Social media is a great way to reach a large audience for free, and many brands have done a fantastic job at growing their business through Faceboook and Instagram. While many businesses jump at the chance to launch a Facebook or Twitter page, it’s important to know that social media can cause more harm than good if proper etiquette is not followed. Using social media for business is different than using it for personal use, and just because you know how to use Facebook or Instagram doesn't mean you'll automatically become successful at growing a following.
Before you open up that new Twitter account, read through our Do's and Dont's of using social media as a business.
DO be consistent. Post to your channels often. If people are following you, they want to hear from you. Having a Facebook or Twitter page that hasn’t been updated in several months looks worse than not having a social media presence at all. That being said…
DON’T overdo it. Yes, people want to hear from you, but they don’t want to be bombarded with messages. Posting several messages at once will only lead to you being unfollowed. A general rule of thumb is to post at least once a day, and spread out the messages throughout the day. However, if capacity limits you to only posting a few times a week, that’s fine too, as long as you’re posting weekly.
DO be helpful. Yes, social media is a great marketing channel, but it wasn’t created for free advertising. Social media is a forum for people to discuss, share resources and find out information. It is not appropriate to blatantly promote your business at every opportunity. Your posts should be informative and helpful to your audience. For example, if you’re targeting parents, you might want to post articles such as, “The best books for toddlers”. Sharing helpful information will position you as a leader, which will inevitably be better for your business than if you were to just blast promotional ads.
DO join in the conversation. Social media isn’t a one-way street – actively engaging with others by commenting on, “liking” or sharing posts is just as important, if not more important, than posting on your own channel. Not only will this make you look like a market leader but you’ll also gain new followers.
DON’T try to be everywhere. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat…the list goes on! And given that social media is 24/7, it’s hard to keep up and be everywhere at once. Luckily you don’t have to be. Keep it simple and choose just a few channels where your key audiences are – remember, quality is more important than quantity. Understanding which channels your audiences use will help you choose the right channels. For example, moms spend a lot of time on Facebook while Twitter tends to be common for businesses. When deciding which channels to launch, keep in mind how much time you have to dedicate to social media: Twitter is a lot more labour-intensive than Facebook due to its instantaneous nature.
DO your research. There is a ton of research about social media insights. Knowing which channels are most popular and what time of day your audience uses social media the most can be really helpful in determining where and when to post.
DO leverage resources. Social media can be time consuming, but there are several tools that can help with the burden of managing multiple channels. Software such as Hootsuite allows you to monitor several channels and topics at a time, as well as schedule posts, so you don’t have to do it in real time. Just be careful about auto-scheduling the same post to every social media channel. Each channel is different and requires a custom message tailored to the audience. For example, a Facebook post is going to be very different than a LinkedIn message.