Whether we use it to connect with our loved ones, to stay updated with the latest news or even remotely run our business from anywhere of our choosing, one’s thing for certain — social media is here to stay.
In the context of businesses, it’s especially hard to ignore how important it has become as many have discovered the untapped benefits of using it to advertise their companies so they can better reach their customers.
With that being said, let’s jump straight in the top 5 do’s and don’ts for advertising your business using social media:
1) Understanding Each Social Media Platform
As you know, there are plenty of options to choose from, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the most recent one of course… TikTok.
But before you jump straight in with the popular ones, you’ll need to understand and consider what each of these social media platforms are for.
For instance, restaurants would rely more on Instagram because it’s visual or graphics-reliant, which makes it perfect for posting about your food and dishes to attract potential customers:
However, a B2B technology company wouldn’t use the same approach, which means LinkedIn might be more suitable as their customers rely on factual and detailed technical content to make their purchasing decisions.
For more on which platforms would suit your business, you can check out this article.
But the main point being illustrated here is this:
Do: Understand the audience you’re aiming for
Each platform caters to a specific business not only because of how they are designed, but also in the users and consumers who actively utilize it on a daily basis.
For instance, younger consumers prefer Instagram because it’s a visual platform geared towards creative expression in one’s photos and videos.
It’s a place for them to discover the latest trends and socialize with other people within their same community, as compared to Facebook where users prefer the ‘status’ feature that provides a simpler convenience on updating about their day-to-day, hobbies, beliefs etc.
Don’t: Assume every platform is the same
Each of them has different features that makes them unique, which affects how businesses need to use them to acquire the results they’re looking for.
For instance, Facebook and Instagram offer brands ecommerce integrations, while Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest utilize the traditional model of directing users to your website instead.
In addition, Facebook prioritizes those who spend on ‘advertising’ their posts as compared to regular posts which causes it to significantly underperform in terms of reach and engagement.
To recap, understand the users, features and policies within each social media platform.
2) Content Creation
Once you’ve got a basic understanding of them, you can start thinking about creating your advertising content.
Here are several formats to consider:
- Text based (Short-form or Long-form)
- Videos (including live-streaming)
While posts with images generally perform better, that’s not to say that text-based content should be ignored entirely as it depends on the platforms you’re using.
Twitter has a 280 character limit which encourages users to create short-form content instead of lengthier ones as allowed on other platforms.
This way, businesses will be able to portray themselves as more authentic or ‘human’ which improves how they interact and connect with their customers.
So, where does that lead us?
Do: Create high-quality branded content
Branded content refers to content that is unique to your brand (i.e. posts that has your logo or marketing material in it).
This can be in the form of well-designed images, topic of discussions or even beautifully-edited videos.
In the same way of how we humans usually ignore spam, high-quality content drives engagement because they provide value to the users.
Essentially, the quality of your content reflects the perception consumers will form towards your business, which is crucial if you’re looking to capture their attention, drive engagement and retain customer loyalty.
Don’t: Skip your captions and hashtags
Captions provide further details about your post and can even improve your engagement rates by prompting users to comment or interact with the post through various means (likes, shares etc.)
For instance, encouraging your customers to leave feedbacks about your products:
On the other hand, hashtags makes your content more discoverable by organizing it under relevant categories.
This not only extends the reach of your post, but also narrows down the users you’re targeting by only focusing on those with an interest in your products and services.
A post about Chinese New Year snacks will perform better with the hashtag #cny or #cnycookies as compared to not using one or incorrectly labelling it within another category.
So remember, create high quality content but don’t forget to take the time in writing engaging captions and using relevant hashtags.
3) Content Calendar
Once you’ve figured out the types of content to produce, you’ll need a content calendar (or schedule) to ensure you’re posting regularly on social media.
But what’s so important about this?
Two reasons — brand relevance and algorithms.
As you know, people actively use social media everyday, which means keeping your business page active is crucial to staying at the top of your customers’ minds whenever they’re on the platforms.
By doing so, you’re building brand awareness with your content on a daily basis, which influences purchase decisions when customers think about products and services related to your business.
Next, each social media has their own algorithms to decide whether a user would be exposed to a particular type of content.
Most notably, Facebook uses various metrics to determine if a post or page is considered engaging to users based on a high or low ‘relevance’ score, which directly affects how many users you’re able to reach on any given content.
