By Doug MacMillan
Social media is no longer optional in today’s marketing climate. A company without even a Facebook page sends a signal to the market that you’re not current, never mind the lost opportunity to reach a wide audience of potential customers. But the constant evolution of social media can make it difficult to stay on top of best practices for those platforms, especially if you’re in a business that’s more hands-on than on-the web.
Each social media platform has various nuances that act as sort of unwritten rules. When you’re not frequently adhering to these rules you run the risk of looking unprofessional, leaving a negative impression on your audience, or not reaping the sales rewards of your effort.
Ultimately your social media presence and frequency of content will vary based on your line of work, as well as how your audience tends to engage with your content. But overall, as long as you’re providing value, feeding engagement, and being mindful, your social media game will remain strong, and so will your revenue.
Here are some 2023 best practices to help ensure you’re making the right impression on your current and potential clientele.
DO: Complete your social profiles
First impressions are important and lasting. Think of your social media accounts as your digital first impression. Social media pages that are only partially completed (or nonexistent) automatically make the business appear less professional and even fly-by night.
Take a few minutes to thoughtfully fill out all your profile information, including contact information, and use good quality profile and cover photos.
TIP: Make sure any use of your logo or branding assets are high resolution
DO: Recognize and properly approach the differences between platforms
Each social media site has its own intended purpose and audience. Understanding this and matching your content and tone to the proper social media outlet is important for efficacy.
Facebook is casual and focused on connections and sub-communities. Don’t be afraid to join relevant groups and engage with others. Visuals are preferred as opposed to plain text posts. It also tends to appeal to an older crowd.
LinkedIn’s focus is on business professionals, and the content shared there tends to reflect that. Used effectively, it’s a great recruitment platform. Text posts are often well received and it’s a perfect place for polls and questions.
Twitter is all about rapid-fire thoughts between both businesses and individuals. It’s a great place for conversation and interaction, but the 280-character limit means it’s best for shorter posts.
Instagram is the perfect place to share something visual, such as a real estate agent’s house listing or an HVAC technician’s installation. Think of it like a portfolio, so avoid mixing business and personal posts.
TikTok isn’t just for kids and crafters. It’s an ideal platform for quick, informal how-to videos, answers to customers’ questions and short animations you can build yourself using Canva.
DO: Watch your spelling and grammar – don’t develop content on the fly
The occasional grammar or spelling error isn’t the end of the world, but don’t let it become a pattern. It’s best to prepare posts in advance to help avoid mistakes.
TIP: Prep your social media updates in a document or spreadsheet with spell check. You can also ask a colleague to proofread
DON’T: Use fonts that aren’t accessible
Welcome to my page is not accessible. It cannot be deciphered by many reading aids used by those with visual or hearing impairments. Moreover, it looks tacky. You can spice up your caption with an emoji or two but stay away from text variations that take away from your overall message and ultimately end up becoming a distraction.
DON’T: #misuse and #abuse #hashtags
Adding appropriate hashtags connects your post to all other posts on that topic using that hashtag. It’s a convenient way to categorize and search content on social media platforms. It’s not #punctuation. Don’t turn every word (or a full sentence) into a hashtag, or hashtag words unrelated to your post. When used correctly, hashtags will increase your online visibility and followers. When used in excess, the post looks #spammy and becomes #ineffective, and likely no one will read it.
DON’T: Worry about the numbers
It’s important to remember that brand awareness and growing your network isn’t a sprint, but a marathon. We know it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers game, worrying that your follower count is low, or your posts aren’t getting enough likes. But while having lots of followers can be good, when it comes to engagement, it’s truly quality over quantity. If you have 1,000 Twitter followers and half of them are bots, your tweets are being delivered to an audience that doesn’t actually exist. Stress less about your follower count and concentrate on providing engaging content for real people.