5 social media best practices every business should follow 

Social media can be your biggest friend when it comes to marketing – particularly in a time where more people are using digital channels to communicate. With budgets cut and more traditional marketing channels off the cards due to lockdown, this is the perfect opportunity to dedicate some time and spend to optimise social media marketing for your small business. 

Not only is social media one of the first places potential clients, customers and employees will likely interact with your business, but it is a great channel through which to build a relationship with your audiences. Building a social media presence will take time but we’ve pulled together the top 5 social media best practices to help maximise social media marketing for your small business. 

  1. Review your current social presence

Before you start, it is crucial you have a clear understanding of where you are now. To do this, take a strategic look at your present social channels, asking yourself these key questions:

  • Which networks are bringing you the most engagement and largest following?
  • Is there consistency and frequency to your posts?
  • What topics do your audience engage with most? 
  • Who is your target audience? Are they engaging?

From this, you will be able to identify areas your social presence falls short, as well as what works well and drives engagement. 

Also, be sure to measure your profile against your competitors. This will give you an idea of what benchmarks in your industry might look like, as well as providing inspiration for what to share and post on your channels. 

  1. Have a strategy

Social media is a platform you can use to shape your brand voice however, like any other platform, this needs to be done the right way and aligned to your values and goals as a business. It’s not a good idea to start blindly posting content on social media without an idea of what you want to achieve – consistency is a key and it’s worth investing the time to get this right from the start. 

A good idea is to write out your wider business objectives and re-write these as social goals. For example, if a business objective is to grow the brand, this could translate to increasing awareness on social. From here, you can add KPIs, such as  followers and shares. Similarly, generating business leads would be reflected in website clicks and email sign ups. 

Ultimately, whatever your marketing goals for social, you need to be clear from the outset. The more specific and tailored your goals, the more effective the end result will be. 

  1. Maintain consistency 

The part is key. Whether it’s the topics you’re talking about or how often you are posting, consistency is key on social media. Your audiences’ feeds will be regularly updated with a huge variety of content, but a consistent and strong brand voice will help cut through the noise as well as build trust with your audience. 

A good way to achieve this is with a social calendar. This will allow you to plan your posts in advance and ensure content is focused but not repetitive. Sit down with your team and brainstorm key threads you want weaved into your social – examples can be ‘office news’, ‘industry developments and innovation’ and ‘client successes’. 

The last key part of your plan is figuring out when you want to share your content. Take a strategic look at the behaviours of your target audience, asking yourself when do they usually engage with social media and when are they most likely to share content. This may take some experimentation so be sure to keep track of your most engaged posts. Overall, a calendar will ensure you post frequently and avoid a sudden drop, as that never looks good.

  1. Engage

The most essential social media best practice is your willingness to engage. Social media is an investment in long-term relationships. With this in mind, your social marketing needs to engage with your followers and monitor conversations relevant to your industry. Be a good listener, be authentic, and focus on humanising your brand – no one wants to talk to a robot or receive an automated message. 

In exchange, you’ll get a better understanding of your customer base, potentially even helping you build a better product or service. Social relationships take time to build, so don’t be disheartened if your engagement rates don’t rocket overnight – it’s a process. 

  1. Measure and test

Remember we spoke about defining your goals? Well the next step is to determine if you’re earning more than you’re spending on social media. Most social platforms have analytics that you can access for free (e.g. LinkedIn Analytics), so be sure to use this available data to measure and improve your performance. You will be able to understand what content has the most engagement and what followers are responding to – insight that will help you create even better content. 

Overall, by following these social media best practices, social media marketing can be a solid investment for your small business. These steps should help  give purpose to every post, reply, like and comment, making your social channels a key component to achieving your marketing and wider business goals.