Social Media Management 101
August 16, 2021
At its best, social media is a helpful way to stay connected to friends, family, brands, and organizations we support. At its worst, social media can be overwhelming, confusing, and downright frustrating. For the small business owner or nonprofit leader, ever-evolving algorithms and new technologies can make it difficult to keep up with the latest social media best practices that work.
In fact, you may be wondering if social media marketing is even worth the effort. Each platform has its own algorithms, images sizes, recommended posting times, and other best practices to master. And once you get a handle on all the technical best practices of social media marketing, you still have to come up with content that actually moves the needle in the right direction.
We understand the frustration small businesses and nonprofits feel when trying to make good use of social media marketing. So we put together this master guide of our social media best practices that will help you leverage social media to bring more leads into your sales funnel.
If you’re ready to move beyond brand awareness and start attracting more leads for your business, keep reading because we’re sharing our top best practices, tools, and tips that will make social media marketing more effective for your business.
Social Media Best Practice #1: Find Your Best Channel(s)
Before you launch into a detailed social media marketing strategy, decide which social media channels are right for your business. Keep in mind that social media isn’t just a box to be checked off on your marketing plan.
Effective social media marketing is a series of conversations and touchpoints between you and your customers that deserve a proactive and thoughtful approach from channel to channel. In other words, don’t assume that you can create one piece of content and share it the exact same way across all social media channels. It doesn’t work that way.
When trying to decide which social media channels are right for your business, the most important thing to consider is your customer persona. Where does your ideal customer spend their time online? Think beyond general demographics here because you don’t want to waste time on social networks that are not relevant to your ideal customer. Consider the following:
- What does my customer persona care about the most?
- What issues matter to them?
- How do they spend their free time?
- What topics turn them off?
- What makes them laugh?
- What other brands do they follow?
- What drives their loyalty?
This deep dive beyond basic demographics is called psychographic data and will provide insight into the things that drive your persona’s purchasing decisions. Knowing this info can help you narrow your focus and discern the best place to reach potential customers on social media.
Once you narrow your focus, be selective. It’s better to hit a home run on one social network than to spread yourself too thin across multiple social networks. If you don’t have the resources or manpower to keep up with the conversation, start small and work your way up. It’s never profitable to spread your brand half-heartedly across multiple social platforms just because you think you need to be there.
Social Media Best Practice #2: Start With Strategy
Social media content creation includes more than posting a status update to Facebook. The content you share should always add value to your customer persona and lead them to the next stage of the buying process.
One of the big social media marketing mistakes we see businesses make is posting random content that doesn’t serve a purpose. This is why starting with strategy is so important. Everything you post should serve a purpose. If you can’t connect the content you’re sharing to a KPI then it probably won’t produce an ROI.
The first goal of marketing is always to generate leads and move those potential customers through the buyer’s journey. Now, we’re not saying that every piece of social media content should ask for a sale (we actually advise against that!), but you also don’t need to be posting haphazardly or you will likely be wasting valuable time. Always have a social media strategy that drives your content creation and posting schedule.
Social Media Best Practice #3: Be Creative With Content
As we mentioned above, a social media marketing strategy is more than status updates and stock photography. Once you have a social media strategy in place, we encourage you to think outside the box and consider a multimedia approach to social content.
Here are some examples of social media content that you could be creating:
- Vlogs, Blogs, and Micro Blogs
- Data-driven Infographics and Motion Graphics
- Brand Videos, Product Videos, Live Videos, #allthevideos
- Customer and Staff Testimonials
- Pre-recorded and Live Demos
- Guides, Tutorials, and How-Tos
- Company News
As always, keep your customer persona in mind when deciding what kind of content to create. Share information that matters to them in a way that appeals to them and they will keep coming back for more.
Social Media Best Practice #4: Get to the Point
We’ve all seen the stats about our diminishing attention spans. You literally have just a few seconds to get someone to stop scrolling and pay attention to your content. The remedy for this? Always frontload the value.
Don’t make your audience work hard to see why what you’re sharing matters—because they won’t. Make it easy to understand the value of what you’re offering from the start. Don’t waste time on long intros or tee-ing up arguments. Social media is most effective when it cuts to the chase and leads your customer to the next step in their journey with you.
