With 72% of people on the Internet active on social media, 53% of people on Twitter recommending products in their Tweets and over 400 million snaps sent on Snapchat every day – social media is a big deal.
Accordingly, your brand will want to put its best face forward on all active networks. So get ready, because I’m sharing my top 10 community management tips to help you get the biggest ROI.
1. Don’t “like” your businesses’ Facebook page’s posts on your smart phone.
Right now, there is no way to switch from using Facebook as your business to using it as your personal account on a mobile device. This means every time you “like” or comment on one of your brand’s posts, photos or videos, it will show up as an action from your brand’s page.
For example, it would look pretty silly if Nike liked their own Facebook post about their new shoe. To avoid this, don’t “like” any of your brand’s Facebook updates on your smart phone. On a desktop, switch to your personal account (shown below), and then “like” or comment on your brand’s updates.
However, if you’re trying to comment or respond to a comment as your business, feel free to do so from your smart phone. It will show up as a comment from “said business.”
2. Don’t auto-link… ANYTHING.
Auto-linking your Instagram or Facebook account to Twitter or vice versa or even using tools like Hootsuite or Buffer may be easier for you, but what’s easier for you unfortunately creates an extra step for your social community. An extra step (or possibly several), that they’re not likely to take.
Using pic.twitter.com (or uploading photos and videos natively into a Facebook post or Tweet) allows your image to automatically display in your followers’ Twitter feeds and Facebook Newsfeeds without requiring them to click through to view.
When auto-linking your Instagram to post to your Twitter account, your Tweet copy shows up along with a link to your Instagram photo (shown below). This requires your followers to click through and open Instagram in their mobile Web browsers.
If they aren’t logged into their Instagram accounts in their browser, there is yet another step they need to complete before they see your photo (logging in). Would you go through the trouble? Probably not. Your Tweet copy can also get cut off if your Instagram post copy was more than the allowed 145 characters.
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Which of these Tweets would you be more likely to engage with?
3. Know the image size requirements (or use a trusty resource to find them).
Optimally sizing your images for each social media network increases engagement rates and improves the professional look of your posts. In short, it makes it look like you know what you’re doing.
These size requirements are constantly changing as social media network layouts and designs evolve, so it’s important to stay current. I’ve created this social media image size cheat sheet blog post that I frequently update to save you some Googling time. Feel free to bookmark it.
To showcase the importance of staying up to date, take a look at the difference in something as overlooked as Facebook link previews. The correct image size gives your brand more real estate.
4. Don’t shy away from negativity.
Oh no! Someone complained about your brand on social media and everyone can see it, now what? The worst thing to do is to ignore or delete the complaint. More than likely, the person who complained about your product or service did it because they are unhappy with a recent experience and want you to fix it. Now, read that sentence again.
Yes, they want you to fix it, meaning they want to continue to have a relationship with you. This is a good thing. But if you’re still not sure what to say, try my five-step approach for responding to negativity on social media:
- Acknowledge. The problem is real to them; show you’re taking it seriously.
- Apologize. Don’t be afraid to say you’re sorry.
- Explain. This is an opportunity to offer your side of the story, including key messages.
- Offer next steps. Get their contact information, check into more details, etc.
- Read it out loud. If you wouldn’t say it, you shouldn’t write it.
Learn more about this response strategy in my previous blog post: Don’t feed the trolls! How to handle negative feedback on social media.
5. Use real photos, not stock imagery.
Since people can readily detect the difference between real photos and stock imagery, using stock photos dehumanizes your brand on social media. Think of it as one more obvious quality that differentiates your content from the content people log in to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. to see: their friends and family members’ posts.
You’ve taken the time to craft original and fresh content based on the value your brand can offer, so we recommend going the extra mile to make your visuals just as original and fresh.
6. Always search a hashtag before using it.
The purpose of a hashtag is to curate conversations about a topic. Including a hashtag adds your message to that conversation; so you should only include hashtags that make sense. We’ve all read the horror stories on lists like “Top Brand Fails on Social Media” where someone skipped over the step of searching a hashtag before sticking it in their Tweet. It usually ends up horribly offensive and all over Buzzfeed the next morning.
Save your brand’s reputation (and your job) by performing a quick search and thinking about whether you see a conversation your brand should take part in or avoid. When in doubt, ask, “If this were the topic of a trade show, would it make sense for my brand to have a booth? If this were a magazine, would we run an ad?”
7. Stick to your “one thing.”
This is where strategy comes into play. Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert, tells social media marketers, “Unless you’re one of the very few companies that already has a natural community of raving fans (Apple, Nike, etc.), people don’t care about your company enough to get involved with you online in a meaningful way. Instead, you have to find the ONE THING in your company that is truly defining and interesting, and build your social media program around that.”
Your one thing will likely be derived from your organization’s operations and culture. Your Facebook posts, Tweets, pins and Instagram photos should always tie back to your one thing. For example, “engagement experts” is Wimmer’s Diamonds’ one thing, and their social media posts and promotions showcase it wonderfully with from stories of local engagements to helpful tips on how to pick the right ring and what to do once you get engaged.
8. Be proactive and human.
People use social media to connect with friends, not logos — so it’s important to showcase your brand’s personality. You need to be someone who attracts your audience members. What do they look for in a friend? Find your brand’s voice or create a persona and act like a real human: “like,” comment on and share others’ content that’s relevant to your brand.
9. Horizontal video works best (and keep it under 30 seconds).
Facebook’s Newsfeed is giving video a lot of attention right now, and many brands are trying to capitalize on it. Are you? You should be. But read these tips first.
Videos are not photos. You may think that sounds obvious, but many overlook the fact that you can’t just rotate your video after shooting it like you can with your images. Holding your phone horizontally when you record will help you create significantly better videos. TV, computer and movie screens are all horizontal. We just weren’t made to watch vertical video.
See the difference?
It’s also important to keep your videos short. According to a study by socialbakers, videos less than 21 seconds perform best in terms of completion rate.
As every second goes by, the possibility of your viewer exiting your video increases. If you’re using a call-to-action in your video, you’ll want to use it sooner rather than later.
10. To direct message someone on Twitter, they must follow you.
To avoid people receiving spam messages, Twitter requires that someone follow you before you can direct message them and vice versa.
These 10 tips are just the beginning of the tricks I have up my sleeves for social media community management. I’d love to discuss strategy and tactics specific to your brand too.