First and foremost, your business should have a presence on social media. By now, you’ve heard this and you may already have dabbled in this digital space. Social Media can help you connect to your customers as well as get your brand in front of new prospects. In addition to brand awareness, having a well-rounded presence on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, or Twitter (to name a few) can boost sales and create new leads. 

Facebook first came on the scene in 2004 and has been a social media driving force for over 16 years. So let’s face it, social media is no passing trend. It is continuing to grow and effectively change the business and sales landscape for everyone. Everyone!

For most business owners and leaders, knowing how to effectively use social media in the professional realm can feel daunting. It looks so easy, yet it feels like a lot of work. How can you even tell if it’s working for your business? Before you dive into the social media world, take note of these 5 Do’s and Don’ts for your business.

Which social media platforms should my business use? 

Many businesses make the mistake of creating an account on every social media platform. You instinctively start with Facebook, because that’s the biggest one you know, right?  Then you cruise over to Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well because there are millions of users there and you want to get your business in front of as many people as possible.  

The truth is that your business most likely doesn’t belong on every platform or even most of them for that matter. This brings us to our first DO:

Do:

Define your audience before creating social media accounts.

With any good business or marketing strategy, it is important to define your target audience. For example, what are some specific details about the type of person who will want to buy your product or service? Is this person under the age of 30? Over the age of 50? What other brands are they likely to engage with? What kind of job does this person have? 

You should answer these questions first because not all social media communities look the same. Our first DON’T will tell you why:

 

Don’t:

Focus your attention on platforms your
target audience isn’t likely to use.

While it’s not uncommon for someone to have a profile on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat, they’re not engaging on all of them equally. 

Recent research from Sprout Social shows that only 23% of 50–64 year-olds use Instagram. However, 68% of 50–64-year-olds use Facebook. 

So let’s say, for example, your business is Financial Advising and Wealth Management. Yes, some of your clients are under the age of 50, but most of your target audience lies in the 50+ age range. You have a better chance of reaching that audience on Facebook than on Instagram based on those statistics. 

Main takeaway: It may be better to dedicate your full attention and resources to one social media platform than to divide your attention among the five of them.

What kind of content should my business
post on Social Media?

Many businesses make the mistake of creating an account on every social media platform. You instinctively start with Facebook, because that’s the biggest one you know, right?  Then you cruise over to Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well because there are millions of users there and you want to get your business in front of as many people as possible.  

The truth is that your business most likely doesn’t belong on every platform or even most of them for that matter. This brings us to our first DO:

Do:

Post with a purpose.

Every time you are about to post something, stop and ask yourself, “Is this content bringing value to my audience?”

Your content should be doing one of two things.

  1. Identifying a problem that your customers have and telling them how your service or product is going to solve that problem.
  2. Adding value to their life.

Let’s go back to our example of the Financial Advisor. One problem they could be solving is retirement planning. They may point out that it’s difficult to know exactly how much money you should be saving monthly for retirement. So their solution to that problem could be a link to a basic calculator that helps you answer this question. Every post should add value to your followers.

This, of course, sets up a really big DON’T when it comes to types of content.

 

Don’t:

share content that doesn’t relate to your brand.

Lots of businesses fall victim to this trap. Especially when it comes to viral videos and pictures. Yes, that puppy curled up with the sleeping baby is heartwarming and overall good clean content. Who couldn’t see that and feel good about life?

However, what does that puppy have to do with your brand? Donald Miller, the author of Building a StoryBrand, says it best, “If you confuse, you’ll lose.” What he means is that people have a short attention span and we’re used to quickly tuning out anything that doesn’t make sense. 

Main Takeaway: You have a very short amount of time to make a real connection with a prospect on social media. The kind of connection that converts them into a customer. If someone is scrolling through their Facebook timeline and they see your post, you want to maximize this short opportunity to talk about their problems and how you help solve them. 

Once you have the Where to post and the What to post figured out, the next biggest hurdle is How often you should post.

How often should my business post to Social Media?

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as posting too much. Posting too little is not good either. So how do you know what is the right amount for your business to post to social media? You know you need to have a consistent presence, but what successful business owner has the time to sit on social media all day?

The truth is that there is no magic number of times that you need to post. There are recommendations based on engagement per platform. However, the main thing to focus on is consistency.

The truth is that your business most likely doesn’t belong on every platform or even most of them for that matter. This brings us to our first DO:

Do:

Post Regularly.

Your business should choose peak days and times to post content and then maintain a consistent presence within that time frame. The more often a prospect sees valuable content from your brand, the more likely they are to make a connection with the solution that you are selling. 

The best way to ensure that your business maintains a consistent presence on social media is to create a posting schedule. If you plan ahead for weeks or even months, you know that on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 11:15 AM (for example), it’s time for you to post. You don’t have to wonder how long it has been since your last post or how long until your next one.

Now, let’s say that you create a great schedule and you stick to it for a few weeks. The worst thing you can do is disappear.

 

Don’t:

Ghost your prospects and customers.

If you have taken the time to create great value for your followers and you’ve built up solid engagement, don’t start to backslide. The hard truth is that Facebook algorithms pick up on your consistency. The more consistently you post, the more your content will get in front of your followers. 

