5 social media do’s and don’ts

By 13th May 2016Marketing, Social Media

Even the biggest brands can struggle with their approach to social media. As an SME with limited resources, how can you manage your social media channels effectively, maintaining a consistent presence, without making mistakes that could damage your brand – all whilst doing your day job? We have put together 5 simple do’s and don’ts to help you keep on the right track!

1.    DO: Create a social media policy
A simple set of guidelines should form the foundation of your social media marketing, setting the tone of your posts and interactions, and giving those responsible a model to follow. Think about brands that you follow on social media. What do you like about some of these brands? If you are able to put these characteristics into words, which of them would you like to emulate? Your social media policy will be the blueprint for your brand’s digital presence and is a great help if you have several people responsible for managing your accounts on different days. A general rule we follow is that if you wouldn’t say it to your grandmother, don’t post it on social media! If you already have a social media policy, it’s a good idea to revisit it from time-to-time, to check it still reflects your current business thinking.

“A general rule we follow is that if you wouldn’t say it to your grandmother, don’t post it on social media!”

2.    DO: Think like a publisher — plan your content strategy
Content is still king. To ensure you are using social media effectively, give yourself a plan to follow. Create a content marketing strategy for the year ahead that will underpin your social media activity. A social media ‘listening project’ will give you a strong start – see what others in your space are doing, get a sense of the content they produce that’s popular. Though you’re likely to share posts across several of your social media profiles, try to bespoke content for specific channels occasionally, to keep things interesting and fresh. Also, whilst you should be aiming to keep your social media activity frequent, don’t be tempted to just post for the sake of it – try to make every post count!

3.    DON’T: Assume that social media is ‘just a job for the office junior’
Social media is your brand’s online voice. Have someone handling your accounts who is capable of monitoring and dealing with any comments that may arise. In a recent blog post, Kit Smith at Brandwatch cites that ‘78 percent of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour’ and ‘77% of Twitter users feel more positive about a brand when their Tweet has been replied to’, so you need to ensure that you have guidelines in place for engaging with your audience on social media.

4.    DON’T: Waste time
Social media is a great way to create engagement and build relationships, but you should be achieving your set goals too e.g. to grow your email list, to gain sales leads etc. Maintaining a meaningful presence takes time and a commitment on a daily basis. Make sure your efforts are working for your business. Use social media analysis tools that are built into the main platforms to gauge engagement, and to see what is working for you. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have built in insight tools, as do social media management tools such as Sprout Social etc. Try alternative times of the day for different social media platforms to see if this makes an impact on your engagement rates. Use this data to adjust your social media strategy if necessary. Make sure your efforts are focused in the right places – monitor your audience and the social media platforms they favour, don’t be afraid to change or try something new.  Analyse what’s working and what isn’t, review and amend your goals accordingly.

5.    DON’T: Just sell
Yes, of course you want to market your business, but you don’t want your followers to switch off. Your posts should be insightful, informative, engaging, and sharable – always think to yourself ‘would my audience find this useful?’. By following this rule of thumb, your posts will not only be interesting, but will also help you to grow your network. Try to be as non-promotional as possible, instead aim to be open and helpful. Social media is about engagement – interact with people, lay the foundations for being a thought leader in your sector by sharing useful information, and build credibility with your followers as the person to speak to should they need advice. Don’t be afraid to engage with others, by commenting on or ‘liking’ their posts.

“Your posts should be insightful, informative, engaging, and sharable – always think to yourself ‘would my audience find this useful?’”

If you would like help or advice regarding your social media policy, or are struggling to manage your social media accounts day-to-day, then why not give us a call on +44 (0) 1730 719 600. We’d be happy to chat through the various ways we could help you and your business.

Image credit: TCmake_photo/istockphoto.com


Author Charlotte

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