Dos and Don'ts of Social Media Marketing

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We know that it can be a struggle working out exactly what you should be doing on social media. So, say hello to our dos and don’ts of social media marketing: the sure-fire way to help your business become social media savvy! Have we missed anything? Leave a suggestion in the comments below .

DO: Care about your social media presence #JustDoIt

First things first, choose your social media accounts and get your company into the conversation. Social media sites are free to join, easy to create and provide a great platform for people to find and get to know your business. It’s also where your potential audiences are!

You might want to consider which channels are suitable for your business strategy and your audience. Not all social channels are built equally – as a florist, you might be better suited to visual channels like Instagram or Pinterest. If you’re a dentist, your audience may not appreciate those close-ups of fillings and medical equipment as much … you might find that Google+ suits your needs better. Also remember that if you’re a small business, you should be claiming your Google My Business page, and linking this to your Google+ account.

Consider the channels carefully as part of your social media strategy. If time or resources aren’t on your side, start with one social media site, test and nurture this account, then gradually expand to other networks when you’re ready.

Being a part of a B2B business is no excuse to not care about your business’ social media presence. Just have a look at what General Electric (GE) are doing with their Pinterest and what we’re doing on Instagram. If you’re looking for a few more tips on how to optimise your Instagram account, take a read of our 8 Tips for Instagram.

DO: Understand your audience and platform #Research

A little bit of planning on social media will take you a long way. Take the time to explore each channel and monitor conversations. Look up industry-relevant keywords, hashtags and social accounts. Search for your competitors and have a look at what they’re up to, and the people they’re engaging with. Take note to see how your brand can stand out and use your research to form a strategy. This is the key to creating content that resonates with your audience, and that suits your chosen social media platforms.

Have a look at how ASOS manage their Facebook page; cool, attention-grabbing and relevant content that engages with their target audience.

DO: Increase engagement #LikeForLike *

Likes, shares, comments, +1s, retweets, favourites, repins, regrams and tags. They’re all very important, and the more you see on your posts, the better you’re doing on social media. Notice we haven’t mentioned followers ... that’s because it’s not about how large your following is – it’s the quality of your engagement that matters. Social media is all about having real interactions with your audience, not just broadcasting your brand and, the more people interact, the more that their followers will be exposed to your content. That’s how things ‘go viral’. Social media is, after all, about sharing – one engaged follower means the potential for thousands of other new followers  to find out about your business.

Loves Data’s Benjamin Mangold engages his Google+ following extremely well, attracting a hyper level of +1s, comments and shares.

* Please, for the love of data, don’t ever use this hashtag!

DO: Make sure you’re mobile friendly #Smartphones

Think about when you scroll through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – a lot of the time you’re on mobile, aren’t you? 55% of Australian mobile users use social media apps and spend on average 2 hours and 5 minutes on social media each day and if you’re encouraging people to click through from a social channel, your website needs to be mobile friendly. You can test if your website design is considered mobile friendly with Google’s new mobile-friendly test.

DO: Create a social media strategy #Plan

Social media presents an opportunity to shout from the rooftops about what your business is, what it stands for and what you can offer. It’s not too different from releasing a press release, being interviewed for a news story or advertising your business on a billboard. These activities undergo strict reviews and are edited endlessly to make sure they convey the right message. Social media is similar in many ways – which is why you should take the time to create a social media strategy and ask for input from other staff. Your strategy should contain important information about social media objectives, tone for each channel, strategy for content, timing, responding to your community, and staff roles.

DON’T: Be boring #Snoozefest

As we mentioned before, social media is about increasing engagement. So that means you’ve got to get creative to capture someone’s attention. People will scroll past anything that doesn’t catch their eye. On the flip side, you don’t want to become overzealous with creativity and lose sight of your business objectives. This should be made clear in your social media strategy so that your social team knows exactly what the tone and personality of your brand is.

Have a look through our Facebook feed – we break up the week with different content and provide blog resources, news articles, fun office images, memes and jokes.

DON’T: Forget to measure #ResultsNotExcuses

There’s a common misconception that us social media gurus are just kickin’ back and high-fiving over fuzzy likes and cute comments. However, with tools like the Google Analytics social report, we can measure data from social traffic.

Here are our favourite ways to measure social media stats:

  • Twitter Analytics was recently made available to all Twitter users. It provides an easy way to gauge engagement levels and displays important metrics such as clickthrough rates, retweets and favourites.
  • Facebook and LinkedIn both have their own insights tab built into their interface, providing access to audience demographics, engagement and impressions. You can also easily see what posts are performing well at a glance.
  • Iconosquare is a free tool allowing you to  analyse and measure interactions on Instagram. It’s also a great place to manage your instagram comments and even provides a few optimisation tips.
  • Pinterest Analytics will send you a weekly email with a quick show of how many repins and likes you received during the week. Go to your Pinterest Analytics to find out which pins had the most impressions and which ones got clickthroughs
  • With the birth of Google My Business last year, we can take a look at Google+ Insights. See who viewed your profile, amount of clicks, driving direction requests and phone calls made from your listing.
  • Plus, there are a ton of third-party measuring tools, such as Buffer and Sprout Social! What do you use to measure your social audience and interactions?

DON’T: Fuss about ROI #GotMoneyNoHoney or #MoneyAintAThing

Although you will see conversions coming through from social, it’s probably not going to be your highest source of traffic or revenue. However – there’s no reason to get worried. Having a social presence is all about showing your audience what you’re all about and engaging with them, not just selling to them.

DON’T: Overdo it #AnnoyingPPL

No one likes to be spammed with too many posts – besides, it’s a sure way to earn yourself an ‘unfollow.’ Before you get carried away, remember to create a social media schedule to keep things on track. Don’t forget: social media is all about quality, not quantity. Each social channel has its own audience, tone and requirements when it comes to posting frequency. Constant Contact notes that the Twitter news feed moves fast, so it really doesn’t have a maximum amount of tweets, but you shouldn’t go over 10 posts on Facebook.

DON’T: Try to control your audience #CommunityRules

Just as you’re free to post content on social media, your community is also free to respond and leave comments. It’s important to allow your audiences to express themselves, as restricting them may lead to backlash. Don’t delete comments (including negative ones) unless they are spammy, extremely violent, incite hatred and/or racially vilify others. If you receive negative feedback, respond politely and acknowledge it as soon as possible – most people expect a response within 24 hours. Don’t abuse your community or try to convince them to change their opinion. It will lead to no good, as shown by New York’s Union Street Guest House, which could very well be 2014’s worst social media response. There are also other social media disasters to gawk at and most importantly learn from!

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If you could add one more tip to our checklist, what would it be?