The DOs and DON’Ts of Social Media: How you could be hurting your brand
No matter your industry, social media is a great way to reach new and existing clients, drive traffic to your site, gain leads, increase brand memorability, and maintain your brand’s reputation. But social media marketing is no small feat, especially if you’re on multiple platforms. Since each platform has its own distinct audience, personality, and even algorithms, it’s rarely wise to post the same things to each platform. Here are some basic ground rules for using popular social media sites to your advantage.
DO use images. Some platforms require images (Pinterest, Instagram), but even on ones that don’t, it’s been proven that using images dramatically increases viewer engagement.
DO post often. On Facebook, this is a must – the algorithm that decides what posts show up on each user’s News Feed actually favors brands that post regularly. On any site though, posting regularly will keep your followers with your brand and give you more opportunities to gain clicks, website views, and even leads.
DO keep a consistent brand image, voice, and tone. It’s obvious that your branded imagery should all look similar and on brand, but it’s more difficult to remember to keep your voice on brand as well.
DO post links to Twitter. Twitter’s users understand the character limit and are more willing to click away from their feed if they find something interesting., so they have the expectation of leaving the Twitter feed for something more substantive. However, you need to convince readers to click to your site rather than any other – so make sure your words and images are concise and intriguing.
DON’T worry about grammar. Obviously it’s important to make sure your tweets make sense, but the character limit makes Twitter much less formal than other platforms. Short, intriguing headline-style sentences work well for brands on Twitter.
DO use intriguing or emotionally charged language. If you’re promoting your content, which brands more than likely are, tweets need to make readers curious enough to click away from the Twitter feed.
This tweet from Hubspot is a great example. They’ve included a custom link to their content, and included both an image and intriguing, headline-style language to entice their followers to click on the link.
DO use images.
DO link away from Instagram.
Like Twitter, this is a common practice on Instagram. The most common way to do this is to including a link in your bio, and direct followers there in a photo description. But remember that since Instagram is designed almost exclusively for mobile, viewers aren’t as likely to tap a link that takes them out of their feed – so make sure your content on the platform is engaging and intriguing.
DO take advantage of descriptions.
Unlike Twitter, Instagram allows for long descriptions on your photos – and users are generally okay with reading on Instagram. If there’s something you really want to communicate or explain to your audience, feel free to type out a couple of sentences – or paragraphs – there.
DO showcase behind-the-scenes work and emphasize your company culture.
You can formally promote your business as well, but showing the “faces” behind the business is key.
DON’T use text-heavy images.
Instagram users are willing to read long descriptions, but you have to capture their attention with visually interesting – not text-filled – images.
Here’s an example from our own Instagram account. We love featuring our team informally through behind-the-scenes images on Instagram.
Want some more tips and tricks? Check out the articles mentioned in our Instagram Marketing blog post.
DO use Facebook! If you’re just starting out in social media for your brand, or if your team doesn’t have the capacity to manage several different accounts, make Facebook your go-to platform. It’s the platform with the largest user base, and unlike others, it’s still growing.
DO keep the algorithm in mind.
Facebook is not only the biggest platform, but also the most sophisticated in terms of the process by which your posts are shown to viewers. Facebook’s own algorithm is made to privilege certain posts over others depending on many factors, including your posts’ past popularity, how much you post, and how recently you’ve updated your Page.
DO use new tools. Facebook rolls out new tools fairly often, and when they do, they often privilege posts that use the new tools over older forms of posting – like the current popularity of Lead Ads. Keeping up to date with Facebook’s latest marketing tools is a great way to make sure more people are seeing your posts.
If you decide to advertise on Facebook (a good idea!), DON’T forget to target your audience. Targeting a specific audience that’s likely to engage with your brand is a great way to spend less and get more results. More on that here.
Want more guidance on using Facebook for your brand? Check out our Perfect Facebook Post worksheet.
DO share your business (or personal) best practices. LinkedIn publishing is dominated by professionals sharing ideas, tips, and experiences to others in their industries.
DON’T be (too) informal. LinkedIn’s unique personality requires users to balance the informal world of social media and the buttoned-up professional world. It’s not necessary to be too formal or academic, but keep in mind that your audience on LinkedIn is much more professional than on other platforms, and will expect more professional posts.
DO focus on content. Your audience on LinkedIn is presumably already interested in what you post, so you don’t have to try quite as hard to draw readers in. LinkedIn requires a focus on helpful and professional content, rather than on eye-catching imagery and language.
DO have an account – even if you don’t use it regularly. Posting regularly is less important on LinkedIn than on other sites, but just having a presence on LinkedIn will add credibility and legitimacy to your brand.
DO post job openings. LinkedIn is a great place to find qualified candidates to add to your team. Since LinkedIn offers a search option based on keywords, industry, job functions, location, and more, you’re likely to find – or be found by – the right candidate.
Still curious about using LinkedIn? Check out our LinkedIn Business Checklist.
DO use visually interesting graphical content and infographics. Pinterest is another site that’s almost completely based on images, so it’s crucial to make visual content that can compete with, and stand out from, all other images competing for your audience’s attention.
DON’T ignore descriptions. Like Instagram, Pinterest users don’t mind long descriptions – even if they don’t read them. Descriptions are a great way to get attention from Pinterest’s search function, so use as many keywords as you can.
DON’T reuse images from other social platforms. While there are no hard-and-fast rules for image size on Pinterest, images that are longer than they are wide generally work best – which is not the case with most platforms.
DO use if your brand is in the retail or similar B2C industry. Pinterest users plan for the future, and promoting via Pinterest can make lead to a lot of first-time sales and repeat customers.
Anthropologie is a great example of Pinterest for retail. The page showcases their merchandise in an aesthetically pleasing way, and makes it easy for customers to organically circulate the images. Check out Anthropologie’s full page for more inspiration!
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As CMG’s Crafter of Strategic Communication, Amy combines strategy and creativity to help clients communicate as effectively as possible. She is passionate about clear, effective communication, and enjoys crafting messages that help individuals and groups achieve their goals. She specializes in creating content and managing digital advertising campaigns for a diverse group of clients.