Social media is the ultimate channel for communication these days. In an age that’s dominated by packed schedules and juggling tasks, social media has become the quicker than quick way of absorbing and sharing information. Sure, we’re still using texts and even emails or phone calls to keep in touch with our social circle but how many of you are also chatting in your Instagram inbox, tagging friends on funny Facebook posts, doling out quick reactions through IG stories, or mentioning your friends in Twitter threads?
If you’re like most people, you probably have traces of connection all over your social accounts. However, social has become so ingrained in our habits and blended into our day-to-day lives, that we often forget how powerful of a tool it is. Because of this, businesses that haven’t caught on and incorporated social media marketing into their campaign strategies are missing out.
Whether you’re completely new to the social media marketing world or just a rookie trying to pick up on all of the trends and tactics, we’re here to nudge you in the right direction.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Like we mentioned, social media marketing is a powerful way of communicating with any current and potential customers. It uses social media platforms as a form of outreach where you (the brand) can interact directly with the consumer. Popular social media platforms include Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or Reddit.
What’s great about this type of marketing is that it’s not just a direct selling method. This is a unique and creative tool that can help you build your brand, generate a loyal following, drive traffic, initiate engagement, and most importantly, create a community.
What social media really boils down to is creating a connection with those that come across your page and it works so well that it rivals the feeling of being a regular walking into a local store and having an established relationship with the brand and the owner.
What Not to Do on Social Media
Ready to hear our don’ts when it comes to social media? Here’s the rundown of what we recommend avoiding when you’re creating content and sharing posts on your feeds:
1. Speak to a general audience
While anyone can use social media, your brand isn’t necessarily meant for everyone. If you’ve already invested a lot of time and budget into your marketing strategies, you’ve probably also worked extensively on fleshing out your buyer personas. This is what you can reference when you’re working on content.
Tailor the copy and the graphics you’re posting to speak to your specific audience. Having a good understanding of who you are targeting and which demographics are interested in buying from you is a key aspect to successful social media presence.
2. Forget to factor in data
Social accounts aren’t just for fun and games. There’s plenty of data and insights to validate or redirect what you’re doing. Social platforms have all sorts of analytics that show you how well your posts and your profile overall is performing. These stats are important to consider when creating your plan and taking the time to analyze the data will clue you in on what is and isn’t working with your target audience.
3. Buy followers
We’ve mentioned this for email lists also, but it’s important to make this point clear. When it comes to audiences, quality is always better than quantity even though it can be easy to get caught up with how many followers you have. Social platforms value engagement over numbers. It looks far better to the algorithm when you have people liking, commenting, saving, or sharing your posts.
Oftentimes, it can be tempting to buy a few hundred or thousand followers. But if you really think about it, you aren’t getting much for your money other than an additional number to your following count.
Instead, this could actually be hurting your brand. Let’s say you have 400 followers who consistently engage with your content. This is telling the social platform that what you’re posting is valuable and lets them know it should be shared to more people.
On the other hand, if you were to add 400 purchased followers just for the sake of doubling your count, you’re diluting the percentage of people that engage with your content. Now, only half of your followers are interacting with your brand on social media which doesn’t look as good to the algorithm.
4. Delete or hide negative comments
This has to do with building a trustworthy and transparent brand. Nothing escapes social media users, so it is much better to be upfront about any negativity your company may experience whether it’s due to a random internet troll or a dissatisfied customer.
The most inauthentic thing you can do is hide an ugly comment or thread. There’s a good chance that if you’ve seen it, others have too and making a habit of deleting these can make your brand seem like it has something to hide.
Instead, come up with a plan for tackling these sorts of comments. Is someone being rude just for the sake of it? Those can be ignored. However, if a comment brings up a concern, take the time to address it. If you’re in the wrong, thank them for pointing it out and let them know you’ll do better. Issues that are more personal and specific can be taken to an email or direct message. You can leave them a friendly reply such as, “We’re sorry to hear xyz happened and would love to take the time to address your concerns. Please reach out via email or DM and we can work on getting it resolved.”
