Social media marketing do’s and don’ts.

Thumbtack Writer hannahL
Thumbtack Writer
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If your small business isn’t taking advantage of social media, you’re missing out on one of the simplest and least inexpensive ways to reach new customers. A social media presence adds to your business credibility, helps foster brand loyalty, and lets you hone in on your target audience.

Whether you’re new to social media marketing or a seasoned vet, here are a few pointers to help you stand out online.

What you should do. Here are 7 tips to help you build your social media following.

Do #1: Start slow.

Figure out which social media platform your target audience uses most and focus your attention there. Commit to using the platform regularly in a way that makes sense for your brand. Once you’ve mastered that platform, look into other places where your audience is hanging out and start accounts there — but only, if you’ll have the time to maintain them. Stale social media profiles are not a good look for your business.

Do #2: Create a strategy for how and where you post.

Set realistic goals for what you want to achieve, figure out how you’re going to measure them, and create a plan that will get you there. Keep track of metrics, like conversions, likes, and shares, and use them to figure out what’s working and what’s not so you can adjust your strategy accordingly. Keep in mind that every social media site serves a different purpose, so your strategy for Instagram and LinkedIn should not be the same.

Do #3: Keep your voice consistent.

Develop your brand’s voice and try to use it consistently when you’re publishing content and engaging with customers. To help, use the same logo, color scheme and imagery on all of your social media accounts so your business is easily recognizable.

Do #4: Actively engage with your followers.

The best way to gain followers and create loyal customers is to regularly contribute to the platforms you’re on. This doesn’t just mean pushing out content, it also includes liking, sharing, and commenting.

Do #5: Link your social media platforms on your website.

Make it easy for people to find you wherever you are by adding social media buttons to your business website. And vice-versa, be sure to also include your website address in all of your social media profiles.

Do #6: Share other people’s content.

If someone posts something you think is relevant to your audience, share it. It’s a great way to keep your stream fresh and to put yourself on the radar of other people in your field. Just make sure you always give them credit.

Do #7: Respond to the good and the bad

If someone complains about your business or leaves a negative review, try to respond to that person as quickly as possible a way to show them you’re listening and possibly remedy the situation. Likewise, if someone asks you a question or mentions you in a conversation, be sure to reply. If you don’t respond at all, it will seem like you don’t care.

What you should not do. Here are 7 ways not to use social media and common mistakes to avoid.

Don’t #1: Mix business and personal.

Your business accounts should be completely separate from your personal accounts. Just assume your personal posts are not of interest to people who are following your business and double check that you’re posting to the correct account.

Don’t #2: Use the same password for all of your accounts.

You should use a different password for all of your social media platforms because if someone is able to hack into one account, they’ll be able to hack into them all. If you know you’ll be useless, use a password manager program that stores all of your passwords for you and only requires you to use one very strong password to access them.

Don’t #3: Forget to proofread your posts.

Before you push your content out to the public, make sure your message is clear and accurate, there are no grammatical or spelling errors, and all of the links work. Go through that checklist every time you post no matter what.

Don’t #4: Follow everyone who follows you.

Don’t follow thousands of people in the hopes that they’ll follow you back. That will only devalue your social media presence. Instead, follow accounts that are either related to your industry or produce content you’d like to share, as well as brands you think fit your target audience.

Don’t #5: Overpost.

If you share too much too often, there’s a good chance people will hit the “unfollow” button. In general, it’s a good idea to not post more than three times a day to Twitter, two times a day to Facebook and Instagram, and five times a day to Pinterest.

Don’t #6: Only post things that are self-promotional.

Keep in mind that the things you post should have value to your followers. It might be a news story that relates to your industry, a tip or trick, or even something that just makes them laugh. Keep the 80/20 rule in mind: 80 percent of your content should be of interest to your followers, 20 percent self-promotion.  

Don’t #7: Be impatient.

Growing a social media following takes time and effort, so be patient. Don’t quit if you don’t gain thousands of followers overnight. Use the tools you have, like inviting friends to like your Facebook page, adding social handles to your marketing materials, or even paying for a campaign that will drive likes and engagement.

What social media tools do you use? Share yours in the Trending Topics and comment below.