If you stop cold or start to sputter, Facebook will drop your visibility like a hot potato. You will have to start over again with building engagement and consistency. This is counterproductive and can be frustrating when you’re trying to build organic reach. 

Main takeaway: Regardless of what and how you post, be consistent. That is the best way to create a base for organic reach. 

Speaking of organic reach, how do you increase this? Engagement!

How should my business engage with people on Social Media?

If you’ve been posting consistently to social media and you’re still not seeing growth or measurable results, it could be that you’re not posting the right content or using a clear enough message. It could also be because you’re missing another large piece of the puzzle, engagement.

If you’re just starting out, you’re most likely not receiving a lot of traffic on your own posts, which makes engagement a little more difficult. Don’t feel discouraged. We all have to start with no followers and build from zero.

For all the old MySpace users, you remember getting that first friend, Tom. Unfortunately, you don’t even get Tom to kick off your Facebook or Instagram journey this time around.

Here is the main Do and Don’t for engagement with your social media business account.

Do:

Respond to comments on your posts and
comment/like other content.

The key to growing an audience on social media is engagement. You increase engagement by, you guessed it, engaging with your followers as well as other people and brands. You should be liking and commenting when people engage with your posts. As I mentioned above, you are most likely starting out with little to no followers, so building engagement may be limited to your small network or supporters.

Relax, there are other ways to engage with others across platforms, you just have to make a little more effort to find them.

If your goal is to grow an Instagram following, you should be liking and commenting on other account’s content daily. You should also follow other accounts daily. You can locate other accounts that make sense for your brand by searching for hashtags.

Continuing with our example of a Financial Advisor – they might want to search for hashtags such as #investing, #wealthmanagement, or #smartinvesting. This will serve as a search tool for prospects and your existing audience. 

Use it as an opportunity to speak to the larger audience, not just the individual. Engagement gives a personality to your brand and allows for an extension of your customer service. Believe it or not, consumers expect brands to be active and respond to questions on their social media posts or in DM’s (direct messages).

This leads us to a big Don’t when it comes to engagement.

 

Don’t:

Ignore comments, reviews, or messages. Especially negative ones.

Gone are the days when customer service was considered a post-sale activity. Now, consumers expect brands to offer social media customer service as part of the buying cycle. Responding to a question about your product or service is seen as an extension of your marketing.

Brands that handle this well will publicly respond to a negative comment with compassion and a solution. Unanswered comments and questions are just sitting out there showing the world that your brand doesn’t care enough to respond. While it may be tempting to simply hide or delete comments that you don’t like, think of them as an opportunity to impress and sell to the 3 million other prospects on social media.

Main takeaway: Take the time to comment and respond to messages. Use them as an opportunity to display your empathy and problem-solving skills.

Still not convinced that social media is a good idea for your business?

Why should my business be on Social Media?

Many businesses make the mistake of creating an account on every social media platform. You instinctively start with Facebook, because that’s the biggest one you know, right?  Then you cruise over to Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well because there are millions of users there and you want to get your business in front of as many people as possible.  

The truth is that your business most likely doesn’t belong on every platform or even most of them for that matter. This brings us to our first DO:

Do:

Use social media to spy on the competition.

Social Media spying sounds a lot more labor-intensive or sneaky than it really is. Facebook, for example, allows you to easily compare similar business pages in a grid. Facebook will even suggest business pages for you to compare. You can monitor their engagement, follower growth, and post-activity. This is important for many reasons, but mainly because as a business owner you should always know what’s out there as an alternative for your customers.

Let’s use our Financial Advisor example again. Like many industries, the Wealth Management market is highly saturated. One of the most important things for people working in this industry is customer service. By monitoring their competition, they might be able to see that another advisor in town has a better Client Service Model. This allows an advisor to adjust and maintain equal footing in the marketplace.

All of this can sound complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. The glory of our tech-savvy modern marketing world is that you don’t have to worry about all the analytics and content creation at all. In fact, for our final Don’t… let’s explore this idea.

 

Don’t:

Avoid social media simply because you
don’t have the time or know-how.

Like many things in life, sometimes it’s easier to ignore or avoid something than take the time to fully figure it all out. Especially, when you’re not 100% sold on the value. Hopefully, the latter isn’t the case if you’re this far into our blog.

If you take nothing else away from this article, please let the one thing be that there is great value in using social media as a means to source new leads and increase exposure for your business.

There is another way for you to maintain a consistent and effective presence on social media that will generate more leads and grow your business without worrying about all the content creation, monitoring, and analytics.

You can outsource your social media management to a marketing professional. Lots of business leaders do this with other aspects of their business. Just as you would hire a web developer to create an effective website or an accountant to prepare your taxes, you can hire a social media manager to create content and engagement on your Facebook or Instagram account for less than it would cost to hire someone on staff.

To recap, we’ve talked about which platforms are the best fit for your target audience, what kind of content makes the most sense for your business, and how often you should be posting content. We covered best engagement practices, and finally, why social media is a valuable investment for sourcing new leads and growing your business.

Are you ready to create an intentional marketing strategy for your business on social media?

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