Participating in Conversations on Social Media

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Searching for products and services in the phone book or newspaper is a forgotten practice. Just about anything and everything is now made easily accessible on the internet. Social media platforms help businesses add a splash of color to their products and services that otherwise may not be found on a professional website. If organizations have a personality, social media is where it makes an impression.

As a business owner, it’s important that the impression you make on social media is not only strong, but lasting. A positive, unbiased approach to social media is common business practice. But how can this be accomplished when participating in conversations across multiple social platforms? Which platform is best? Each social media platform has various nuances that act as unwritten usage rules. When you break one of those rules, you run the risk of looking unprofessional and leaving a negative impression on your audience.

Let’s take a look at eight social media do’s and don’ts when it comes to participating in conversations on social media.

8 Social Media Do’s And Don’ts

1. Do prioritize your networks

It may be tempting to try every new social media platform that pops into existence, but it’s a risk to your image to spread yourself too thin. Focus on the more popular social networks with longevity, a proven track record and – most important – where you know your customers engage. That’s likely Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. Spend time improving your presence on these high-traffic platforms and less time experimenting with newer platforms, unless you’re absolutely certain those new platforms are where your existing and prospective customer base spends their time.

2. Do actively engage with your audience

Providing helpful content is nice, but it’s not all social media has to offer. Interacting with other businesses both inside and outside of your industry is also key. On the right occasion, direct interaction with customers, such as a statement or comment to celebrate or show gratitude toward newer or larger clients, is acceptable. Here are specific bullets to help you know when it’s acceptable to engage:

  • See a question or comment on Facebook or Twitter that you can answer? Send the person a friendly reply.
  • Looking for industry-related recommendations on technology, products or services? Ask your LinkedIn audience.
  • Did someone mention, tag, retweet or share your post? Give them a quick like and a comment. 

It’s important to build connections online just like you would in person. Networking online is a savvy and convenient way to boost your following.

3. Do sell less and entertain or inform more

A newsfeed full of sales pitches? No thanks. You’re in business to make money, and that’s understandable, but it shouldn’t be the primary focus of your social media posts. Always remember the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the content you post or share should be entertaining or informative, while no more than 20 percent of your social media communications should directly relate to the products or services you provide.

4. Do give acknowledgements

Stay on the right side of social media etiquette by giving a head nod to the author or photographer when you share an interesting article or image. Take the time to find the handle/account responsible for the original post and include it in your own.

Acknowledgement is also good when thanking those who mention or retweet you. Stop by the page or post of someone else in your industry and leave a friendly comment on occasion. You can make some great connections when you play well with others on social media.

5. Don’t #turn every #other word #into a #hashtag

Adding appropriate hashtags connects your post to all other posts with the same hashtag. It also connects you to posts covering the same or similar topic as your own. This is a convenient way to categorize and search content on social media networks. When used correctly, hashtags will increase your online visibility and followers. When used in excess,  posts look #spammy and become #ineffective.

6. Don’t fish for likes or follows

Don’t constantly ask your Twitter followers to “please retweet,” or beg your Facebook friends to “like” your page every week. On the same token, don’t go to the pages of other businesses and leave requests for likes or follows in the comments. This is the quickest way to get blocked, muted or unfollowed. Let your posts speak for themselves. If the content is valuable and engaging, your network will naturally expand.

If your products are in high demand and you’ve generated a decent amount of buzz around having excellent customer service, people will naturally seek out your social media accounts. Don’t beg. Create posts and participate in conversations that are to your benefit, not your detriment.

7. Don’t post videos longer than 120 seconds

In today’s digitally driven society, the average consumer has a notoriously short attention span. According to a 2060 Digital report, 56 percent of all online videos are less than two minutes to avoid distraction-prone tendencies of consumers. How often do you click on a video and watch all the way to the end? As a business owner, your time is valuable. If you personally wouldn’t watch a lengthy video on social media, chances are others won’t either. It’s important to get your message across in the first 30 seconds of your posts.

8. Do enjoy yourself

Having a lively social media presence can be fun. Try to shake things up from time to time. Create live videos or interactive polls and keep your messages friendly and conversational. The rules (spoken and unspoken) of social media engagement are constantly changing and evolving. Keep your marketing efforts fresh and your company trending by staying aware of current best practices and incorporating them into your social media strategy. Not sure when to post? HubSpot offers guidance on the best times of day to reach audiences on a range of platforms.

Does Your Social Media Need a Boost?

From the first step of allocating a social media budget and resources to narrowing in on your targets, sending the right messages and tracking the results, it’s easy to fall off course. Not with BigOrange Marketing by your side.As a Google Partner and content marketing firm specializing in niche industries (IT, manufacturing, wealth management, land developers, MSPs, builders), we know how to structure your social media and paid ad campaigns for success. Book an appointment for assistance with your social marketing strategy.

Brittany D. Eaton

Brittany D. Eaton

Brittany D. Eaton is a content writer, researcher and social media strategist with over 15 years of sales and marketing experience in the technology industry. Her love of writing goes beyond occupational, as she is also a self-published author who enjoys creatively inspiring children through the art of story. Her debut children’s book, Zippy The Zebra Earns His Stripes is a local favorite and currently available on Amazon. Favorite quote: That's what I do. I write and I know things.

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