In today’s commercial world, social media is an increasingly invaluable tool for many businesses and organisations. With more and more businesses of all sizes beginning to harness social media to share their content with the world, there are numerous pitfalls to avoid in order to successfully increase the reach and authority of social messaging. As we grow up we are taught how to be polite and how to act around people; it is vitally important that we show the same respect for social etiquette in the online world. Adhering to best practice guidelines can help to make using social media for business a less risk and more rewarding proposition.
One of the simplest but most important rules is to use common sense. Try to imagine how you would talk to somebody in the real world face-to-face. In-person interactions like this should inform the way you approach people on your social networks. Creating interesting content to share on social media channels is necessary to promote new projects and ideas within your business but it is important that we keep in mind how much we share and when we are sharing. Audiences will quickly suffer from fatigue and over-exposure if you share too many posts in quick succession; in fact it will look “spammy” and may well put people off from engaging with any content you put out as it doesn’t look natural.
Choosing Your Channels
Think about which platforms are best for sharing different pieces of content; it is important to use a variety of channels but be selective when it comes to choosing how best to target people or groups that will be interested in your content. Social media channels should not be used as a foghorn to shout about what you are doing without listening to anyone and giving your audience a chance to interact. One of the best ways to use social media is to try and begin conversation around content that you create and use it to engage with your online following.
Facebook has a huge community surrounding it and it is important that you engage and encourage people who like your page. This audience has already shown an interest in your business by liking your page but it is important to engage your community so that they like, comment on and share the updates you publish on your business’s Facebook wall. As with other channels you should look to create content that people will want to engage with, vary content to find what works best, curate content from the best sources available and look to constantly develop what you are sharing. The golden rule is you shouldn’t share just for the sake of sharing; you should be sharing to show people something that will interest them.
Twitter is a great social channel to engage with people. For businesses looking to find an audience for new ideas and innovations,
the Twitter search bar is perhaps the most important and powerful tool at their disposal. Through the search bar you can find who is talking about your business and who the key influencers are within your field. It also highlights what is being shared through images and videos allowing you to see what people are already sharing. Giving you insight into what is popular and giving you the ability to curate the most influential pieces of content.
Careful timing is also crucial to successful sharing. Although many of us will use social media channels throughout the day, levels of engagement increases in the evenings when people are finished work. It is also worth sharing at the weekend, even if your business is closed; social media channels do not stop after office hours and engagement is also higher as people get online in their free time. Using scheduling platforms such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck is a great way to set up timed tweets to capitalise on these busier periods without having to work during evenings and weekends.
Overall try to remember to use common sense, think about the content you are creating and curating around your business and where it is best to target it, help to grow your community by engaging with them and getting to know what they are interested in and what is going on in your business field. And remember to keep it human – no one wants to talk to a bot on social channels so make sure that people know you are really there.
If you have any thoughts about the best practice for sharing content or tips for engagement please let us know in the comments section below.