There’s a huge scale of difference between using social media for personal reasons, and using it to manage and develop a brand and online identity for a business. The latter comes with the added responsibility to be “the voice” of your business or client, and therefore posits an added set of rules to consider.
- Always keep your target audience in mind: Before posting anything up on your social media accounts, ask yourself, “Who is my audience, and what kind of content do they find most engaging?” Although the answer to this question can change according to the platform you use, it will always act as a steady compass to guide you in copy creation.
- Post throughout the day: Social media is the city that never sleeps – it’s always abuzz with new content and conversation. Therefore, you can no longer get away with just posting between 9-5 on weekdays. To maximise engagement, work out when your audience is most receptive to messages and post your content during these optimal times.
- Respond to comments – fast: Social networks provide the perfect platform for dialogue, so the best way to show appreciation to your social media audience is not only by providing them with high-quality shareable content, but by engaging with users who reach out. Address all comments, including negative reviews, in a timely manner – at least within 24 hours.
- Maximise the shareability of your social messaging: Format is just as important as content - the more share-friendly a message is, the more people can pass it on and increase its exposure. Sticking to word counts, adding images and videos and using appropriate hashtags can help you maximise the chances of this. When tweeting, consider keeping your message length under 100 characters to allow users to retweet, or to personalise the tweet with their own comments.
- Don’t spam your followers: While social media automation can come in handy at times (sending preset email replies when you’re out of the office), you should avoid it when directly interacting with your audience, with automated Twitter DMs, private Facebook and Instagram comments often treated as spam. On a similar note, using a social media content calendar can help you keep your accounts active by dispersing your messages across different channels, therefore avoiding the saturation of some accounts at the expense of others.
- Don’t follow to be followed: The extensive use of fake accounts and follower bots means a follower count should no longer be your primary KPI when measuring social media success. Avoid aimlessly following users in the hope of increasing your follower count. Not only does this ruin your social feed with an oversaturation of posts, but can also devalue your follow. Instead, only select accounts that provide valuable content.
At the end of the day, remember that your content may not work for everyone. Unfollows are common and it’s impossible to convince all users to stay. However, do keep a track of your unfollows and watch out for steadily increasing numbers, as this might signal a need to change your social media strategy.