Social Media Best Practices: Stand Apart from the Crowd
Standing apart from the crowd on social media is important, if you want to become known and successful. You know that the key to getting more buyers is whether you are known, liked, and trusted. Social media is the key to getting you there faster. But first, you need to know what to do in order to get there. Social media best practices aren’t always common knowledge. Thankfully, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can get started today to ensure that you stand apart from the crowd and get attention.–
8 Social Media Best Practices
These best practices will help you stand out from the crowd, no matter what type of social media you’re using. If you do nothing more than these 8 things, you are more likely to stand out of the crowd. But, keep in mind that these practices are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you can do to maintain your edge.
One of the biggest problems with social media is that many users treat it as a one-size fits all type of system. In reality, you need to get to know people on a more personal level to make an impact. Some ways that you can do that are to send them direct messages (or private messages depending on the platform). Ask questions and take the time to send them a personalized message that shows that you bothered reading their profile and that you really want to get to know them as much as you want them to know you.
Avoid Too Much Automation
While automation can save a lot of time, it’s very important that you identify what should be done on a personal level and what should include automation. You need to truly spend time interacting personally and connecting authentically with your audience. Don’t be afraid to show your passion for your topic or niche. Remember, even if there is a lot of competition in your niche, no one else can be you, but you.
Provide Excellent Customer Care
Once you open social media accounts for your business, there may be times when you are asked to provide a little customer care. If you focus on putting your customers first, you’ll be able to redirect the customer to the appropriate place for support or take care of the situation in a way that reflects your commitment to your customers. When you can do this in front of others, you have the potential of winning over more customers or clients.
Keep Branding Consistent
It has been said that your brand is the promise you make to your customers. Your brand embodies the qualities, characteristics, values, and ideas that are representative of your business. Your brand is your business image, the message you project through words, logos, photos, video, audio, and more.
Keep your branding consistent in all of your business endeavors. This is exceptionally important for all of your social media channels and profiles. When potential and existing customers see the same branding repeatedly, it helps them to remember you, what you stand for, what you believe in, what your “promise” looks like (your logo), and what they can expect from you. But most of all, consistency encourages people to trust you.
A wonderful way to boost the “know, like, trust” component of your social media presence and show your appreciation is to highlight testimonials you receive. When someone says something nice about their experience with you, ask them if you can quote them on it. When they say yes, share their words with social followers and connections. Be sure to thank them for “making your day” or “making you smile.”
One of the best ways to highlight your trustworthiness is to “go live.” You can do this on webinars, YouTube.com, Facebook Live and more. When you interact in real-time, people can easily see who you are and learn from you. Since you won’t have a script or be able to edit anything before your live audience sees it, “going live” helps you to build trust. You’ll just be who you are and it will give your audience an opportunity to see how you think on your feet.
Focus On The Target
Get to know your target audience well. In particular, you should know what problems they face, their gender, lifestyle, occupation, etc. Talk to each person as an individual, not the group as a whole. Create a persona and talk with the “person” who is your ideal customer or client. This will work far better than trying to appeal to everyone.
Work Your Profile
Each social media network has profile area that is slightly different from the others. While you don’t want your profile to be copied verbatim on each network, it should be consistent with your branding and provide helpful information, including links when possible. Your profiles provide a way for your audience to get to know you and your business. Use all the space you’re allowed on each network to stand out.
These 8 best practices work on all social media networks. But, let’s get more specific about what you can do on a few commonly used networks to stand out even more.
The Facebook can be quite amazing. If you can’t find your audience on Facebook, you probably need to niche down or define your target audience more. According to statista.com, on a monthly basis there are over 1.71 billion active users on Facebook. The best way to stand out on Facebook is to encourage interaction in a variety of ways.
- Images – Every now and then Facebook changes its image sizes. Keep up to date on the best sizes to use so that they are more appealing and sharable. Use images in updates to help your audience find you in the sea of information in their news feeds. Use well-made, branded, attention-grabbing images to help promote your topics and updates.
