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ServiceScape Incorporated

10 Social Media Best Practices Your Business Can't Afford to Ignore

Tonya Thompson

Published on
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Whether your business or brand is new at social media marketing or you've been doing it for years, here are 10 best practices for social media marketing that you can't afford to ignore.

1. Know your audience

The first rule in publishing for any market is to know your audience so you can give them the content they want. Who is most likely to be following your business' social media feed? Is it your current customers? If so, what is their age range, where do they live, and what do they like to do in their spare time? Are they millennials or baby boomers?

2. Know the platforms and which work best for your business goals

Once you know your audience, you should then focus on which social media platforms your business has the most to gain from. These are two data points that will help narrow your social media strategy into one that is most beneficial for your business and its unique goals.

For example, according to the most recently released statistics on Hubspot, the Instagram community, which has grown to 1 billion monthly active users as of June 2018, has a largely young adult audience (71% of young adults ages 18-24 used Instagram in 2018). Also, more than one-third of Instagram users have used their mobile devices to buy something online—70% more likely than people who are not on Instagram. Finally, 8 of the top 15 most followed brands on Instagram are in the business of retail. This means that if your business caters largely to the young adult sector, has an online shopping portal, and is retail, Instagram is the social media platform you should put most of your focus on.

Once you know your audience, you should then focus on which social media platforms your business has the most to gain from.
Once you know your audience, you should then focus on which social media platforms your business has the most to gain from. Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash.

3. Watch what your competitors are doing

It's always a good idea to follow your competitors' social media accounts to get a good idea of how they engage their audiences and what kind of content they publish and share. Look at how their audiences interact and notice any types of content that seems to get more engagement for them compared to others.

You can also look at which networks your competitors are a part of on social media by looking at the groups they follow and share content from. Notice how often they participate in these groups with likes or comments. It will help you see gaps in your own social media strategy that could be easily closed.

5. Listen for mentions of your brand

Since social media plays a large role in customer perception of a brand or business, it's a good idea to track, analyze and respond to conversations happening surrounding your company. Doing so will help you gain valuable insights on what people are saying about your service, your products and your businesses practices.

This will involve monitoring channels to capture mentions of your brand, competitors, product, and relevant keywords. After that, you'll need to analyze those mentions to determine what kind of response is best. If it's a happy customer, let them know you're glad they enjoyed your product or service. If it's an unhappy customer, address their concerns in a professional manner. Listen to what people are saying about you and how they are comparing your product or service with that of your competitors. This is a great way to learn what features you might need to focus on adding in the future to your offerings.

6. Create YouTube videos

If you're not using YouTube in your social media marketing goals, you're missing out on a valuable opportunity. Recent research suggests onsumers aged 13-24 watch 12.1 hours of video per week on YouTube, social media and other free online sources. This means that if you are spending a significant portion of your advertising and marketing budget by purchasing spots on TV or cable networks, particularly if your target demographic falls within the 13-24 age range, you might be wasting valuable money on targeted marketing that you could be producing and publishing absolutely free.

YouTube videos can be used for a variety of reasons, depending on the type of business you are promoting. You can address your potential customers concerning the services or products you provide; or show your business in action by filming important events, grand openings, community drives, etc.

7. Know the "rule of thirds" for social media content

Social media marketing experts know the "rule of thirds" when it comes to running engaging, successful social media accounts and marketing campaigns. If you're not familiar with it:

  • 1/3 of your posted content should be promotions for your businesses and aimed at attracting new customers and generating profit.
  • 1/3 of your posted content should be ideas from experts and influencers within your industry.
  • 1/3 of your posted content should be posts containing personal stories from past and current customers to build your brand.

What this means is you should avoid publishing constant promotions for your business. Your followers don't want a stream of advertisements to fill their feed so will be inclined to unfollow you if that's all you offer. Rather, they care more about informative, useful content that they can apply to their daily lives and that's what you provide when you offer ideas from experts and influencers.

8. Know the best time to post

This article on Hootsuite offers a summary of data provided by researching 300 brands on social media and dividing the results into B2B and B2C industries. The results show that:

  • The best time to post on Facebook for B2B brands is between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. For B2C brands, the best time to post on Facebook is 12 p.m. EST on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.
  • The best time for B2B brands to post on Twitter is between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. EST on Monday or Thursday, with emphasis on the 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST window. For B2C brands, the best time to post on Twitter is at 12 p.m. or 1 p.m. EST from Monday to Wednesday.
  • The best time for both B2B and B2C brands to post on Instagram is was 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. EST, Monday to Friday. Since Instagram data varied significantly by industry and switched to an algorithm-based feed in 2016, the data was considered based on these factors. You can read more about their findings in this article, showing the best and worst times to post on Instagram based on industry.
The timing of your social media post has a significant effect on how likely it is that your audiences will engage with it.
The timing of your social media post has a significant effect on how likely it is that your audiences will engage with it. Photo by Icons8 team on Unsplash.

9. Use free tools to raise your social media game

Especially if you don't have a lot of time to focus on curating and maintaining your business or brand's social media feeds, there are multiple apps and programs available to help you quickly and easily up your social media game and get more followers. Here are a few you might find useful:

  • Planoly – This app helps curate your Instagram feed by arranging the look of it via a drag and drop feature, schedule content publication and draft captions, manage and reply to comments, and track analytics to better understand your audience. You can use the app for free with limited features, or you can subscribe for a low monthly fee to access all the features and apply them to multiple social media profiles, if needed.
  • Canva – Canva allows you to create graphs, diagrams, and infographics to use on your social media feed, and you don't need any graphic design experience to use it. Through templates and hundreds of icons that are free to use, anyone can generate visual content that engages audiences across social media platforms. Some of the features, templates, backgrounds, and images require a pro membership, but most are free to use.
  • Story Slicer – This app is available for Apple and IOS phones for $1.99 and allows you to cut, edit then post videos for Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp, or VK stories. It's perfect for any brand or company that generates a lot of video content for their social media feeds.
  • Hootsuite – This platform and app offers scheduling, monitoring, content curation, analytics, team management, security and promotion services for your business or brand's social media marketing needs. There is a limited free plan, or you can sign up for 30-day free trials of other plans ranging from $29 to $600 per month.

10. Collect and publish user-generated content

User-generated content is content that your audience creates for you, whether through submitted photos, stories, or reviews. You can run contests to encourage your followers to submit this content and then use what they submit to fill your social media feed with fun, engaging content that you spent very little time generating. It's a great way to involve your audience and keep your social media feed fresh, fun, and doing what it should be doing—attracting and retaining customers to your brand or business.

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