Just about every business uses social media in some form. It’s not only where their audiences are, but also the place those audiences expect businesses to be.
The expectation of businesses to have a social media presence, however, can bring with it some challenges. For many social media marketers, the pressure to constantly supply an audience with what it craves on social media can lead to bad habits. The expectation of volume, for example, can lead to sloppiness. The expectation of frequency can lead to a diluted message. Half-hearted efforts can turn into bad habits, and bad habits can make perpetual the half-hearted effort.
The answer, of course, is to prevent bad habits and shed existing ones. Perhaps the best way to do that is to form new habits. And what’s a better time of year there to form new social media marketing habits than near the start of a New Year?
If your social media marketing efforts could use a fresh start with the fresh new year, here are five social media marketing habits that might be worthwhile to develop:
1. Be timely
This is 2018. News and events get to people in real-time. Weighing in on something important related to your business hours after it happened wasn’t even cool in 2017. Social media marketers want to be at the top of people’s timelines when they log on or refresh, not in the “In case you missed it” category. Connecting to the world via the internet every six hours won’t cut it anymore. If you snooze, as they say, you lose. So set alerts, log into your social media accounts more frequently or do whatever you must to deliver your message on time.
2. Be interactive
Social media, by definition, is “social.” That means that open-ended messages that encourage interaction and invite two-way dialogue are better received than one-way communiqués. More and more, people don’t just want to “hear” businesses. They also want to be heard. It’s up to you to provide that avenue. Don’t try to end conversations, try to start them.
3. Be personal
It’s no secret that people want to do business with people they know. And at no other point in the history of business or marketing has that been more powerful than it is right now, via social media. Every business, every social media marketer, can develop a social media “personality” that lets the audience get to know them. Be a person in this social media environment of robots, and you can build invaluable relationships with a consumer audience.
4. Be real
This is also the era of “fake news,” and the savvy social media user is getting better at recognizing it. This means that a social media marketer should be wary of what they share. Use trusted, commonly recognized sources of information to reinforce your message, use facts and use verifiable data. “Fake” is the battle cry of those whom audiences will only increasingly mistrust, which means that to be trusted, businesses must choose the battle cry of real and reliable.
5. Be visual
The social media marketer’s best friend is the share button. There’s nothing like being in business and having your client list, database, or social following spread your message – at zero cost – for you. And in case you haven’t noticed, social media users are much more likely to share visual content. This means pictures, videos, charts and graphs, and even memes. It means your own created content should have visual elements, but it also means quoting tweets and “liking” and sharing posts that have visual elements. Share what will be re-shared.
Social media is a still-evolving phenomenon, and if it’s not in its infancy anymore, it’s at least still a toddler. And early formative years are the ones for rapid changes and development, so if you feel as though you must participate in social media marketing, it might be best also to embrace evolving with it to build or maintain effectiveness in 2018.