With so many digital social channels, access 24/7, and the constant updates of the platforms, new trends, and techniques, are you aware of what’s hot and what’s not? It can be overwhelming to keep up, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re a blogger, an entrepreneur, or just enjoy online interaction, here are 30 social media tips to help you avoid digital faux pas and grow your following going into this busy Fall season.
1Video, video, video. YouTube is still strong with billions of views PER DAY for longer videos such as How-to’s, DYI’s, music, comedy, and short films. Especially relevant, the cool people are “snapping” short snippets of video teasers.
But even more recently than Snapchat, in April, Facebook introduced stiff competition with their launch of Facebook Live. If you haven’t tried it yet, you must, in order to keep up with market trends. Facebook Live is used for anything from short to longer impromptu videos taped live for real-time viewing. If a viewer misses the “–is live” notification, they can catch it at their leisure. So give your followers an inside behind-the-scenes peek at what you’re doing. It’s a great time to allow your audience to ask questions, or just chat with you.
2Images, Images, Images. ALWAYS add an image, and if it is original, meaning a photo taken or a graphic designed by you or your staff, the more it will be noticed and appreciated. Ninety percent of all information to the brain is visual, and images take less time to process. The mobile and digital age forced consumers to only scan the mounds of information they daily encounter, rather than read in-depth. Images are easy for a reader to scan, they catch the eye, and are a great way to plant well planned short messages. Posts with images are more likely to be shared and attract engagement.
3 Speaking of images. Use a good quality camera. Some mobile devices do a great job, others don’t. Some okay photos can be corrected in a photo editing application, if you have the time, but don’t over-do it. There is nothing worse than a photo with too much saturation.
4Keep it short, unless you are writing a blog on your website. The average attention span of a human is eight seconds. That is less than the attention span of a goldfish, which is nine seconds.
5Hire someone. If your budget allows for a full-time social media marketer, by all means, hire help. You may find that the new business a professional digital marketer may attract more than pays their salary. But if the budget doesn’t have room for a full-time person, consider a part-time person, or outsource it. If you are a very small business, two-three hours per week may be all you need to do a couple posts a day in a couple of different forums.
6Brand yourself: Make sure your logo is on every platform either in the profile photo, the page cover or banner image. Make sure you use taglines and catch phrases associated with your business in your images. If you don’t have a logo or a tagline, create them, or get help. (I can do that!)
7Change it up. Refresh your social media covers, headers, or banner images at least once a month. Most add a cover and a profile pic and it stays there forever. People get bored with looking at the same image all the time. Keep it fresh. Use compelling and eye-catching images.
8Introduce yourself and your team members. Instagram is great way to do this. Post staff hobbies, what you eat for lunch, anything that says a little something about you or your employees’ personalities. People LOVE to know about YOU. One company, Two Chicks and a Hammer, the cast of HGTV’s Good Bones, does “Tribe Tuesday”, where each week they profile a staff member, and “Sneak Peak Sundays”, where they post a behind the scenes teaser.
9Share your company culture. Talk about events, community involvement, your mission, vision, motto, or an impromptu funny or heartwarming moment at the office. Communicating your company culture helps to strengthen brand awareness. Video is a great way to capture these moments. And if you are into technology and want to play around with video, turn them into an animated GIF that continuously loops a humorous gesture.
10 Quotes are good. Especially if inspiring or humorous, but make sure you accompany them with an image, and you credit the author.
11 Encourage engagement: I see many businesses still following the same protocol as if social and interactive capability isn’t even there. They make a post and leave it to sit idle. Talk WITH your audience, don’t talk AT them. Polls are good and they are hot right now. Questions are good. Rather than telling your audience what the special or the current sale item is, ask them what they ate at your restaurant last night, tell them to post a pic in the comments under your post.
12 Offer a freebie. Tell your audience to like your page, like the post, and share the post and they’ll be entered to win a logo cap, or a free dessert. People love free things and will work for them. I witnessed a Facebook group count increase by 1500 members with this technique.
13 If you are confused about what to post on what social media platforms, look forward to an upcoming article that offers advice on what, where, when, and how to post for each platform.
14 Use hashtags. Hashtags are used to search for topics of interest. Use them as often as possible (Caution: See # 10 below).
15 Find what’s trending and try to relate it to your business, staff members, or company culture. Use the hashtag for the trend so that your post may come up for anyone searching that tag.