5. Use the same message across all accounts
There’s a reason why people have accounts across multiple social media platforms. It’s because each one engages them in a different way and offers a unique experience the others don’t. What this means for you and your social planning is that it’s also important to tailor your messaging to each platform. Each social platform has its own form of communication that’s popular which is why posting the same message across all your accounts doesn’t really get you anywhere.
Instead, learn how to craft copy and content that resonates with each of the social platforms you use. For example, LinkedIn is for professional networking and learning whereas Twitter is known for clever quips and insightful retweets. Understanding the culture of each platform will help you be successful in engaging the audiences on them.
How Businesses Manage Their Social Media Campaigns
You’ve heard some of our don’ts, but you must also be wondering if there are any do’s or best practices when it comes to social media campaigns. How are businesses managing them and (the even bigger question) how are they able to create popular accounts with loyal audiences?
There’s no one size fits all when it comes to social media strategy. But there are trends amongst the best players in the game. Here’s a rundown of what works:
1. Engage in the comment sections
While your content is a major factor in a successful social media presence, remember to show up in other areas of your social profile too.
Don’t stay silent in your comment section.
Instead, take an hour or two of your day to interact with those that have engaged with your content. This could be as easy as a “thanks for the compliment” or a longer follow up, asking questions, making additional suggestions, or offering help. Even a simple like can go a long way. At the very least, this lets the user know that you’ve acknowledged their comment, showing them that there is a real person behind your account.
2. Use automation consciously
Automation can be useful for accounts with massive followings or even for accounts that want to eliminate time spent on answering the same questions from different people. This is a tool that can really free up your time and let you focus on bigger aspects of your strategy.
Just remember that people on social media want to feel like they’re interacting with a real person and automatic or canned responses may start to feel impersonal. You can certainly sprinkle automation into your strategy to help it move along but be sure to add a personal touch to your presence. This is a reason why many companies have designated moderators who are tasked with scanning and responding to users.
3. Create accounts purposefully
Those that know social media understand the importance of not making accounts on every platform out there. This may seem counterintuitive considering the fact that social media feels like you need to be everywhere all at once. However, a good strategy involves knowing where your audience is, where you’ll be most effective, and what your team’s capabilities are.
Just because a social platform is there doesn’t mean that your target audience is as well. Take TikTok versus Facebook as one example. TikTok is used by younger generations of social media users while Facebook is popular among older generations. It wouldn’t make as much sense to invest your efforts in TikTok if you’re looking to attract older customers.
In addition, think about other characteristics of your audience. There’s a reason why B2B companies focus their marketing on LinkedIn and B2C companies utilize Instagram.
Finally, social media is a full-time job and even multiple full-time jobs depending on the strategy you’re running. At the end of the day, your team may not be able to handle managing a dozen accounts and creating good content for each. It’s better to focus your efforts where they’ll be the most impactful and create lots of good content for a couple of channels rather than mediocre content across many.
4. Have a social media strategy
Just think about the companies or people on social media that you religiously follow. You’re checking their profiles for new product drops, reading any and all posts, scroll through their feeds, and looking forward to watching their stories. This is the impact that a well-thought out and genuine social media strategy can get you.
Viral content can happen but that isn’t how most brands stay relevant. Create specific goals to work towards with a dedicated budget and a solid plan of action. Many companies have social media calendars outlined months in advance. Social media marketing isn’t sporadic posting in the hopes of gaining followers, but instead, a carefully thought out and executed plan.
There’s a reason why having a social media campaign strategy is important. It keeps you on track with your goals and keeps you conscious of each step in your process as well as the reason behind each step. This can help you avoid any pitfalls and keep your content at its best.
Focus on genuine engagement and connection and go from there. If you really take the time to perfect your approach and take pointers from other accounts that are already hitting the mark, you’ll naturally pick up on additional do’s and don’ts that will keep you on the right track.