Author's note: I wrote this post leading up to the holiday season. But these tips are valid all year round. So whenever you might be reading this post, I hope you find it helpful and timely.
The holidays are almost here and that means it’s spending season! People are going to be buying presents, taking vacations, going out for family dinners and thinking about end of year giving. There is no better time to take stock and make sure your social media is working for you as strongly as it should be.
So here is a quick top ten checklist to help ensure you get everything you can out of social media this holiday season:
1) Tag and recognize your partners
To tag on most platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn...) type an @ and then start typing a partner’s username. You will see a dropdown menu of options. Choose the right handle (unique name of person or brand) and viola! Instead of just writing their name online, you are tagging them. Now they will get a notification you mentioned them and hopefully they will turn around and spread the love.
2) Text < Pictures < Video < Facebook Live
Good text is important.
But posts with pictures are better.
Video will take you even further.
And Facebook Live can take you to levels you didn’t know was possible!
3) Have ONE hashtag (#) and use it
If you live, work and post in a B2C world (business 2 consumer as opposed to B2B--business 2 business), you should utilize a hashtag and you should use it often. It’s okay to have additional hashtags for specific sales, events, or campaigns, but regularly using multiple hashtags means none are as strong as they could be.
Post using your hashtag and encourage others to use it as well. You can do this by displaying it in your store/office/meeting spaces, sharing/retweeting/reposting content that uses your hashtag and generally letting your audience know about it.
4) Don’t autopost
When you autopost from Facebook to Twitter, you are telling your Twitter followers that your time is more valuable than theirs. It’s fine to post similar versions of the same content in both formats, but copy and paste your post into each platform and ensure that everything is optimized for the platform in which you are posting. (If a post ends with a "..." that is BAD!)
One potential exception: use a site like If This Than That (IFTTT)* and build a “recipe” that automatically posts your Instragram pictures to Twitter. Don’t EVER post a link to your Instagram picture on Twitter (automatically or otherwise). If people interact with you on Twitter, show them your picture where they are!
*Here’s an explainer blog to walk you through setting up an IFTTT recipe.
5) Engage with and share content from happy customers and respond openly and honestly to unhappy ones
While seeing negative content online about yourself and your brand might be painful, it’s there whether or not you engage! If you see negative comments, decide if the poster is a troll or an unhappy customer. A troll should never be engaged with, but DO NOT ignore unhappy customers; if they write about you on social media, they are talking about you publicly. Respond. Don’t be defensive, just explain your side and if you offered solutions, share them publicly. Don’t cede the conversation, engage in it!
And of course if people say nice things about you, like the comment/tweet/picture, comment on it, and share it! It’s amazing how far a little TLC can go.
6) Post often (but not too often!)
As a rule of thumb, you should post on Facebook and Instagram a minimum of 3-5 times per week and a maximum of 3-5 times per day.
On Twitter, post a minimum of 8-10 times per week and maximum of 8-10 times per day.
Sound like a lot? It’s not! Follow the 80/20 rule (#8) and you’ll be good to go.
7) Use your blog as a bridge to drive traffic from social media to your website
Spell out ideas in great detail on your blog. Then share snippets on social. This is a great tip for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and keeping your site up-to-date and dynamic. And it will serve as a bridge between your social and your site.
You shouldn't repost the same content over and over. But it’s okay (encouraged even!) to repackage your content. Your social will have a different audience in the morning than the evening. Different people will be logged on Wednesday than Friday. Keep finding ways to share your content, creatively and helpfully.
8) Follow the 80/20 rule -- don’t sell, build! (trust, community, relationships)
The 80/20 rule states that 20% of your content should be about you and your brand. The other 80% should be content that your audience will find helpful/relevant/interesting/funny/provoking...
For every post talking about a sale, a new product, store hours, or the like, you should have four posts that will simply add value to your audience’s lives.
9) Understand your analytics and learn from them
There is no shortage of third party apps and sites that will provide a tremendous amount of data about your social media’s analytics. But Facebook and Twitter each have very powerful analytic tools built right into the platform. They are free to access and will provide you invaluable data that you can learn from and use to improve your content and digital strategy.
To access your Facebook analytics, go to your brand page and navigate in the top menu bar to “Insights.” For Twitter, login to your account and open a new tab. Then go to analytics.twitter.com and they will be there waiting for you.
If you’ve never visited either, you’ll be amazed what you can learn.
10) Display your handles (and your hashtag) for the world to see
If you have a brick and mortar store or a restaurant, display your handles (and your hashtag) loud and proud. Let people know that you want to see pics of their new end table or the special cocktail you just served them.
Don’t have a brick and mortar store? Promote your handles in your emails and newsletters. Put it on your website. If you have clothing or merchandise, include your hashtag on it. If you are in front of a crowd (one person or ten thousand), let them know how to find you online.
No one will care more about what you have to say online then the people who already love what you do offline!