- Content – The content you share on Facebook should lead readers to take some type of action, whether it’s going your website, blog, or getting them to sign up for your email list. Plan the purpose or a call to action for all content before you share it. Don’t share anything that is unrelated or uninteresting to your readers.
- Engagement – Don’t blindly share content. Most Facebook users are not there to buy. Generally, they dislike advertisements and over promoters. So, you need to engage with users on Facebook for maximum impact. One way to do that is by creating a group where they may feel more comfortable interacting with you and fellow readers.
- Promote – You can’t just leave things to chance on Facebook. If you have something important to share with your audience, use the tools available to promote it. You can promote a post, run an advertising campaign, and share items more than once.
Facebook is the place to be if you want to increase the size of your loyal audience base. Create a group so that you can engage with people. Answer questions on other people’s groups, be a resource, and “go live” with important information for your audience a couple times a week.
Twitter has over 313 active monthly users (statista.com) so in all probability your audience is on Twitter. If you want to go beyond using appropriate #hashtags, here are some best practices and important tips to help you stand out on Twitter.
- Repeat Your Tweets – More than any other social network, repeating Tweets is an essential component of ensuring that your ideas are seen, commented on, and shared. While other networks frown on this practice, Twitter encourages it. Try sharing a slightly different tweet about the same info two or three times a day. Be sure you space each “repeated tweet/link” several hours apart to get the most engagement.
- Don’t forget the Weekend – Weekends are a good time to interact with Twitter users. Some people may not have time to deal with social media during the week. Try sending tweets on weekends. Use what you know about the habits of your target market as well as analytics to find out when your audience engages on Twitter. You might be surprised at how much more you’ll stand out from the others who aren’t doing it.
- Use Images – Tweets that share images get more retweets and comments than those without. Be sure to brand your image with your logo. Let the image speak for itself with a small blurb on the image.
- Promote – On Twitter, you want to promote your important Tweets to get more bang for your time. When you know you want your audience to perform a specific action from the Tweet, that’s a good time to promote it.
Twitter has a lot of promise when it comes to social media promotions. You can use Twitter ads, Twitter pics, and even video to stand out from the crowd. Avoid too much automation and focus on interaction, especially on Twitter. Take advantage of the fast pace and tweet in the moment.
Often thought of as a professional version of Facebook, LinkedIn has a lot of potential for anyone who is trying to build a brand. If you really want your business to stand out, start making more connections on LinkedIn. Here are a few best practices to work into your LinkedIn social media plan.
- Profile – LinkedIn has a huge profile component. In order to stand out here, fill in every blank space that you possibly can. This includes an introductory video, a great professional headshot, as well as referrals, and testimonials from your clients.
- Publish – LinkedIn allows you to publish articles that will potentially get a high amount of viewers, even outside of your connections. This is because all of the second tier connections (your connections’ connections) can see the content you publish. Make your content unique, timely, and relevant. They’ll even give you writing ideas once you click “write an article” under your profile header.
- Connect – It is tempting to connect to anyone and everyone on LinkedIn. However, like most social media platforms, it’s best to connect with only the relevant people you know. Start with the friends you already have and build your connections over time. You can narrow down the relevancy even more according to your needs.
- Engage – LinkedIn has many groups that probably relate to your business, niche, and topics. However, you can create your own group, if you’d prefer. Whether you join a group or start your own group, make a commitment to engage with your connections on a regular basis. Contributing awesome information and content will attract the audience to you want.
If you participate on LinkedIn, complete your profile and keep it updated. Reach out to others you’ll stand out. So many people are relying on automation now that when someone gets real and personal they’ll automatically stand out and make an impression.
Google has shuffled things around a bit. Google+ Hangouts is staying put, while Google Hangouts On Air has moved over to the YouTube Live Streaming Events section. Google+ is still very relevant. Google Search still has the lion’s share of users compared to other search engines. So, Google products still carry weight even when changes are made. In fact, it’s important that you use existing accounts/products as long as possible, in order to stand out even more.
