Eight Social Media Marketing Tips for Businesses: Best Practices for Promoting Your Business Online

It’s 2016, and you get it — you need social media. You’ve heard it all before: how social media allows you to reach your market in an organic, authentic way; how it allows you to build trust with your audience and show them a more “human” side of your brand; how consumers are more likely to be loyal to brands who engage them on social media; how users start their searches on the Internet; and how social media affords you the ability to market to your target audience in a way that is both inexpensive and effective.

But just because you know you need to use social media, doesn’t mean you know how to use social media. Social media presents unique opportunities for companies looking to engage with the customers — and comes with unique challenges. The always-on nature of the internet and the conversational nature of social media specifically can be difficult for companies to master. How do you engage with your audience in a conversational, authentic way, while also staying professional? How do you get your message across while restricting your character count? How do you showcase your brand without being too promotional?

Posting on social media isn’t cut and dry for companies — the tone and content of brand posts depends largely on what industry the company is in, what’s being sold (or if something is being sold), the target audience, and what the business’s social media marketing goals are. With that said, there are a few best practices that companies should always adhere to when posting on social media.

Be brief.

Social media users don’t read — they skim. Social media copy should be brief: keep it short and to the point. Don’t bury the lede. Don’t use two words when one will suffice. Social media content needs to be easily digestible. Remember, users have short attention spans — if your post is too lengthy or difficult to understand at a glance, users will simply scroll past.

Be conversational.

Social media allows companies to showcase the human side of their brand. To achieve this, posts should be conversational — ditch the corporate speak and adopt a casual voice; use pronouns and speak directly to your audience.

Be valuable.

In order for your posts to be shareworthy, they must provide some kind of value to your audience. Remember: the majority of users aren’t on a social network looking to engage with your brand. You have to give them a reason to engage. To do this, narrow down what the purpose of your post is — and why your audience should care. What’s in it for them? Is it something funny? Informative? Does it offer an interesting opinion? Is it visually appealing? Pinpoint what your audience wants, why they would share something, and craft your post around that.

Be considerate of what users want.

Users want to feel like they’re connecting with a brand, not getting spammed by promotional auto-posts. Spamming your followers with a constant stream of product and promotional posts is an easy way to get your page unliked and unfollowed. Your content should be a mix of audience-focused, off-brand content, engagement with followers, non-promotional company information, thought leadership articles, and promotional posts. Regardless of the topic, your posts should always be of relevance and value to your users.

Be visual.
Users are attracted to posts with images. Using high-quality, relevant images to support your posts will increase engagement.
Be consistent.
Social media offers companies the unique ability to control their online image. A consistent, well-branded social media presence helps to build stronger brand awareness and facilitates a professional image online. Achieve this by being visually consistent across all social profiles, and being consistent in your company’s voice and tone.
Be responsive.
The point of social media is to build a relationship between a company and its audience base, and to engage — so be engaging. Respond to your customer’s questions and critiques. Give users a reason to connect with your brand.
Be careful with your CTA.
Call-to-actions are an important part of any promotional strategy. More often than not, the point of a social post is to get your readers to do something. Whatever it is — buy a product, join a conversation, watch a video — be specific. Telling your readers exactly what to do increases the likelihood that they’ll follow through.  However, when dealing with social media, you have to be careful when crafting your CTA. When users are scrolling through their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram feeds, they don’t want to be bombarded by CTAs that may work in other forms of advertising. CTAs such as “Limited time 50% OFF – buy now!” come off too salesy and disrupt the user’s experience. Instead, find a way to incorporate your CTA in to your post in a more organic way, such as asking a question. (When crafting social media ads rather than social media posts, traditional CTA practices are more acceptable).

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Adcetera is a 35-year-old, Houston-based advertising agency made up of the most strategic, most creative people on the planet. Our nearly 90-member team of designers, writers, programmers, animators, strategists, and account service people work like dogs to create memorable content for brands around the world.

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We work with some of the biggest brands on some of their biggest projects (AIG, DOW, HP, HPE, and Sysco) as well as some of the best brands headquartered in our own backyard (Texas Children’s Hospital, High Fashion Home, and Memorial Hermann). Many of our relationships — with our employees and our clients — span decades. We are blessed and we are proud — proud of the work we do and the brands for whom we speak. If what is important to us is important to you, let’s start a conversation. Call or drop in. Our doors are open and our phones are on.