It’s 2021. You know by now that social media content can boost the number of followers on your business page. You’re well aware that to promote your business online you have to refine your social media presence.
You regularly scan newsletters advising you on strategies to drive traffic to your website.
You don’t consider yourself a social media expert but you’re strong on common sense. And, boy, do so many of the so-called social media strategies listed in these newsletters lack it. Plain and simple.
The bad social media practices, just like the good social media practices, are out there and they are free. You knew that. If only one of the articles you’ve read on social media behaviors warned you about some of the techniques you’ve tried.
Don’t beat yourself too hard over it. All those who try to accomplish something inevitably make some misjudgments at some point along the way.
Social media research starts on social media
Here’s something that won’t help your social media best practices paranoia: not only is there bad social media advice out there, there is A LOT of it.
But when you think of the huge number of social media posts going live every day, it makes sense for ineffective approaches to slip through, doesn’t it?
A few years ago you would not have gone on social media to gather legit information on a topic of interest, yet nowadays you’re saving Twitter threads.
To master Twitter best practices, you go on Twitter and do your research there.
Social media platforms may have started as places to hang out with your friends online but they have been developing into search engines as time progressed.
With more and more brands and businesses joining social media platforms, it’s only logical for digital marketing to focus on the potential of social media content going forward.
Perhaps the pandemic made the importance of social media marketing crystal clear. With stay-at-home orders on and off, people have retreated to their social media apps.
That’s where users spend most of their online time. Not on websites. No matter how interested they are in what certain websites have to offer.
Therefore, it’s on the social media apps that your brand’s content needs to be. It’s useless for just your website to be promoting your business. You need to align the content on your socials too.
To manage social media accounts you have to be a critical thinker
Best social media marketing practices encourage you to only focus on a couple of social media platforms. Especially if you are a small business and you’re short on time, or if you’re more of a beginner digital marketer and don’t exactly know how to navigate all online channels thoroughly yet.
This is sound advice. However, make sure you watch out for your business long-term as well and create social media profiles on all the popular social media platforms.
Do so even if you only plan to focus on 2 or 3 of them so that you can secure your company’s name. You don’t want to discover someone outside your company has social media accounts with the name of your business just as you’re ready to incorporate more channels into your social media marketing strategy.
Don’t count on your company’s name being uncommon. Even if it is, people may start fan or parody accounts and deny you access to it. No need to risk it.
Set up your business profiles on all the top social media platforms, and if you feel weird about not posting any kind of content on these accounts then maybe curate some articles once a month. It won’t be a huge demand on your time, and your social accounts won’t have completely empty feeds.
It’s unsettling and you’ve surely noticed it in some form but most of social media success comes from giving the impression that the people handling the accounts are always present everywhere.
You know when there’s a bit of an event online and corporate accounts jump in with a sassy comment and get tons of likes for it? It’s as close to viral marketing as we can get these days.
But being on all the time it’s something only algorithms, systems, and scheduling platforms can do. Not the human being managing them. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that to achieve social media success you have to push out content all day every day.
To make it on social media you have to mostly be consistent about planning and scheduling content. You should constantly appear online, not actually be online. You have a full life to live.
Which social media platform works best for me?
How to know which social media platforms work best for your business when you have not tried any of them yet?
Answer these 2 questions off the top of your head:
What kind of content do my customers like?
Choose several social media accounts.
Go through their likes and make notes of the types of content that resonates.
After going through a few profiles you’ll spot a pattern.
Is there a social platform that seems like an almost perfect fit for my business?
Each social platform is crafted differently and comes with its own limitations.
Do you sell products and would benefit from an image-based platform like Pinterest?
Did you put together a tutorial for your brand new CMS and want a platform optimized for video to share snippets of it? TikTok will draw the crowds to your YouTube channel.
Why do these 2 questions matter in particular?
Because for your business to have a successful social media presence, your social media manager has to be completely in tune with what works both in terms of content and platform.
On social media platforms especially people notice if the piece you’re posting is platform-specific or not.
Remember when for a while people were adding hashtags to their Facebook posts for… some reason? Those were most likely some small business owners that wrote a post for Twitter and Instagram and simply shared it on Facebook too.
But everyone made fun of hashtags on Facebook and the trend faded pretty quickly. For your business to have a feed people will want to scroll through and click on, you have to remember to adjust your posts to match the platform.
Just as important, keep in mind that social apps are the laid-back online spaces where people hang out. People open their social media apps on breaks or during leisure time. This means they mostly want to see some interesting things and be entertained.
Your business’ typical unique selling proposition (USP) cannot appear in its usual salesy form in these online mediums. People will scroll right past it. Not because it’s bad, but because that’s not what they are looking for when they are on social media.
So, as serious as you want your clients to take your small accounting business, keep it casual on your company’s socials if you want any kind of social media attention from online prospects.
The follow/ unfollow fails
Ask an experienced social media manager what looks best on a social profile and they’ll tell you a clean, thematic, and visually pleasant feed.
Ask a rookie social media manager the same question and they’ll tell you a high follower count.
None of them is wrong per se. The difference is this: the first answer has a long-term approach to social media strategy, while the second one is focused on a more immediate impression.
The correct approach to a social media business page is to keep in mind that a professional page (as opposed to a personal one) is not to be confused with a celebrity page.
Small business owners fail in building an online community simply because they fail to accept this fact. You’ve seen them online, I’m sure. It’s the people who out of nowhere follow and unfollow you. All this to have a higher number of followers than of people they are following. You know, like a celebrity.
It’s a laughable tactic since your small business that most of the people you’re following and unfollowing have not even got the chance to get to know doesn’t offer them whatever the celebrity they love and support is.
Instead of building a following, your small business should be focused on building an online community around the products, services, and values you all stand by.
Engaging in follow/ unfollow is such a missed opportunity since there is a real chance to learn at play:
Customers learn about your business.
Your company learns about what kind of things draw prospects to your business firstly, and what keeps them staying secondly.
Businesses who buy followers on social media only do so to attract more followers. They are in no way fooling themselves. They know that a big number of those followers are not interested in the online presence of their business and that an even bigger number are bots.
They simply wish to attract the kinds of people that look at follower count. Which is probably more accounts like themselves. Have fun converting that into sales.
Social media success looks different for everyone
If people on your socials go to your business’ website or they sign up to your email list, whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it great.
Maybe you’re posting a fun meme every Friday and your Twitter followers show you some love.
Maybe you put out a practical printable on Pinterest once a month. You’ve been getting comments about how much people look forward to it at which point you’ve thanked them and encouraged them to sign up to your newsletter. That way they can get more of the things they are interested in.
Maybe your personality shines through on YouTube as you explain niche business insights and your subscribers don’t think twice about sharing your video.
If you’ve tried your hand at it before, you know better than anyone that social media success doesn’t happen overnight. This is as much of a blessing as it is a curse.
It’s a relief to learn that you don’t just get one shot at it and that you don’t have to do it all in one sitting. It takes planning, time, focusing on specific platforms, and getting comfortable with thinking ahead and long-term.
And if you ever get tired of social media, these all sound like some great skills to have mastered, don’t they?