discounts and promotions.

  • Offer special deals or perks to your customers to keep them interested and to drive online sales. Include call to actions with links to the most relevant page on your website.
  • In Action: BarkBox creates posts with promotional codes. They found that valuable offers like buy-1-get-1-free or discounts over 20 percent were more likely to be shared and it helped them spread the word about their business.
  • To improve engagement with your promotions, include clear calls to action, redemption details, and when the promotion ends to add a sense of urgency.

4. Provide access to exclusive information.

  • Reward people who are connected to your Page and drive loyalty and online sales by providing them with exclusive information. Make them feel special by sharing exclusive product news, contests and events.

5. Be timely.

  • Your audience will be more likely to engage with posts when they’re related to subjects that are top of mind, like current events or the holidays.

  • Timeliness is also important when replying to comments on your posts. The faster you reply, the more likely fans will engage with you in the future.

  • Post a daily sneak peek of upcoming product sales two weeks prior to Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

6. Plan your conversational calendar.

  • The easiest way to stay in regular contact with fans is by creating a conversational calendar with ideas about what to talk about each week or month.
  • A content calendar will not only help you post regularly, but will ensure your content is well planned, interesting, and that you don’t miss major business events and news. Find a frequency that works for you and your audience.

7. Schedule your posts.

  • To better manage your time, you can schedule your posts in advance and plan for upcoming holiday events and specials
  • To schedule your posts, simply click the clock icon on the lower left-hand corner of your Page’s sharing tool
  • Schedule your posts when most of your fans are online. You can find out when your fans are online by visiting your Page Insights and going to the posts tab. 
  • After you’ve scheduled a post, you can manage your scheduled posts by going to the top of your Page and choosing Edit Page and then selecting Use Activity Log

8. Target your posts. If your posts are meant for specific groups of people, you can target your post in your Page’s sharing tool by clicking on the target icon at the bottom left corner and selecting Add Targeting.

You can target your post based upon gender, relationship status, educational status, interests, age, location, and language.

9. Use link posts to drive people to your website. Link posts now have a larger, clickable area that helps drive people to your website.

10. Review the performance of your posts. Check your Page Insights regularly to understand what’s working to keep your posts relevant and engaging. Page Insights will help you understand your audience and what types of content interests them.

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