The top 10 dos and don’ts of using social media for business
(5 - 6 minute read)
The prospect of using social media for business can be daunting. However, having a social media presence is something that today’s consumers expect from brands, which means that a lack of it usually rings alarm bells.
But simply having a social media presence is not enough; you need to know how to use it properly and stay on top of best practices if you want it to impress your customers and yield a strong ROI. When used and managed properly, social media can help boost brand awareness for your business, drive traffic to your website, grow your customer base and even increase revenue.
With these attractive prospects in mind, we have compiled a list of the top 10 social media do’s and don’ts to help you avoid common mistakes and get the most out of your social media business profiles.
DO - Set clear goals and objectives
If you’re looking to achieve a strong ROI from your business social media activities then you need to start by setting clear objectives. These should reflect and complement your overall business goals, and can be anything from driving conversions to building brand awareness and improving customer experience. Setting numerical values and deadlines can also help keep you focused – for example, you could set an objective to increase landing page traffic by 20% by the end of the next business quarter.
Without setting clear goals to measure against, you will never truly know if your social media activity is having any tangible effects and, even if it is, you won’t be able to prove it.
DO - Analyse and track activity
As you’ve set goals and objectives for your social media performance, it follows that you should also have an established system for analysing and tracking your activity and results. There are many different tools and social media management platforms to help you do this, including Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Socialbakers, Google Analytics and, of course, the built-in analytics tools on each social media platform. With these tools you can track everything from engagement (clicks, likes, shares, comments) to referral traffic, assisted conversions and revenue, plus a whole lot more.
Most of these tools do carry a fee to use, but this is an essential and worthwhile investment to help you determine the effectiveness of social media for your business. The good news is that all of the best paid platforms offer a free trial period, so you can figure out how useful each one is for you before you commit.
Measurement is potentially the most crucial ‘DO’ in using social media for business. It can help you prove your successes, guide future campaigns and pinpoint any failures so you can learn and quickly change direction if necessary.
DO - Keep your branding consistent
A common mistake made by many businesses is visual inconsistencies with branding. Imagine the confusion when a customer who knows your brand goes in search of your business Facebook page, only to be met by a different colour scheme, different logo or slightly different name. At this point they’re likely to give up and leave, either assuming they’ve got the wrong page or assuming you don’t have one, and both are bad news for you.
Make sure you maintain a very clear brand consistency throughout all of your social media channels, including logos, names and colours, to ensure your customers always know it’s you no matter where they are.
DO - Share valuable content
The importance of sharing valuable content on your business social media profiles is twofold. Firstly, sharing useful, interesting content is the only way to keep your customers engaged and coming back for more. If you’re sharing poor quality, meaningless updates, you’ll start rapidly losing traction and your followers will start to drop like stones. Secondly, sharing valuable content that is relevant to your business and in line with your objectives will increase your chances of achieving a strong ROI from your efforts.
Good quality content = clicks = conversions = revenue.
DO - Make good use of social media advertising and promoted content
There are two ways to use social media for business: Organic (which is free to use and publish) and Paid. Paid social media is an extremely cost-effective method of promoting your business, costing a fraction of the price of traditional advertising methods. Paying just a few pounds can significantly boost the reach of your social media posts and content, ensuring it is seen by more of the right people at the right times and in the right places. Assuming the posts you’re promoting contain useful content with clear calls to action, this additional exposure can help drive more conversions and revenue for your business than if you relied on organic social media posts alone.
DO - Keep your messaging consistent
If you’re new to social media for business and you’re managing multiple channels it can be all too easy to go astray with your tone of voice and messaging. After all, each social media platform has a different purpose and a different set of users (we’ll come back to this point later on), so it makes sense that you adapt your posts accordingly. However, you need to ensure that your overall brand messaging and tone of voice is as consistent as possible so as not to confuse your customers.
For example, if you run a professional financial service and want to post content on LinkedIn and Facebook, by all means adapt the language of your Facebook post to be slightly more informal. But don’t go too far and start using an overly ‘chatty’ tone, or you risk damaging your brand image and confusing your audience.
That’s all for the do’s – now let’s move on to the don’ts:
DON’T - Overdo it
Posting too often on your business social profiles can be just as harmful as not posting often enough. According to research by Sprout Social, 46% of social media users will unfollow a brand for posting too many promotional messages on their profiles, which means you need to restrict your output or risk losing customers.
Not sure how often you should post to your social feeds? A combination of 14 industry studies has produced the following post frequency recommendations:
Facebook & LinkedIn: 1 post per day
Twitter: 15 tweets per day
Instagram: 1-2 posts per day
Pinterest: 11 pins per day
DON’T - Use engagement bate tactics
If you regularly use a personal Facebook account then posts like this will be all too familiar:
“LIKE AND SHARE THIS POST TO WIN £££”
For years these posts have been used by all manner of businesses as a quick and easy way to boost their engagement metrics (follows, likes, comments and shares), but no more. Facebook has begun to blaze the trail in cracking down on this type of engagement bating on social media, following complaints from users about ‘spammy’ posts. So, if you were thinking of implementing this type of tactic in your social media marketing this year, don’t. Facebook will demote any posts and pages from brands that use tactics like this, which will signigicantly reduce your reach and impact negatively on the ROI of any future social media efforts.
DON’T - Use all social media platforms for the sake of It
Earlier in the post we touched upon how each of the many available social media platforms has a slightly different purpose and user base. Because of this, not all platforms are necessarily going to complement or suit your business type, ethos or objectives. Tempting as it may be, you should avoid setting up profiles across all channels just for the sake of having a presence there, as this can dilute your brand and do more harm than good.
Returning to our example financial services business, it would be inappropriate for a company like this to set up an Instagram or Snapchat profile. On the other hand, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter would be highly suitable for the type of content this type of company might share.
Know your audience and choose carefully.
DON’T - Get hung up on numbers
And finally, you should never get too fixated on numbers when it comes to your business social media profiles. Business owners tend to lose sleep over not having as many Facebook fans or Twitter followers as they’d like but, while these metrics are certainly important, they’re not the be-all and end-all. This is where quality over quantity really comes into play. You could have 10,000 followers, but if half are spam accounts then your messages will be falling on deaf ears. Often the real value is found in the amount of engagement you’re receiving, and the type of people you’re receiving it from. These are the things that can make you the real money, so pay more attention to these instead.
Now that you’re clued up on the best practices of using social media for business, you’re ready to start reaping the benefits of a well-executed social media marketing strategy. Need some help? Give the team at (hug) a call and find out more about our professional social media marketing services, with packages to suit all businesses and budgets.