1. Professional social media is different from personal social media. With personal social media you can choose to share whatever you wish about your life, and, as most of us have experienced, there can be a tendency to over-share at times. Social media for your company or organization, however, should be carefully filtered, not just for possibly offensive elements, but to be sure the content remains on brand and isn’t just fluff.
2. Know your audience. Different demographics use different social media. Twitter may work for one target, Facebook for another and Instagram for a totally different audience. Don’t assume that your customers use the same social media as you do. Market research can help establish what your typical customer is likely to be using.
3. Whose content is it really? The more you are linking to or re-using content created by others, the less you are building your own brand. Strong social media programs usually have a significant percentage of original content in them. The challenge, of course, is to develop content on a continual basis.
4. Balance the visual and the verbal. All copy is dull to look at, and all photos or videos may not articulate your message well. Be sure to balance the use of both. By the way, be careful about “borrowing” images you find on the web to illustrate a post. Many photos are copyrighted and must be purchased or rented for use.
5. Your brand should dictate your social media content. The beauty of a great brand strategy is that it answers a lot of questions and provides direction, not just for social media, but for many areas of the business. A brand that is focused on innovation, for instance, should have a social media calendar that is filled with examples of new ideas from that company or elsewhere. It should create innovation events, recognize innovation by others, or create an innovation award. Other topics can be covered, but wandering off into too many posts about company picnics, or employee anniversaries will dilute the main message for this particular brand.
6. Consistent quality matters. Be sure that your social media sites and your other digital assets (such as your website) are of equal quality. Many brands make the mistake of investing heavily in building a beautifully designed website and just slapping a handy photo into the headers of their social media pages. Be sure, as well, that the people responsible for making posts and answering comments have a thorough understanding of your company and are good, accurate writers.
7. Plan your program and work your plan. It is virtually impossible to have a steady, productive social media program without planning in advance and following the plan. Social media requires so many posts and packets of content that winging it is sure to fail. We develop social media calendars for all our active social media clients, and develop content in advance that is ready to go when specified. Of course, there will be many opportunities to react to current events and add new elements. But, a well-thought-out plan will keep your social media presence strong and professional.