Social Media has become a vital cog in the wheels of Digital marketing strategy for every single brand. Your first impression today, is made by your social media profile, as they are your public face and open for everyone to see. Even before you go pitch a client or a potential customer, chances are he has already scanned through your Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus accounts to know a little more about you than what you may want to reveal.
If you are in the business of brand management, then Social Media is one of the easiest yet one of the hardest ways to win the hearts and minds of people, and eventually convert them into loyal followers. We say Social Media is both easy and hard because, if you are willing to follow a certain set of guideline, there is no rocket science involved, yet at the same time, one mistake or lapse of concentration can open a box more dangerous than Pandora’s, making it a challenging task.
As a digital consulting firm, there are several Social Media principles that we swear by and make sure to follow. These are essential, both for you to build your individual brands as well as for your customers. We are listing down twenty such principles that we very strongly adhere to.
Laying the foundation :-
Make sure your Social Profile looks presentable
It is a must that you have a good display picture and clean background images setup on your Social Media profiles. By clean, we mean high res images which fit the dimensions and there is no sort of pixilation. Make sure you have your profile public and have the right privacy settings. It is also, not a bad idea to keep changing the background pictures on special occasions just to keep your profile looking fresh and interesting.
Write a professional Bio
It has been observed that we usually end up just entering gibberish, for the sake of it while making a new profile on Social Media. If you have done something like that for a page that you manage or for yourself, you must go back and change your bio to something that is professional and one that really gives the visiting person an idea of who you are and what you stand for. Do not go on to write lines on end either. At maximum, 2 lines with relevant contact information usually is a good way to go with, when managing a brand page.
Plan and Schedule Content in Advance
Planning a content and what you are going to post at least a week in advance is a good practice for two reasons: the first being that you would have enough time to brainstorm together and produce content that is good to read and look at, and second being that it will give you an idea of what your page would contain in a week down the line allowing you to ensure that enough variety and assortment of content is maintained and you are not forcing the same lunch down the throats of your readers everyday. It is also a good idea to have a list of all the major festivals and events in the upcoming month ready, so that you can work on the content for those special occasions in advance.
Produce Content that is eye catchy
How many times have you looked at the content on your Social Media feed and skipped it just because it had a boring image or an irrelevant picture attached? Plenty of times, we are sure. It is important to check what image will show up when you share links and replace the image if it boring, pixelated or not relevant with the content. The picture accompanying your update must add drama as well as build context so that the users can drive home the point clearly.
Ask yourself if your content will pass the Re-Share Test
A good content is one that is shared well. While most of us are keen to accumulate maximum number of likes and comments on our posts, it is actually the times your article has been shared that actually shows how valuable your content was to the reader. Silently ask yourself if this content was on your wall, would you share it with your peers? Maybe, even take a second opinion of a team member just to involve a larger demographic set. If the answer to those questions is yes, then you must go ahead and post the content, if not, then maybe sit back and change a few things around.
Building the House :-
Get your Spellings and Grammar right
There never was, and there never will be a weapon as powerful as right words said at the right time. But this does not mean, we start playing with words that we are not very sure of. Wrong spellings and bad grammar are a crime on Social Media. It is best to put the content that you will be posting through a grammar tool if English is not your primary language. Having a spell checker on at all times, will greatly help too.
Do not text type on Social Media
Saving a character here and there will definitely not win you a trophy from the founder of the Social Media platform that you are posting on. While few networks such as Twitter have restrictions on how many words you can use per post, most of the platforms let you enjoy a judicious use of characters. Make most of that and do not push updates that are right out of the SMS inbox of your mobile phone such as, ‘Hey, chck dis out, itz so kewl’. Posts such as these are a plague for your brand and profile, and in case you are unable to complete what you wanted to say in one post, always use a continuation post rather than cutting characters. Like they say, King’s English has a charm and an attraction of it’s own. Use it to seduce your audience.
Be Bold in your writing
No, we are not saying go and bash and bad mouth your competitors. But, it is a good idea to take a bold stand. This statement is truer for individuals than for your brand pages. When managing your own Social media profile, it is good to take a stand on topics that personally you feel strongly. You may be right or wrong, but by being bold you invite conversations and interactions, which is always a good thing.
Be Brief, don’t bore people
Keep your posts on Social Media brief. Especially on Twitter, make sure your post is less than 110 characters so that you give enough space for somebody who wishes to RT it with comment. On the likes of Facebook, try to condense everything within 200 characters. A good content piece on a blog should have a 50 characters headline, short 3-sentence body and should always be written in Active Voice. Keep the sentences crisp and avoid too many conjunctions or interjections.
