10 Social Media Marketing Best Practices

by Dustin Hall

social media best practicesFor those relatively new to social media, it can easily seem like the Wild West.

No real rules, few guidelines floating around (reliable ones anyway) and very little guidance by way of effective (and profitable) usage for business.

While there are plenty of advanced social media practices used by us nerdy marketing agencies, there are some fundamental best practices that should apply to any business's social media marketing strategy.

Here are ten of them...

1. Share and share alike.

When you're seen sharing other people's content in social media, they're more likely to share yours. Talk about what other people do, especially if you're learning something from them. This doesn't reduce your credibility--it shows you're always willing to consider your options.

2. Don't disappear.

Content is okay, but engagement is better. When you appear in social media, people expect you to stick around at least long enough to have a conversation. Post consistently and make yourself available to your audience. An abandoned social profile is about as attractive as an abandoned website.

3. Acknowledge engagement.

Don't give the cold shoulder to someone who engages with you on social media. Let people know you saw their likes, shares and comments. This makes them feel good and keeps them coming back for more engagement. It also shows you're not a robot.

4. Be helpful to big influencers.

As you search for influential people to partner with, focus on being helpful to them and their audiences rather than asserting yourself. Building relationships with others is your first priority, and they'll feel happy to reciprocate when the time is right.

5. Know that each effort adds to the effort before.

As you create content, it builds momentum. Over time, your reach begins to compound as more people talk about and share your ideas. Eventually, your content becomes more visible in the search engines--and that's where exponential growth can happen.

6. Try to be patient.

Commit to content marketing for the long term and keep pushing ahead. It can take weeks or even months to start seeing significant results, and then one day all of a sudden... things take off on their own. Be patient and keep going!

7. It's a numbers game. 

In social media marketing, it's always better to have a core group of fans who engage regularly and follow your every word. Big numbers of followers don't really mean that much if they aren't having a conversation with you. Basically, engagement matters most. Companies who are excited about having 100k twitter followers but never see any engagement have fallen victim to classic vanity metrics.

8. Don't forget your branding.

It's a mistake to think that if you could just help everyone, your business would be wildly successful. You can't help everyone with everything. Same thing with social media marketing: if you dilute your message, you introduce confusion rather than engagement. Stick to a particular topic and build a brand around it.

9. Don't always be the one to start conversations.

In social media marketing, you have a million opportunities to jump into other people's conversations (in a helpful way, of course). Add a comment, answer a question, or express your gratitude as often as possible. It's all about relationships!

10. Use automation carefully.

These days, marketing automation software is a must for any business. While it's a sure fire way for smaller companies to level the digital marketing playing field, it can also be over-utilized and inadvertently kill your company's reputation...especially when it comes to publishing your content on social media. When using automation tools to publish your content, just remember to mix in some personal interaction and sharing as well. This will help people to see that you're human and not a mindless, self-promoting robot of a brand.

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