Social Media: 25 Best Practices for Engaging with Audiences

Companies use social media to increase engagement and stay relevant in the minds of their target audience. It also allows them to listen to public opinions about their company, receive feedback from their audience and respond to specific feedback. Social media tools are becoming an essential part of the marketing plan, with their ever-increasing function as additional brand-building tools.  Below is a compiled list of 25 social media best practices to encourage positive relationships with an audience:

Facebook:

1. Use the varied posting options (statuses, links, photos, videos, events, check-ins, etc.) – keeps the audience from being bored

2. Remove links from copy of post – use that space to grab attention

3. Employ photos rather than just a link, when possible – photos will catch the viewer’s eye better

4. When posting photos, post to timeline, rather than straight into an album – this way it will get its own attention

5. Use shorter, more succinct copy in posts – this gets more engagement

6. Be present and responsive – adds to credibility

7. Post consistently – spread content out, don’t just post everything at once and then be inactive

LinkedIn:

8. Throw all support behind fewer posts – small engagement more frequently is not beneficial, having high engagement on a few posts increases likelihood of getting into update emails

9. Share marketing offers – audience is more interested in education and information

10. Engage in groups more than anything else

11. Stay away from photos – they don’t look good and have low engagement

Twitter:

12. Keep them short (between 120-130 characters) – when people re-tweet, they may delete keywords, hash tags, etc. that you’ve included if it’s too long

13. Include handles of influencers (who you’re tagging) – better chance that they’ll see it and share

14. Only use about two hash tags per tweet – looks cleaner and more mature

15. Use visual content – photos get the most engagement, followed by links, then videos and finally regular tweets

16. When including a photo, upload directly to Twitter – otherwise they won’t show up in newsfeed

17. Place links after about 25% of the text in a tweet –people might not read to the end of the tweet

18. Include links and handles in bio section – directs traffic right from there

19. Links should only be about 20 characters

20. Follow the people who follow you – build relationships

In General:

21. Work with your other social platforms to promote a consistent message

22. If posting the same content to all networks, tailor the message based on the style of the platform

23. Monitor all engagement closely – build real relationships with the people interacting with you

24. Even when people get upset with you, respond in a way that will leave them with a positive experience

25. Use online and offline tools to drive traffic to both social media sites and corporate sites

Once you know how to better utilize the various social media platforms, posting at a time when your audience will be most engaged is essential. Generally, content posted around lunch time has the highest click through rates. However, testing your own posts will provide more accurate insights about the specific target audience.

For additional tips and announcements, follow the Communication Graduate Studies Department on Facebook.

The items on this list have been sourced from a presentation by Anum Hussain at the 2013 Inbound Marketing Conference and from the “Social Media Best Practices” page on Tufts University’s website. 

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