1. Don’t overdo the promotion
There’s no quicker way to turn off your potential customers than shamelessly promoting your business in every single post that you publish. The golden rule in social media is a content ratio of 70/30 – where 70% of your activity relates to posts that are engaging, informative or amusing and 30% where you promote your business. The best way to engage your audience is through material that adds value to them. Think guides that solve your customer’s problems, articles that interest those within your niche and/or posts that are funny and show a bit of brand personality. Between these posts don’t be afraid to advertise new products or offers to your customers, just keep this type of content to a minimum and you’ll see greater engagement across the board.
2. Do respond to all enquiries
The worst thing you can do is register your social media accounts and then not reply to customer enquiries. Remember that social media is a widely accepted and easy way for your customers to get in touch to ask questions and engage with your brand so don’t ignore them! Leaving enquiries unanswered frustrates your potential customers when they send you direct messages but looks like your inactive and uncaring if that contact is made publicly on your Facebook wall or Twitter profile. This is even more important if you are an online only business, as your customers may well check your social media to see if you are still operational before putting in an order.
3. Don’t delete negative feedback
The first time you receive some public negative feedback. It may be quite tempting to remove the offending comment quickly in the hope that no one will see. This is absolutely the wrong way to deal with negative feedback! When it comes to reviews and negative comments, these are golden opportunities to show anybody that reads them in future how good your customer service is. Sometimes a negative review with a fantastic response is better for your brand than a positive one. Responding to this feedback well is much more effective than ignoring and deleting it, and will prevent the situation becoming out of hand.
4. Do show off your business
Social media is the single best platform to allow potential customers and clients a window into how your run your business. Don’t be shy about posting on topics such as your recent events, your brand values or your exciting news. This isn’t shameless promotion and therefore does not run the risk of putting your customers off. Instead it shows the people behind the brand and is a great way to build trust and credibility with your target audience.
5. Don’t go crazy with platforms
A lot of businesses have an account on every single social media platform going (apart from maybe MySpace). This is great if you have the resources to manage all of these simultaneously but for most small to medium sized businesses it is unnecessary. Instead, pick the platforms that best suit your businesses needs and run these effectively. If you have a lot of visual content (e.g. you are a photographer or retailer) then Instagram is a must. If you sell handmade crafts then perhaps you’d choose Pinterest instead. Do some research and pick the platforms that work best for your business. We’d sometimes advise businesses to stick to just Twitter and Facebook, as these have the highest visitor rates and more chance of users within your target audience.
6. Do circulate your blog material
A great benefit from social media on the search engine optimisation front is the ability for businesses to circulate their blog material straight in front of their following. Social signals are a small ranking factor in search engines but one that shouldn’t be overlooked. Blogging about things your target audience are interested in and linking to this content through your social media accounts will increase your website traffic and show search engines that you are active too. Perfect!
Social media can quickly become overwhelming if you are managing your accounts manually without any forward planning. Thankfully there are loads of useful online tools that can help automate and streamline this process so that it is more manageable. Have a look into a tool like Hootsuite to schedule your posts months in advance. Also check out Crowdfire for content suggestions around your specific keywords as well as some great Twitter management features. There are tonnes of different online tools that will make responding to your followers and tracking down your brand mentions so spend a little time researching.
The best way to increase your reach and post engagement is to include relevant hashtags in your posts. There are established hashtags for almost every industry, day of the week or interest so do some research online to see which you can include. These will put your content in front of more eyes and therefore increases the chances of new likes/followers. Equally, take advantage of being able to “@“ mention influencers and other businesses that you are affiliated with. Basically, bring back the social in social media by making connections and you’ll see greater engagement.
9. Do be as visual as you can
With so much content being churned out by millions of people around the world you need to make sure your content grabs attention. The simplest and quickest way to do this is to be more visual with your posts. It’s good practice to attach an image to every one of your posts, regardless of what you are tweeting about. Even better if you can get your hands on a relevant video or infographic that will really spice up your content.
10. Do re-publish your content
The average lifespan of a tweet is only 7 minutes. Your Facebook posts will only be seen by a fraction of your followers due to Facebook’s timeline filtering. Why are we telling you these facts? Just to emphasise the fact that it is okay to republish posts. Obviously we don’t advise you to queue up 10 identical posts to go out within an hour, but schedule multiples of each of your tweets to go out across a day or week to increase the number of people that see your content.
11. Don’t ever be silent
Our final social media tip is the most important. Even if you have no time to abide by any of the above, make sure that you are never silent. Find content to post regularly to keep your audience engaged and show the public that you are indeed still open for business.
Any questions? Get in touch!
Liam is a website designer and digital marketer based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. He spent many years working within the charity sector before moving into the marketing space a number of years ago. Liam always strives to do something slightly different with every project and always designs to deliver results, not just pretty websites.