Credit your source
Remember karma is a bitch, so if you use any content from somebody, give him or her the due credit. You can either add a link to where you picked the content or just a by-line that says that you are thankful to the person for their contributions. If you do that, it enhances the credibility of your content and also wins you the attention of the content creator, and moreover, it becomes a good practice so that if somebody uses your content, they will make sure you are given the due credit.
Applying the Finishing Touches :-
Check for Optimum Image sizes for the platforms and if they are visible in the feed
Every platform has a dimension that is different. It is very important you note the right dimension of the image and prepare your creative based on that. You do not want your content to be partially visible in the news feed as it gives a very unprofessional and haphazard look. Some of the common platforms and the creative’s sizes for them are as follows:
- Instagram: 640×640
- Pinterest: 735×1100
- Facebook: 940×788
- Google+: 800×600
- Twitter: 1024×512
Use incognito window to check for cookies
Use the incognito window to double-check the content that you have posted. There is a chance that you may have shared a link that you are subscribed to and when the readers on the page open the link, they find the content is visible to only those who pay for it. This leaves a bad impression and may make them think that you are trying to market the service when in reality you are not. Always use incognito window on your browser to double-check the content.
Cross Post across the platforms
It is very important that you cross post and promote your content. If you have a loyal following on one particular social media profile, you must let your audience know there that you can be reached on other platforms too. This allows you to build a good base for the platform you just might have begun using and acts as a seed plantation for new followers there. Also, if you have a piece of content that has done well on one platform, make sure you share a link of that on the other platforms too.
Interact with those interacting on your page
If somebody has written a comment, good or bad, you must go back and respond to it. Interacting with your audience makes them feel a part of the page. It also a good habit to take time and thank your audience once in a while if you achieve a milestone such as 1,000, 10,000 or however many fans. After all, these are the people who are driving your engagement, so be humble towards them and value them. Respond to tweets, favorite and RT the good ones or the ones you feel are genuine and add value to your content piece.
Use Analytics and other tools to know what the audience likes and serve them that
There is no point in being just another face in the crowd. Similarly, your content should be a major differentiator on Social Media platform that you are posting on, standing a foot taller than anything your competitors are doing. To ensure your post is valuable, read through the analytics and see what your audience likes. Make the popular bucket and try to provide your user with one of the following in your content piece:
- Information: Make sure your post brings new information.
- Analysis: Share something from the field of analytics, everyone loves some charts and data.
- Assistance: Provide assistance or help solve a problem that your reader must be facing.
- Entertainment: Bring a smile, drop a tear or just give your audience something to think over.
House Warming and Connecting with others:-
Re-share good content from others
If you expect others to share content from your page, you should always oblige and share content that is relevant and useful from others on your page. It could be something as small as a video or a status update or a Retweet, but make sure you do that. This gives an impression that you are listening and are supportive of good content irrespective of where it comes from. Plus, it gives an incentive for the other person to share your content.
Reach out for influencers
Some people are more active on Social Media than others. There are some who are extremely active and have a good following. It is good to recognize these people and interact with them. If these influencers can be engaged in some way to create content that could be shared both on yours and their page, then it would add to your visibility. So, keep eye on the influencers and don’t be afraid to get in touch with them.
Embrace the Hashtag Culture
Love them or loath them, hashtags are here to stay. But it is important to know why they are used. Hashtags are used as conversation binders, so that you can be a part of the conversation around the said subject. Make sure you make relevant words hashtag. A good rule of thumb is to use nouns as hashtags more often than not. Breaking an entire sentence in the form of hashtags is repulsive, so avoid it. Use only relevant hashtags and keep to using one or two at most depending on the platform you are using.
Repeating sometimes is not bad
If you know a post of yours has done very well and brought a lot of engagement, there is no harm in modifying it a wee bit and giving it back to your audience and asking for a fresher input. There is a chance your page has grown since the last time the content was shared as well, so go on and let the new comers also have a look at what the old timers really appreciated.
Stay Active and Regular
The most important mantra of managing Social Media profile is to stay active and regular. Your audience should receive something your end everyday, at regular intervals. Make sure you are active, listening to your audience, analyzing the comments and insights, curating and giving them the content regularly. Plan in advance and make sure not a day goes where your potential audience does not hear from you.
So, those were the 20 important principles that you must follow to ensure a good social media engagement on your profiles. Is there anything more you would like to add? Do let us know in the section below.
We would like to place on record, our thanks to Guy Kawasaki for his insights at one of his webinars, which was key in us writing this piece.