The Do's and Do Not's of Successful Social Media Marketing

What is social media marketing?

Social media is a marketing powerhouse for all businesses, no matter size, age or industry. 

It involves creating, curating and sharing content over social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to reach your customers, market your brand and products, and encourage conversions, whether organically (unpaid) or with paid ads and funnels. 

Social media marketing is a multi-faceted, complex and powerful tool, and free-handing your social media strategy isn’t likely to generate many results. While it’s not quite a marketing magic wand, it’s gone a long way towards levelling the playing field – provided you know what works for social media marketing and what doesn’t.

This is by no means a comprehensive list – that’s a guide all on its own – but these 10 rules for social media marketing do’s and do not’s are a great starting point.

DO learn all about it

Social media marketing might seem overwhelming, but some time spent researching how to set up different accounts and how to use them can save you a lot of frustration and confusion down the line. 

Even if you decide to hand over the day-to-day handling of your marketing efforts to a trained employee or team of professionals, knowing your hashtags from your polls will keep you informed and in control, and help you set some goals. 

Speaking of goals, a bit of social media savvy will help you decide what your social media accounts are for. Are they designed to simply inform your customers who you are and growing your community? Is it to act as a customer service platform? Is it to generate sales and garner feedback?

Knowing what you want to achieve will make it easier to avoid falling into the next trap…

DO NOT set unrealistic or vague goals

Goals for social media marketing need to be (at least a bit) specific. Just wanting to “expand the business” is vague and impossible to quantify, and will leave you disappointed – because how do you measure that? 

A business goal is, according to Business Dictionary, “an observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed timeframe.” 

Instead of “expand the business”, set a goal like “get 20 customers to sign up to my newsletter in 2 weeks with a targeted ad campaign and free, short eBook sign up.” That’s specific, measurable and achievable, and helps you set out what you need to do to achieve it without a scattergun approach.

DO choose your social media platforms selectively

Time to bust a myth – you don’t need to be on every single social media platform to get results. 

Trying to keep too many channels up and running can be overwhelming and dilute your messaging if you don’t have the time or expertise needed, making it ineffective. Starting by focusing on one or two accounts with a strong presence and strategy will net better results and foster better customer relationships than lots of watered-down channels.

DO NOT underestimate the time and resources needed

Have we mentioned that social media marketing takes time? Even unpaid social media marketing for business takes time and resources. Your time is money, after all. 

Planning and creating content, both written and visual, and maintaining your social media accounts and engaging with customers is a big job. If you’re new to social media marketing, learning how to use each channel and best practise is a big commitment. Some marketers make their full time living focusing only on one social media platform – that’s how time-consuming it can be. 

The fact that big brands invest so much into social media marketing proves it’s enormously worthwhile for community building and engaging with customers, but results are unlikely to spill in overnight. 

DO complete your profiles

An unfinished social media profile for businesses looks straight up messy. At best, it seems unprofessional. At worst, customers will get bored trying to find your website link or phone number and take their business elsewhere. Your social media accounts are like a digital “face” for your business, and a fully filled in and informative one is much more appealing.

A complete profile in line with your brand makes it easier for customers to trust you and reach out to you, increasing the likelihood and them visiting your website and clicking ‘buy’.

DO NOT copy and paste the same thing across different platforms

Known as “cross-posting”, it might seem quicker to copy and paste the same content across all your social media channels. 

But every channel tends to cater to different demographics and audiences who will be favour different types of content. LinkedIn users aren’t going to be interested in lots of hashtags. Bare Facebook pages with no visuals or photos will look unfinished.

Furthermore, every social media platform has different best practises and even different post types. Instagram and Facebook image sizes are different and can get cropped if cross-posted. Twitter has a character limit that’ll cut off your message part-way through if cross-posted. 

Curating your content for each platform puts your best foot forward no matter where your users find you.

DO actively engage with your customers

Engaging with your customers over social media is an excellent trust-building gesture. By actively responding to messages and questions, posting polls and asking for feedback, and fostering trust and reliability with your audience gives you credibility. 

If your customers feel valued and appreciated, they’re far more likely to buy from you and recommend you to their friends, building your network and extending your business reach.

DO NOT be anti-social

You wouldn’t ignore a customer in a bricks and mortar store asking a question, but you’d be surprised how many businesses post content on social media, then go AWOL and never respond to comments, questions and feedback. 

Engagement matters in social media marketing. Not engaging with active customers will lose you potential conversions because they’ll either be irritated at the lack of contact, or presume the business is no longer active. Staying actively communicative shows relevance and activity. 

DO analyse your content and competitors

Analysing your efforts for effectiveness is the singular best way to improve your results on social media.

Analytics and insights offer detailed metrics and information that will take a lot of the guesswork out of your marketing efforts, enable you to more intimately understand your audience (and therefore market to them more effectively), keep records of how your content has performed, and measure up against your competitors. 

Staying informed means your messaging is far more likely to resonate with your customers. If you know a friend well, you’re more likely going to get them gifts that they’ll love, rather than a generic one that might hit or miss.

DO NOT give up

Social media marketing can be daunting. It’s both a short term and long term game that requires creativity, practicality and data crunching in equal measure. 

Working with digital professionals with years of experience in website and online marketing offers a head-start in the social media marketing game – get in touch with us at Open Door Internet to see how we can help you, whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to get your existing channels back on track. 

Ultimately, always prioritise consistent quality over uncertain quantity. You need to post as often as you can whilst maintain a high level of content value. Maybe that means you only post once a week, but that’s better than lots of scruffy posts that don’t resonate with your audience.

Think of social media as an enormous marketplace. It’s big, loud and busy, but if you get it right, you can reach a huge amount of potential customers.  

Posted by Victoria Brock on May 13th 2019

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