- Share Regularly – Whenever you post anything, it should also be promoted and shared on Google+. You can automate this process somewhat but you should always check your accounts, answer questions, and engage with others.
- Improve Headlines – It can take some thought, but you can improve your Google+ simply by improving the headlines on things that you share. A headline should include keywords that are relevant to the article.
- Ensure Readability – Many people share content that simply isn’t readable by the masses. Don’t use too much jargon, without explaining the meaning of the words. Watch your grammar and word usage to ensure that people understand your message. Only use keywords when they fit in naturally.
- Maximize Communities – You can create and participate in Google+ communities in order to build your authority or expert level but you need to ensure that you are using the community effectively. Create your own community and brand it so that people can easily find and recognize your group. Give your community members exceptional info.
Google Plus is always trying to improve by providing relevant information to readers. Be part of the solution by doing your part to provide top quality content in your little corner of Google+.
This visual social network is very popular with all types of businesses. Many business niches are represented on Pinterest. Anyone who can think outside the box, create visual information based on their niche, and engage with others can make Pinterest work for them.
- Create Optimized Pins for Each Post – Each blog post you make should be worthy of pinning. To encourage people to pin the images, they should be right size and have the right information on the image. The image should also encourage interaction as the most re-pinned.
- Add Pin Buttons – Offer a button that allows others to pin the articles and content from your site onto a board. Also, ask people to pin the content. The more people who pin your content, the more viewers you’ll get through Pinterest.
- Make Your Account Visible – This might seem obvious, but some people haven’t done this with their account. Yet, they don’t understand why engagement is low. Log in to your account and go to this link to ensure you have all your privacy settings the way you want them.
- Get Good at Tools – Many graphic tools can help you create images suitable for Pinterest. Pick one that works well for your needs and practice with it until you master its use. PicMonkey.com and Canva.com are just a couple that you may want to try.
To truly stand out, keep your Pins up to date, post regularly, and make your info and images “pin worthy.” This encourages social sharing.
One of the fastest growing social media networks is Snapchat. It offers a quick and interesting way to share information with your audience.
- Offer Exclusive Content – Make your content for Snapchat exclusive and only available on Snapchat. When you tell people about your Snapchat, let them know that the content is exclusive to your Snapchat followers only.
- Surprise Fans – A great way to get Snapchat fans excited is to host contests and provide incentives or perks. It works well when promoting your Snapchat on other channels. For example, on Facebook, you can ask your followers to “head on over to Snapchat to enter my exclusive Snapchat giveaway.”
It can be easy to lose sight of your brand on Snapchat because everyone is caught up in the interactive fun. But, always make your branding a top priority when you engage with your Snapchat followers. Don’t say or do anything that is contrary to your branding.
Many people are not sure about using Instagram for business. But, it’s a very powerful force in the social media community. If you want to use Instagram for business, you’re in good company. Implement these tips to ensure that you stand out.
- Hashtags – Instagram is unique when it comes to the usage of hashtags. On other social networks, more than two or three is overkill. However, on Instagram people often use as many as 20 hashtags. But, there are valid points about using too many hashtags. The best way is to use just a few relevant hashtags. Keeping the hashtag number low for each image makes each tag more relevant. Users can click on hashtags to find more posts with that word; so, it’s a good practice to limit and use relevant hashtags.
- Optimized Images – Like other image-centric social media, sometimes the recommended image sizes change. Check with the source to find out what the most recent recommended sizes are. If an image is the wrong size, it won’t appear correctly or be shared as often as optimized images.
On Instagram, sharing other people’s items, engaging with people’s posts, and being true to your brand is important. Instagram tries to avoid the rampant automation that is seen on other social media sites. They do this by forcing you to push out posts with your mobile device rather than automatically. This is a great opportunity for you to engage in real-time with your followers.
Standing out on social media is an important part of expanding your brand, encouraging more engagement, and building authority as the go-to person within your niche. You can leverage social media to help you become bigger and better than ever, if you know how to stand apart from the crowd. By implementing these strategies, you’ll likely meet your social media goals as you build your business and brand.