The landscape of social media is constantly changing, with new platforms and features being added at a quick pace. It can be overwhelming to keep up with what’s trending and which tools help you optimise your social media platforms. Some businesses choose to ignore social media altogether because they think it’s too tedious and won’t make an impact on their bottom line. Others jump into the rat race but don’t have a clear strategy and haven’t taken the time to set goals and guidelines for their brand and employees. Which is more detrimental to success? Technically both are. The first organisation misses out on the opportunities that unfold on social media while the second can struggle to shape its identity on social media, gather followers and navigate crises.
Thankfully, there are numerous basic rules that every brand can follow to ensure success on social media. Whether you choose to invest your time with Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or even TikTok, think of these rules as your starter kit for success.
Whether you’re new to social media, or a professional who could use a refresher, remember to follow these best practices across your channels:
Whether you’re a B2C or B2B brand, no customer is interested in a social media account that only promotes your business. While it’s true that many consumers and business leaders use social media to learn about new brands and conduct product research before making a purchase, you should not focus all of your energy on selling via social media.
Balance company announcements about new products, award wins and upcoming events with updates about the industry that your business serves. For example, highlight new industry research and best practices by reposting content from industry influencers, as well as your own thought leadership-focused blogs and articles. Your followers will appreciate that you’re providing them with useful information, pointing out trends and creating opportunities for a dialogue.
Social media hackers and disgruntled employees (current or former) can result in social media disasters. It’s important to not only have strong passwords and security measures in place to prevent instances of hacking but to also carefully manage permissions for your business’s social media channels. Passwords should be changed on a regular basis and after an employee handling social media leaves the organisation. Remember that if you have added employees as Admins to your pages that you also remove their permissions once they exit their role.
Additionally, employees looking to post about their personal views should ensure they are logged into their personal accounts and not a corporate one. A small snafu can turn into a much bigger problem if the error goes unnoticed by the social media manager. Followers often take screenshots of content posted in error, meaning they can live on the Internet forever.
This may seem like an obvious recommendation but even well-known brands have been forced to delete and repost on social media due to incorrect spelling and grammar. In addition to grammatical mistakes, blurry photos and poorly-timed posts can make a bad impression. Remember to thoroughly vet content before it is sent out, and to use caution around sensitive subjects like natural disasters, politics and other hot-button issues. Some brands schedule their content in advance and then fail to adjust their calendar when breaking news arises. This can result in a celebratory post on the same day as a national tragedy, which makes an organisation appear tone deaf.
Social media should never be a one-way communication. Instead, it should be viewed as an opportunity to interact with followers and influencers. Respond to mentions, inquiries and complaints sent through social media, show appreciation by liking and sharing content and contribute to conversations like LinkedIn group dialogues and Twitter chats. Doing so helps to bring personality to your brand’s accounts and can help grow your follower base.
At some point, your organisation may face backlash from upset customers or even social media trolls. It’s important to handle inquiries and complaints quickly and professionally. Remaining silent amid criticism can cause even more damage, like it did for Dell following a negative review. Similarly, deleting negative posts, rather than responding to them, can also cause outrage. Avoid canned responses that feel too impersonal and robotic when addressing complaints.
Too often brands make social media mistakes and become the subject of a “what not to do” article, which results in bad publicity and potentially revenue loss. Avoid this by focusing on balanced content, security, attention to detail, engagement and responsiveness. Following these rules will help bring order and more followers to your social media accounts.
Want to learn more about social media rules of thumb? Working with Mulberry can ensure your messaging is consistent and in line with your brand. Contact us today to get started!
Jess Messenger is an Account Director at Mulberry Marketing Communications, an award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in Chicago, London and Australia. She enjoys developing PR campaign strategies and writing for B2B audiences across numerous verticals such as retail, foodservice and healthcare.