When doing this, keep truncation limits in mind. If you’re trained in old-school techniques, you can also think of this as adding value “above the fold.” Depending on which social media channel you’re using, there are character limits to posts, followed by a read more link. Make sure the value is stated *before* the read more link.
Also, work hard on a great title and make sure you understand the technical parts of posting your content title in the right place. Don’t let the title become like the punctuation at the end of a sentence. Take time on it and use tools like Co-Schedule’s Headline Analyzer to see if your title will resonate.
Social Media Best Practice #5: Optimize Both Pages and Content
When marketers talk about optimization, our minds generally go straight to search engine optimization (SEO). And while it is vital to optimize your digital assets for search engines algorithms, there are other aspects of optimization that can have a big impact on your social media marketing campaigns.
Use branded keywords when possible. Hopefully, you’re staying on top of keyword research and know which keywords you are targeting in addition to branded ones. Combine this with social listening to create social media content that increases your authority and gets people’s attention.
Make sure that you are fully leveraging all the features available on the social channels you’re using. All contact information should be current, hours posted, descriptions thoroughly explained, and call-to-action buttons utilized (e.g. Book Now). If you’re using Instagram, have a fully populated link-in-bio page and incorporate hashtags to help leads find you.
Social Media Best Practice #6: Monitor Your Social Media Accounts
One of the worst things you can do to jeopardize your social media strategy is to schedule a bunch of posts and never go back to check them after they’ve posted. Remember, social media engagement is a conversation. Your audience will know if you’re not listening.
Have a plan in place for quickly responding to any inquiries you receive via social media. Sites like Facebook will rate and post your average response time, which carries significant weight with social media users. (In other words, if you snooze you’ll lose—customers)!
Use tools like Hootsuite to monitor any mention of your brand on social media and respond posthaste. And be sure not to procrastinate responding to negative comments. Always take those conversations seriously—and offline—as soon as possible.
Social Media Best Practice #7: Be Intentional, But Act Casual
The heart of social media is relationships. Don’t think of it as simply a marketing device. Enter into conversations prepared to engage, add value, and provide useful content to social media communities—without always making the ask or requiring users to jump through hoops to access the content you’re offering.
This builds trust and credibility between your brand and social media audiences, a process that will lead to more conversations and nurture prospects into paying customers.
Don’t be afraid to act like an actual human. Have conversions with customers. Act friendly. Avoid being too formal. This is a casual way to start a conversation that leads to conversions.
Social Media Best Practice #8 Use Landing Pages With Ads
We aren’t deep diving into social media advertising or PPC in this post, but this point is too important to leave out.
Whether you’re using paid ads or general organic outreach, don’t just send people to your homepage. It’s extremely more effective to use a landing page designed specifically for the customer persona you’re targeting with this campaign.
Landing pages are stand-alone pages on your website designed specifically with a targeted audience in mind. For example, when you create a Facebook Ad to generate leads, don’t link the ad to your homepage. Instead, have the ad link redirect to a unique landing page designed with content specifically for that ad campaign.
Leads are usually willing to exchange their email address for a digital download or another offer they find useful and relevant. You may consider asking a few more questions such as company name/size, or job title/position held in order to better inform how you will nurture this new lead.
Social Media Best Practice #9: Be Consistent
When thinking about being consistent on social media, think of it in two parts: part one is brand consistency and part two is message consistency. With brand consistency, you need to ensure that every visual representation of your company is of the highest quality and consistent across all channels. Customers should have a consistent brand experience as they move from your social media channels to your website or email sales funnel. This underscores your credibility and further bolsters their trust in your company.
With brand consistency intact, you must have a plan in place to regularly communicate and engage with social media audiences. There are several ways to automate these processes to make it a bit more streamlined on your end, but it’s up to you to stay on top of customer engagement. Post relevant and useful content on a regular basis and leads will stay with you. Spotty posting and irregular response times will cause social engagement to plummet.
Social Media Best Practice #10: Get Help if You Need It
These social media best practices are straightforward ways to improve your social media marketing efforts but we understand that you may not have time to get it all over the finish line.
That’s where we come in.
We can manage all of these details for you, or create a plan that you (or someone on your team) can run with on your own. If you have any questions about using social media to get more leads for your business, please send us a message. We would love to help you integrate more social media tactics into your digital marketing strategy!