Part of creating an online presence is understanding how to generate success on your company’s social platforms. Many businesses, including international and franchised brands, could really suffer if they didn’t put an effort into their social media marketing. Even if you are a local shop, your business would really benefit from an outlined social media strategy.

Whether your business is on three social platforms or seventeen, we’ve put together ten practices and guidelines to help you establish and execute a social media strategy that generates more business for your company:

 

Good Practices to Follow

1. Be Visual

Post high-quality photos and videos that go along with your post’s topic. These graphics help your post take up more space in your follower’s feed, especially on mobile devices. They also help contribute to your brand perception. A lack of visual content or fuzzy photos can detract from your message. A good example is this trailer on GoPro’s Facebook page, promoting a new film. A simple message and a high-resolution video resulted in over 5,000 likes and 800 shares in two days:

GoPro

 

2. Respond

Let your followers see that you are active on your social profiles, and use them as an opportunity to get free feedback and impress potential customers. When social users leave comments or questions on your social page, and then don’t ever hear back, it’s a sign that either (a) you don’t care about what they have to say or (b) you don’t care about your social following. Even if you do care about both of these things, it still sends the same message, so make monitoring your social platforms a priority. Notice how Walmart, in this next example, stays on top of their comments by asking additional questions. Further down, they called out specific people to ask their opinion on their posted answer to the question. Walmart does a really great job of promptly and efficiently responding to questions about their products and services on their Facebook page:

Walmart

 

3. Stay Consistent (and Obey the Rules)

Start out with fewer posts and work your way up to the schedule you prefer. If you start heavy and then take a big break, that could lead your followers to misunderstand your lag in response. You want your audience to see you as consistent and reliable, in every aspect of your business including your social post schedule.

Also, you should pay attention to rules like the allowed dimensions for Boosted Posts on Facebook as well as the appropriate way to promote content on Google Plus. Follow any rules that require no more than a certain percentage of text on an image, especially for Facebook Ads. Trying to go around rules on these social platforms will only bring you delays and more serious negligence could result in your page getting blocked or removed. Do yourself a favor and abide by the guidelines already in place.

 

Deciding What to Post

4. Non-Promotional Company Information

One way to get your readers and followers interested in your posts is to include information about your brand or your company that doesn’t have to do with your specials or inventory. This keeps your social posts and blogs varied and encourages regular visits to your social page. Make sure that your customers and brand followers won’t want to miss your social posts by keeping them interesting and engaging. Take inspiration from Starbucks, who posted about their roots, subtly emphasizing their long-time success:

Starbucks

 

5. Relevant Content

Staying up to date with current events or general topics that are related to your business helps you continue to post about topics that attract a wide variety of readers and followers. Airbnb has done a great job of appealing to a wider audience by posting relevant content. Airbnb hooks you up with low-priced accommodations in nearly any city in the world, and they take advantage of big city events by promoting to followers who may be traveling specifically for those events. By posting content about and related to the TCS New York City Marathon, and tying it back in with their company by recommending places to stay while in the Big Apple, they’re generating buzz and activity on their Facebook page, even though the subject of conversation isn’t their business:

Airbnb

 

6. Tips & Tricks

Going along with the idea of sharing content that is similar or relevant to your business, another great way to promote social follows is to post tutorials or helpful tips. People love to read about ideas for improving or simplifying their lives, so it’s a really easy way to get clicks through to your blog or your website. Take it from GQ: they took the assumption that their followers (men who are interested in fashion, and their appearance) would be interested in ways to stay fit during a trip to the beach:

GQ

 

7. Q&A

Another strategy in determining what kind of content to post comes from tuning in to your audience when you’re at a loss for ideas. Why not use your followers to survey interest in your next big project or specials? You get free feedback from your target audience and your followers get to feel included in your business. An example of this strategy is when Lay’s asked their fans to #DoUsAFlavor and recommend a chip flavor they would love to try. They are preparing to announce the winner out of these four finalists soon:

Lay's

 

Engaging Your Followers & Promoting Brand Awareness

8. Cross-Promote

This strategy is recommended to build your following as well as your traffic across all your platforms including your website and blog, and any other techniques you may be using to promote your business. Make sure all your avenues link to each other so it is not difficult for potential customers to easily learn more about your service or product on your website or social pages. Another idea is to stay as consistent as possible with the naming of your social platforms and pages. Burberry does this well; take a look:

Website: www.burberry.com

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/Burberry

Twitter Handle: @Burberry

Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/Burberry

Instagram: http://instagram.com/burberry

It helps that their brand is only one word, and that it’s unique, but all brands can benefit from applying this practice of total consistency when naming pages and planning their social strategy.

 

9. Create Competitions

One really easy way to get people talking about your brand is to create a competition for your followers. Get creative in what you give away. You don’t have to spend a lot; some people would just be excited for a tour of your office or factory! If you have a little extra to spend, or maybe some connections with other companies that you could utilize, you could really generate some hype! Follow Southwest’s strategy of offering a deal that works in conjunction with their services:

Southwest

 

10. Exclusive Offers

Our last recommendation for engaging your followers on social media is to offer discounts and specials that are only available to those who follow you. This is a great way to encourage new followers and to get people talking about you to their friends. Kohl’s used their Facebook page to offer an additional discount to their followers, channeling more traffic to their website and increasing general interest in both their company and inventory:

Kohls

 

We hope you enjoyed our recommendations and that you’ll find success in your social media strategy! Connect with us on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter to tell us what works and what else you’d recommend.

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