Best Practices For Social Networking
Of course, each social network is different and the best strategy to use on Twitter will be different from the strategy to use on Facebook. Nevertheless, there are some hard and fast rules that apply across the board and the overall strategy will often be the same.
Read on then and we will look at how you can start building that digital empire through social media…
Setting Up – ‘Be Everywhere’
Before you can do anything else, you will first need to set up your social media accounts and begin building connections between them. Getting this right at the start will save you a lot of time and it is ultimately what’s necessary to ensure you get the most from your efforts.
What’s key is that you create a strong brand that will be memorable and recognizable. From there, you’re then going to take that branding and spread it across social media, thereby creating as many opportunities for potential leads to discover you as possible and at the same time reinforcing the connection your audience has with your company.
This is important because eventually you’re going to link all of your disparate social media accounts and it’s important that the transition be smooth when a visitor goes from one to the other.
This needs to feel like a continuous experience, as though they are going from one room to another in the same building. If you don’t manage this, then rather than strengthening your brand, the multiple accounts will only create confusion.
Having a consistent presence across your different accounts feels professional, it impresses users and it helps them to remember that they’re dealing with your business. Essentially, you’re trying to make your Twitter and Facebook accounts look as much like your website as you possibly can using the tools that you’ve been given.
So how do you create a consistent image and branding? Your company name is part of your brand of course but also important is to ensure you have a specific design language.
This should come through in your logo but also in your cover image and in the color scheme and pictures you choose for your social media pages. This same language should also be present on your website. Now you need to repeat this process on as many different social accounts as you can.
Your business should have a presence on most of the social sites below:
Each of these is another opportunity for your people to find you and it provides a link back to your website which will act like the ‘hub’ of your network. Each will offer a different aspect of your business but all of them will remain on message and consistently designed.
At the same time, your website should be linked back to all of these accounts. This way, visitors to your site can decide how they’d like to keep up-to-date with what you’re doing and they can click the relevant link to do so.
A simple ‘Like Us on Facebook’ banner can help your business to grow as your website feeds your Facebook account and vice versa.
Using Tools to Automate Your Social Media
Being on lots of different accounts at once might sound like a lot of work but the good news is that you won’t have to handle all these different channels manually.
Thankfully, there are countless tools available that are designed to streamline the process of maintaining a strong social media presence and these include numerous things that can link together your accounts or that can auto-generate content.
Something important to keep in mind is that a ‘dead’ social media account is actually worse than having none at all. You don’t want it to look like you’ve forgotten about your Facebook page, or your Twitter account, so you need to keep updating regularly – and these tools can help you to do that.
Here are some examples:
Buffer is a very simple web app that allows you to schedule your posts for some of the major search engines. This then means that you can then write thousands of words for Twitter and have them posted over a set period of time at regular intervals.
In turn, this means that your account won’t look empty even when you haven’t had a good opportunity to post anything new.
Hootsuite is a handy tool that does what Buffer does and more. As well as being able to schedule posts, Hootsuite will let you view multiple feeds from different social networks at once (so you can be fully updated all in one place) and it lets you post to multiple places at once.
IFTTT stands for ‘If This, Then That’ and allows you to set up relationships between different apps you’re using, your mobile phone and even some hardware.
This means you could have your Nest thermostat Tweet about the temperature you’ve set up in your house, or it means you could have Facebook posts automatically shared to Twitter.
The latter is somewhat redundant however, seeing that you can use features built into most social networks and even WordPress and YouTube to cross pollinate your accounts these days.
Nevertheless, for advanced rules and even auto-generated posts there is a lot be gained here and it’s very much worth taking a look and applying some though.
Providing Value On Your Social Networks
Now you’re everywhere, it’s important to make sure that people view this as a good thing rather than a bad thing. In other words, being everywhere doesn’t automatically mean that people are going to start following you or that they’re going to enjoy your content.
More important than creating your accounts and linking them is providing value through them and filling them with engaging content. We’ve already discussed the mistake that some users will make – to set up a social media account and then simply post about how good their product is.
This isn’t going to get people to follow you and it certainly won’t lead to more shares. On the other hand though, if you Tweet or post something funny, interesting or useful then someone might actually follow you and they may even share what you’ve written.
In terms of status updates and Tweets, you provide value by letting people learn about the industry you’re in, by inspiring them, by offering discounts and by providing entertainment.
A lot of companies worry that it will be ‘unprofessional’ to discuss anything other than their own services but this then leads to them lacking any interest, personality or bite.
Instead, post about the industry, post tips on how to get more out of your products and make comments relating to the lifestyle that you’re trying to promote.
That last one is really important by the way: the ‘lifestyle’ aspect is what gives your product or service its emotional hook and it’s what will enable you to make your business into more of a ‘movement’ rather than just another corporation.
If you sell fitness equipment, then you should be talking about the trials of the gym and posting pictures of attractive people running on the beach with their muscles rippling.
People who enjoy the fitness lifestyle love this kind of content. On the other hand, if you provide a premium B2B service, then talk business tips and stock market and post pictures of people looking productive wearing suits and looking out of high rise buildings.
Now you’re providing value, entertainment and information and you’re giving your audience something to actual engage with. Just make sure that you maintain your consistent image by staying on message and by sticking to the topic.
Fluctuating all over the place with your subject matter is a big mistake.
Articles and Blog Posts
As well as status updates and pictures, most social networks will also let you post links to articles and blogs. This is arguably even more important when it comes to providing value, engaging with the audience and getting likes and shares.
There’s only so much value you can provide in a few hundred characters but with an article you can deliver something that’s really worth reading and thus worth sharing and potentially even subscribing as well.
There are two ways you can provide this type of content. The first way – and the best way – is to create your own content on a blog. This way you can keep people engaged with your brand while at the same time strengthening your authority and building trust.
You can demonstrate yourself to be an expert in other words, thereby creating a situation where your visitors will likely start seeking you out intentionally to get your opinion (which means you’ll be able to market to them easily).
According to Social Media Examiner, blogging is the most important area that 68% of marketers plan to focus on in the coming years. Blogging is also what can tie together your search engine optimization, your social media and your website into a single package.
This is called ‘content marketing’ and it’s a very important thing to consider.
Know that you need to be creating and finding amazing, interesting, entertaining and unique content for your website. Likewise, make sure you add social sharing buttons such as those from Shareaholic.
This way, your visitors will be able to easily take the initiative and share your content with the rest of the web and across their own social networks.
Rules For Social Networking Conclusion
Social networks when tied into your website provides you the ability to build a relationship with your potential customers as well as build up the trust factor. Create valuable content that provides a solution or helps people reach their goals and you’ll have a loyal following.
If you have any questions just reach out and I’ll be happy to share some tips.