Social Media Best Practices

by Stacey Alexander on June 20, 2011

in Social Media

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This post is one in a series answering the Top 10 Social Media Marketing Questions for 2011.

Question number 7: What are the best practices in social media marketing?

This is a really broad question that I could spend weeks answering. But since I don’t think anyone wants to read a post that long, I’ll try and keep it high level.

Top rules for social media best practices are as follows:

  1. Be honest and open. Social media is opening brands up to the public. This can be scary, but the businesses that will be the most successful in social media will embrace this fact and really connect with their audiences.
  2. Listen to what people are saying, and respond to them. People like social media because it’s a two-way street. If they just wanted you to push information at them, they’d spend all their time looking at your ads.
  3. Only have as many presences as you can handle. The only thing worse than not being in social media is being there and neglecting your presence. If you don’t have the resources to take on a Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube channel, blog and whatever else you see out there, reign yourself in. Your audience can tell when you’re not really there.

Ok, now for some specifics.

How do you blend personal and professional messaging?

This depends on your industry, and if the presences is you or your business. If the presence is you, decide if you’re going to add professional messaging. If you’re not, make sure that your info is privacy protected, knowing that nothing is 100% protected. If you will be adding professional messaging, feel free to keep personal messaging, but make sure you only include what you don’t mind your colleagues, boss and clients seeing.

If the presence is your business, know that you are speaking to your audience as a business. Social media is about bringing out the human, so add personality to your presence. But know that your audience will see anything you post as something coming directly from your brand. Post accordingly.

Certain businesses–like a local brewery–are more free to include more personal messaging than say, a bank. Know the culture of your industry, and add the personality that you can.

For more details, we have a whole post on the topic: Which Twitter account is better for business? Brand or personal?

How many channels of social media do successful social media marketers use?

As mentioned above, don’t spread yourself too thin. The most successful social media marketers go where their audience is. If your audience is talking about you on Twitter, you should be talking to them on Twitter. Expand as you have the resources. The most important thing is to be active. To talk to your audience. To show them that you care about their  happiness. Keeping your customers happy is your main goal in business. As Martha Rogers says, “If you don’t have a customer, you have hobby.”

What are the most effective techniques for marketing through each platform?

There are a lot of platforms out there, so I’ll talk about what works for all of them. Spend time learning the specific culture of the platform you’re going to be present on. Manage your presence within the confines of that culture. Once you know how to use each platform, start actively participating:

  • Respond to posts directed at you.
  • Perform outreach in places where you can: Twitter search, blog commenting, video commenting, posting on other Facebook pages.
  • If it’s in your budget, use targeted ads where possible to gain awareness.

What are your tips for social media best practices?

Photo by birgerking

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Morgan Siem June 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm

The two that I’d add are to (1) have fun with it, and (2) assume that all guidelines and best practices set forth for your business also pertain to your use of social media – understand which regulations pertain to you and your business – nondisclosure agreements? compliance? public record?

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