In November 2016, mobile and tablet internet usage exceeded desktop for the first time worldwide. Today, nearly 80% of all social media time is spent on mobile devices. Undoubtedly, mobile is the future of digital marketing and social media. With the subsequent increase in smartphone usage and availability of free data plans, the user will have social media access at their fingertips like never before. This also means that social media is destined to be noisier, more engaging, and more influential than ever before. I call it a monster – it can make or break a brand. Whilst everyone is interested in making a brand, for personal use or for businesses, it is important to know the best practices that individuals and brands can employ to benefit from social media in 2017.
Below is a list for the 15 Best Practices for Social Media Usage:
1) Choose the Best Social Media Platform for Your Business
First and foremost, it is very important to be on the right social media platform. It is simple: Be on the platform that matters to you or your business. For instance, if you are in the B2C business, it makes sense to first focus on Facebook, followed by Twitter and other platforms. On the other hand, LinkedIn and Twitter are best for B2B companies; Facebook in the B2B context is good for employee engagements, CSRs, jobs, and brand promotions. You may also consider using a social media management tool like SocialPilot for cross channel reporting and easy scheduling of weekly posts.
2) Win Audience’s Trust
People follow you because of the trust they have in your content, product, or service. Since decisions to follow or unfollow are made instantly, it is important to be trustworthy and relevant and to engage with your audience. Talk as a leader, and avoid direct sales as much as possible. Having said that, it’s ok to have about 20% of your content promoting your brand. Remember, you are being followed because of the content, which should be interesting to and engaging for your audience. Consider hearing all your consumers online using social media listening tools to monitor your brand.
3) Visual Posts Lead Today
Make your posts visually appealing with the use of images and videos. Research shows that social media posts that have a captivating image increase an audience’s willingness to click by 80 percent. Moreover, it’s 40 times more likely to be shared. You could use free tools such as Canva (web and mobile apps) to start practicing this yourself.
4) Use Relevant Hashtags
Hashtags pertaining to the subject of a tweet or post only should be used. Also, don’t use more than 2 to 3 hashtags in one tweet or post (remember, you only have 280 characters to communicate your message). Focus on keywords that are relevant to your business. Irrelevant hashtags will lead to a loss of trust among your followers. The smaller the number of hashtags, the easier it is for your audience to know the context of the tweet or post. In my experience, people often don’t even click on the links being shared; they make an opinion based on the tweet itself and decide to retweet or disengage accordingly. Best practices also recommend using no more than two hashtags per tweet. Check out my guide on “How to use hashtags for effective communication“.
5) Branded or Unbranded Hashtags
Adopting a healthy mix of generic hashtags containing thoughtful leadership-driven content and branded hashtags (hashtags containing your brand name) is good. Branded ones should be used for brand campaigns, or for product or service specific promotions. You should not have too much of the latter, as mentioned in the 80/20 rule above.
6) Keep It Short (On Twitter Specifically)
A concise tweet makes an impact. Try to focus each tweet on one specific message, rather than trying multiple messages within one tweet. This engages focused attention from your followers and thus helps create effective communication.
7) Curate and Connect
Retweeting relevant content and replying to tweets are great ways to maintain a robust presence on Twitter. Follow back when relevant people follow you, say thanks when they follow, smile, be a human. If possible, share a tangible value that they can appreciate, such as a whitepaper or a business report. Check out my article about the best practices for social media usage.
8) Avoid Fake News
Avoid fake news and negative stories as much as possible. This is getting serious, though there are groups trying to use it with intended fun and humor. Traction on social media is becoming questionable. This is one of the many reasons that 333,000 people have filed the petition seeking to oust Zuckerberg from his position as Facebook CEO.
9) Stay Away
Stay away from dishonorable content, such as posts related to race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, and physical disabilities (until and unless you have a political agenda). Remember, trolls are very common these days.
10) Avoid Posting
Avoid posting any content pertaining to sensitive company information. Surrounding or promoting existing tweets/posts from your employees’ profiles should otherwise be fine.
11) People Love Data for its Credibility and Confidence
While writing social content, try using more numbers, facts, and data, and focus on the why, where, and how of a story. Chances of engagement are better and quicker in these cases.
12) Brand Recall
This is part of the basics of marketing communication. Have consistent brand messaging across all social media profiles. For instance, if your LinkedIn profile says you are the best blogger in IoT, your twitter profile should say the same. Not to mention, it’s good to have a similar look and feel for the brand across all your social media properties!
13) Best Time to Post
Does it matter? Yes, to some extent. Below are the best time slots.
14) Avoid Engaging
You may not like them, but avoid engaging in inflammatory or inappropriate discussions about your competitors.
15) Use More Mobile Optimized (Vertical) Videos
This is the next big thing in 2017, which is evident from the increase in smartphones and mobile data usage, as stated above. The audience prefer a video that doesn’t force a horizontal layout—it’s simple to keep using your phone vertically! Facebook livestream’s launch to Jeep’s video last year during the Super Bowl meant the same thing: Being vertical is better!
I hope you found these best practices for social media usage in 2017 useful. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section and please do not forget to share this post.