Put simply, if a profile is rarely active or does not have an engaged audience, then the platform will penalize you and limit your reach.
So, what can you do?
Do: Create a posting schedule
The only way to ensure that your content reaches your customers is to post high-quality content on a regular basis.
This means planning ahead by allocating specific days (i.e. Mondays & Fridays) and time (i.e. 3pm) for releasing new content.
By doing so, you’re signaling to both your followers and the algorithm that your page is active and has something valuable to give.
Don’t: Take on more than you can handle
Creating content is labor intensive as you need to manage different parts such as brainstorming topics, researching, writing and editing before posting it up.
Over time, it will take a toll on the person or team behind it which can lead to burn out.
Thus, start small (i.e. a few posts per month) and slowly scale up only when you’re ready to handle more of the workload.
To recap, having a content calendar helps you plan ahead for all your social media advertising, while avoiding potential pitfalls such as burnouts within your content creation team.
4) Community Engagement
To emphasize this point, businesses need to be ‘social’ when using social media.
Just like real life, it’s about interacting with the people in the groups and communities of each platform.
After creating your content on Facebook, you’ll need to promote or share it with other users and groups who show an interest in your products and services.
By doing so, you’re not only increasing the total amount of customers (new or existing ones) reached but also strengthening the relationships formed by constantly interacting with them.
In simple terms…
Do: Engage consistently
Whether you’re posting, commenting or even sharing, engaging with your followers and communities on a consistent basis (like how you would with posting regularly) keep the spotlight on your business by capturing their attention.
This ensures that you remain relevant amongst customers throughout various events and happenings of the year, which not only establishes brand awareness but builds long-term customer loyalty by appearing relatable with the social aspect of their lives.
Don’t: Forget to monitor your reputation
Besides actively engaging, you’ll also need to do some ‘social monitoring’ to understand what people are saying about your brand online.
Some users might intentionally sabotage your reputation through spamming, trolling or spreading misinformation about your products and services, which affects your credibility amongst your followers and could hinder future efforts in engaging with the same group.
To get around that, you can do a quick search of your business’s name on each platform to see if there are any instances in which you need to block or report those cases.
The main takeaway? Engage with your followers consistently while being mindful about your reputation online.
5) Social Media Metrics
Like any other business activities, metrics will help you understand whether your social media efforts are performing well.
So, what should you consider?
Do: Track the metrics relevant to the platforms being used
While similar to an extent, each of them has different metrics that are more important in one platform than the other.
For instance, these are some of the most common metrics most would measure:
- Reach — Indicates how many users your posts have reached, including those who have not followed your profile.
- Likes / Follows — Shows audience growth rate, which provides an estimate of brand reach and awareness.
- Engagement — Measures how active users are in interacting with your posts through likes, comments, shares, link clicks etc.
However, if you compare the analytics given by Facebook and LinkedIn, you would get something different between the two:
In this example, LinkedIn offers a demographic breakdown of your followers based on their job functions while Facebook provides ecommerce insights such as orders made, which is especially important for a business in a B2C segment but not necessarily so for those in B2B.
Again, this goes back to understanding the purpose behind using each platform for your business, which determines the relevance of certain metrics based on your objectives.
Don’t: Forget to combine them with your business objectives
While these metrics show how well you’re performing on the platforms, they need to be combined together with your business objectives in order to paint a clear picture on how it’s impacting your company as a whole.
Click-through rates (CTR) helps you understand how many users are entering your website from each platform, which directly influences the conversion rates of your products and services.
If you’re tracking offline purchases, measuring the amount of coupon codes used in accordance with a post’s reach can also provide a snapshot of how well your social media is driving sales.
The bottom line? Track the metrics relevant to your platform and integrate them into your overall marketing mix to better understand the growth and profitability of your business.
To summarize, here are the 5 do’s and don’ts:
- Understanding Each Social Media Platform
- Content Creation
- Content Calendar
- Community Engagement
- Social Media Metrics
With these platforms are becoming ever more important for businesses, investing in a social media team will provide you a crucial asset that will benefit you for many years to come.
In essence, you’ll not only need a team of professionals who can produce high quality content on a regular basis, but also one that has years of experience that can stay on top of industry trends while handling any technical problems that come about.
They’re most often found in a digital advertising agency composed of creatives and strategy-oriented individuals who can help you leverage the many opportunities within such platforms while ensuring your business goals and objectives are met in the most effective and efficient manner possible.