20 do's and don'ts of social media engagement
Social networking sites are a powerful B2B marketing tool.
No wonder a lot of business owners are taking advantage of the technology in order to achieve greater exposure for their brands.
There are, however, several things you need to keep in mind if you want to make the most of your presence on social media and build a stronger relationship with your target market.
As Duct Tape Marketing author John Jantsch once said:
“Don’t think of social media as just a megaphone for your business, but think about how it can help you reach your goals.”
Without further ado, here are 20 proven do’s and don’ts of social media engagement.
Know your audience | Start social media conversations | Respond to inquiries, comments, and mentions | Use appropriate hashtags | Post reviews | Share your story | Use analytics | Use the right 'voice' | Stay authentic | Stay active
Try to use all available platforms | Forget to schedule your posts | Ignore current events and trends | Stick with the same formula | Overdo automation | Just sell your brand | Be afraid to spend a little | Overlook the power of discounts and giveaways | Share unverified information | Be snarky when replying to negative feedback
1 - DO know your audience
First and foremost, you need to zoom in and identify your target audience. Know the age bracket of your market, their interests, their challenges, and so on. Creating buyer personas for your social media audience is a must.
This is important because considering “everyone” your target audience will just make it more challenging for you to create the right content. When it comes to implementing an effective demand generation campaign, it’s always better to be more specific.
2 - DO start social media conversations
Social media is all about interactions so if you’re not doing that, you're missing the entire point.
Initiate conversations with your followers by posting a question or maybe asking for feedback from your followers. Plus you can also do surveys and polls.
Again, this can be easily done if you know your audience well enough.
3 - DO respond to inquiries, comments, and mentions
Let’s face it: no one enjoys being ignored.
So when your followers leave questions on your posts or mention you on their feed – specifically when they tag you – they’re expecting to get a reply.
Responding shows you care about your audience. They will naturally pick up on that, so take time to check the comments section to see posts that need your reply. In the same way, answer private messages, especially if they have questions about your brand.
When replying, mention the social media user by name. This is a simple thing to do but will certainly help you make better connections with them. You’re showing that you recognise them!
4 - DO use appropriate hashtags
Yes, it’s also important for your business to #usehashtags!
They can help you reach a wider audience; your posts will become visible to everyone, non-followers included, who may be looking for more information about a certain topic or category.
To simply sum it up, hashtags “make content discoverable in on-platform searches and, effectively, reach more people,” according to experts.
Some businesses even create their own hashtags as part of their branding efforts. Plus you may also use a hashtag to support worthwhile social issues.
Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish with your posts or in your marketing strategies, hashtags can really be a valuable tool.
5 - DO post reviews
If you’re providing your customers with the best products or services, it’s inevitable that some of them will eventually start raving about your brand on social media.
When you get great reviews online, you wouldn’t want to keep them hidden. Go share them on your wall, whether you get them through your Facebook page or via email. Ask for their permission if it’s okay to post their review on your social media channels. Just make sure that you keep your customers’ identities confidential, if needed.
Posting positive feedback on your website or social media channels can increase the trust of potential customers. They’ll be more willing to give your product or service a try if they encounter glowing reviews while they’re searching for your business online.
6 - DO share your story
Everybody loves a good story.
So instead of just sharing why they should buy what you’re trying to sell, why not talk about what inspired you to conceptualise a product or the struggles you encountered as you tried to establish your business.
This can be useful in helping others realise that you’re not just another faceless brand – you’re a real person with a real story. We’ve seen startups go viral online after doing this on social media. So it’s definitely something worth considering!
7 - DO use analytics
Your analytics can come in handy if you want to learn what works and what doesn’t on social media.
With access to key performance indicator data, you’ll be able to make better decisions about what types of content to create in the future. You’ll see which of your past posts got the most reactions, comments, and shares from your online followers.
The good news here, of course, is that there are actually a lot of free and paid analytics tools out there. Explore the market until you find one that best meets the needs of your business.
8 - DO use the right 'voice' for your business
Every company is different. So when it comes to your social media communications, your goal is to find the tone that fits the image of your business.
