The first quarter of the new year is an excellent time to breathe life into your social media campaign and develop strategies for the future. Here are 11 social media best practices to enhance your 2020 marketing.
1. Choose the Right Platform
Which social media platform is best for your business goals? Think about what the platform’s audience wants to see and decide if it matches with your brand. For example, if you need to send traffic to your website, Pinterest is better than Instagram. If your brand is highly visual, though, and you don’t sell products, Instagram is better than Pinterest. LinkedIn is best for B2B companies and Twitter is best for entrepreneurs and thought leaders, especially since it’s a place where people debate both lighthearted and serious issues. Also, visit your competitors’ feeds to see what they’re doing and how much engagement they receive.
2. Claim Usernames Everywhere
Even if you’re not going to use certain platforms right now, claim your username on as many as you can. If you do decide to use a different channel in the future, you’ll already have the username. When all of your profiles have the same username, it’s easier for customers to find you, and it also creates brand unity. In the meantime, keep the account hidden or use it to direct people to your active channels. A tool like Namecheckr can show you whether your username is available in different social media platforms.
3. Fill Out Your Social Profiles
Every social profile you use should have as much business information as it can hold. Instead of answering customers’ questions over and over, they will be able to find the information on their own, leaving you free to handle more pressing business issues. On Instagram and Twitter, that means as much as you can fit into the small profile section. On Facebook, there’s a lot of room to get more detailed. Include contact information, links to your best-selling products or services, and hours of operation. Pottery Barn does a good job of using the different fields in the Facebook “About” section to tell visitors about its business and how to get in touch.
4. Create a Content Calendar
To publish strategically, create a content calendar. You won’t have to come up with an idea at the last minute, and you’ll know exactly who will be creating what and when it will go up. Plus, a content calendar keeps you organized, makes the process of posting more efficient, and gives you a bird’s eye view of your content so you can assess if it’s varied and creative enough.
When creating your content calendar, make sure you include only high-quality content. If you’re a team of one, you may have to post less frequently to ensure published content is up to your standard. Quality should always win over quantity.
5. Pay Attention to Timing
When developing your content calendar, consider when it’s best to publish per platform. Strike the right balance to post at optimal times without overwhelming your audience with too much content. According to Hootsuite, the best time to post on any social media account is between 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. PST, Monday to Wednesday.
6. Design Content for the Platform
Each platform has its own post specifications, so when you auto-share content from one social media platform to another, text could get cut off or links could be reformatted awkwardly. Instead, create each post for the network you’re publishing to. The same goes for video. Instead of adding a YouTube link to your Facebook feed, upload the video directly to Facebook. There are other ways to cross-promote your platforms, such as adding your Facebook and Twitter link to your Pinterest profile or putting a link to your LinkedIn account in your Instagram bio.
7. Take Advantage of Automation
Automate as much as possible so you can spend your energy on more important tasks, like crafting creative content and responding to customers. Schedule your social media posts in advance so you don’t have to publish live each day. You can use either a native scheduler, like the ones built into Facebook and Twitter, or social media posting tools such as Buffer or Hootsuite that lets you connect several social media profiles at once and schedule everything from one place.
8. Mix Up Your Content
Audiences get bored if all your content is exactly the same. Stay on brand and mix it up at the same time. Content can range from behind-the-scenes and company-culture videos to brand and industry news to humorous GIFs and thoughtful blog posts. User-generated content (UGC) is great to use because it connects you to customers and provides ready-made content. Ask for permission to repost or create a hashtag that customers can use when they want you to repost their work. Always give them credit in the description.
9. Stick to the Best Image Sizes by Platform
Always adhere to the right image sizes and orientations for the platform you’re using. For example, long vertical posts go on Pinterest while horizontal posts go on Facebook. Canva has a helpful infographic that covers the best sizes for each social media site.
10. Use Hashtags Wisely
Even though some platforms, like Instagram, allow several hashtags in a post, don’t overuse them in business content. One or two is usually acceptable on Twitter. Use no more than 10 on Instagram. Otherwise, it looks like you’re desperately seeking attention. Most people don’t use hashtags on Facebook or Pinterest, so if you do, it’ll look like you’re out of touch. Always research hashtags you’re not completely sure about. Otherwise, you could accidentally use an offensive hashtag without realizing it.
11. Tag Your Location
If your content is in any way related to your location, add a geotag. This is especially helpful in Instagram Stories because people can view Stories tagged with a location by searching it in Explore and clicking the Stories circle on the top-left corner of the screen. This can bring in new fans who haven’t connected with your account before.
Now that you’re off to a great start for the year, make a point to go over your marketing strategy every three months. Social media marketing strategies are meant to be fluid, and you should change yours every few months to keep it fresh and continue to reach a growing audience base.
By Lindsay Pietroluongo