16 Share other businesses’ posts. Don’t get carried away with it, as you want to post your own original material as much as possible. Occasionally share useful or inspirational posts from other businesses, especially if they have a large following, and tag the page in the post. That way their followers and any other businesses’ followers who share the post will see that your company shared it also. They will appreciate and return the favor.
17 Utilize the Facebook “Call to Action” button. It’s at the top of the business page in the area of the cover banner. Options are “Book now, call now, shop now, contact us, send message, use app, play game, sign up, watch video, send email, learn more”. Switch them out every once in a while. You can point that to your website.
1Don’t try to be on all channels all at once. Find where your audience is, your target customers, and focus on those channels. It is better to do a couple social media channels well, than do all of them halfway. It will take time to figure out where your audience is, so give yourself time to test it out.
2Don’t get frustrated if you don’t get the result you expect. If you don’t get the likes, shares, mentions, hearts, don’t give up. It takes time to build an audience. Original, frequent, and new content, as well as shares and comments are more important than likes, so don’t get hung up over the number of likes on your page or posts. The more you post unique and interesting content, the more you’ll get certain keywords and your company name out in cyberspace.
3 Memes are out! Some don’t agree, but IMHO, they’ve been around for years and it’s time to move on. At least for a business who wants to appear professional, memes are so yesterday! Unless you are a non-profit with a strong social message to communicate, or you are a teenager, resist the urge to post memes. (pronounced “meem” –For the longest time I called them “mee-mee”, then was corrected by an associate.) My point is be more original.
4 Drama is not hot, nor cool. Stay away from it. Ignore the haters, the trolls, the negative nellies. Unless there is a true customer service issue that needs to be dealt with, ignore them, ban them, block them, do not give them the time of day.
Deal with complaints as privately as possible. Encourage them to call or come in, offer them free service, do whatever it takes to resolve the matter. If the incident requires some sort of public statement, make it professional and positive without calling out or bashing the complainer.
5Blurry photos are unappealing, and portray an unprofessional image. It is better to not post an image at all than to post a blurry one.
6Never use someone else’s photo or an image you googled unless you give the photographer or creator credit. This violates copyright laws, and can get you and your business in hot water.
7Bad profile, header, cover, or banner images. If they don’t fit, replace them. Constant Contact designed an infographic cheat sheet that outlines the image sizes need for each social media platform that is very helpful. If you don’t know how to resize or create an image, message me and I’ll help you.
8 Don’t have the same profile or cover image for all of your social media channels. Mix it up a little, people get bored looking at the same thing all the time.
9When you share an individual’s post, make sure it’s a public post, otherwise only the individual’s friends can view it. There’s nothing that kills a post more than the first comment that says “it says unavailable”. You can look to see if it is public under the poster’s name. If there is a “world” icon, then it is public and safe to share.
10 #Hashtags that don’t make sense. Some people get cutesy with their hashtags. I don’t know if they are trying to be funny, or if they just don’t understand how to use them. Using a hashtag is like using a keyword or tag word in a blog. Hashtags are used so people can search a topic and find other posts of the same topic. If you use a hashtag that says #weloveourcustomerstopieces, who do you think is going to search for that? It’s ok for a personal page, or just to be cute, but not in business.
11Don’t use industry jargon, or internal speak. You audience may not understand it. Also avoid acronyms because not everyone knows what they mean, unless you plan on telling them within the post. I can’t even count how many times I’ve read a post on a page where there is an acronym and I have no idea what it means. Remember that there may be new people in the forum, and don’t assume anything.
12Don’t send your Facebook feeds automatically to Twitter. Deactivate that setting in Facebook. Twitter doesn’t like Facebook and it replaces your content with a short URL, eliminating any images. Post to Twitter natively (originate from Twitter), or use a social media publishing tool like Hootsuite. Consequently, I’ll talk about this in a later blog.
13 Long beards are out. It’s time to shave now and be clean cut again. OK, I know this has nothing to do with social media, but still… (Just wanted to see if you’re serious about improving social media skills for your business and read this blog to the end. If you made it to the end, congratulations! Post a comment and let me know!)
I hope these social media tips help you develop your social media skills. Now go grab your mobile video device and start snapping! Post a comment if you have any feedback or questions. If you need help with your social media strategy, contact me! I’m here to support you. If you like this article, please share!