Are you comfortable with fun or would you rather be seen as a serious brand? It all depends on your goals! What’s most important is that, as mentioned earlier, you know your audience well enough.
9 - DO stay authentic
That said, it’s crucial to remain authentic in your interactions. Keep it real!
Communicate like you would with a friend. Whenever possible, post photos of your team on the feed so you can show the ‘human side’ of your business.
10 - DO stay active
Of course, staying consistent is a huge factor.
Fact: nothing drives away new users faster than seeing your most recent post is from, say, 3 or 4 months ago.
You can’t expect people to follow your page and stick around if you aren’t even active in the first place.
11 - DON'T try to use all available platforms
While there are a lot of free or cost-effective social media platforms out there, it’s not a wise move to try and maintain accounts on all of them. Doing that can get really overwhelming and potentially consume too much of your time.
According to statistics, Facebook remains the world’s most popular social networking site for marketers today. LinkedIn is the number one channel for B2B. Or TikTok could be another option if your brand is targeting a younger demographic.
The main point here is to use the platforms that your actual customers are using.
12 - DON'T forget to schedule your posts
The scheduling tool can be a terrific resource as you strive to share content on a regular basis. Schedule your posts and do it strategically. Learn when most of your target audience are online so they can see your new posts.
Ideally, you should have a content calendar. This will help you plan recurring posts and match them to industry trends.
Speaking of which...
13 - DON'T ignore current events and trends
When developing your social media calendar, make sure that you include upcoming events in your planning.
Again, you want your posts to get some attention and one way of doing that is by staying updated with current events and new trends.
You could have posts celebrating specific times of the year, like Halloween or Christmas for example. Of course, that doesn’t mean jumping on each and every trend out there. Just go for those that are pertinent to your brand and audience.
14 - DON'T stick with the same formula
A friendly tip: aim for diversity.
Switch between posting blogs, pictures, infographics, and videos, among others. Remember that netizens love catchy visuals.
If you need to, hire a good graphic artist who can help you out with this. Or you can go DIY with a tool like Canva.
15 - DON'T overdo automation
While using an automation tool is perfectly understandable when it comes to addressing common questions via private messages, you really shouldn’t rely on it all the time. Social media users are never happy when they receive insincere replies to address their concerns.
You’ll have better chances of improving your online presence if people get the impression that customer service is a personal matter for your business – not just the job of a bot.
16 - DON'T just sell your brand
Sure, you’re using social media as an outlet to sell your product or service. Still, it’s a big mistake to be in “selling mode” at all times. Nobody likes a hard sell.
In some cases, all you have to do is to help out a follower by responding to their questions or pointing them in the right direction.
Remember, sharing value is the key to growing a loyal social media audience.
17 - DON'T be afraid to spend a little
Case in point: there’s nothing wrong with spending on Facebook ads. You want to spread the word about your business, so don’t hesitate to invest a bit on that.
Additionally, you might want to consider tapping bloggers and influencers related to your industry to do sponsored posts or paid advertisements with them. This is definitely one of the most effective social media tactics out there since it gives you bigger exposure in your target market.
18 - DON'T overlook the power of discounts and giveaways
Every once in a while, do giveaways and discounts to attract a greater number of online followers. This could be a great solution for reaching an untapped market. Plus it could be an effective way to show gratitude to your followers.
As a result, brand awareness and audience engagement could grow significantly.
19 - DON'T share unverified information
You want to be cautious when it comes to sharing any type of information online.
When posting statistics or B2B data, it’s better to verify ahead of time. Check your sources and keep in mind that your brand could be negatively affected if you’re sharing false information online.
As they always say on the internet – think before you click!
20 - DON'T be snarky when replying to negative feedback
Last but definitely not least, you need to be professional when addressing bad reviews. Communicate in a friendly tone. Learn to handle criticism gracefully. Do not overreact. Always apologise, if necessary.
Being ill-tempered or sarcastic can do more harm than good in the long run. It’s always best to resolve the issue with the person instead of trying to shut him or her down for being dissatisfied with your brand.
Responding to negative comments the right way can actually result in positive outcomes.
Jessica Elon is the SEO Outreach Specialist at The Farm Soho.