7 Best Practices to Social Media Success

1. Create a Hub

Many brands have content spread across the Internet – often in a disorganized manner. Having a lot of content across the web is good for brand recognition and search ranking, but only if the imagery, tone of voice, and messaging is consistent. Social networks will work more effectively if the information and content links up to each other, and in particular, to a main hub such as a website.

2. Branded Profiles

Each social network is based around a profile. For better brand recognition, each profile should: consistently describe your brand, list all other social media profiles including the website, and use your brand’s keywords where possible. The main website should have these social networks prominently displayed, opening to a new browser tab/page. Email signature lines should also have links to your primary networks.

3. Participate

Just as in face-to-face communities, online communities are more interesting when people interact with each other. The more you participate, the more likely people will remember you or your brand. To do this simply follow, subscribe, share, like, favourite, comment etc. on content that your target demographic might find interesting and sharable. This is how you begin to curate content specific to your target demographic without creating new content yourself. This works particularly well when interacting with influencers.

4. Influencers

Determine your influencers – every niche has Social Media leaders. The more you engage with them the more likely their large network will take an interest in connecting with you. Take a look at who is posting popular content related to your keywords and be sure to participate with them often. Interact on Twitter with people who have a large following that is similar to your target audience. Consider public figures in the media such as journalists, television personalities, and radio hosts.

Search each network for references to your organization – perhaps you have people already singing your praises. If you come across anything negative, use this as an opportunity to resolve issues.

5. Generate or Curate Content

Create unique podcasts, video, inspiration quotes, or other content that your audience will appreciate then use all your social networks to distribute this content. You know you’ve done something right when people share it. This is a great place to focus on what differentiates your business from others.

Become a great curator for your niche audience. Create lists, playlists, blog rolls, dailies, or newsletters that amalgamate the content from other sources that will interest your audience. Use relevant keywords in titles, tags and descriptors to help new audiences find you.

6. Hashtags & Trending Topics

You may have heard of Hashtags – they started on Twitter, and have now been integrated into all other social networks, and even our everyday language. A hashtag is a word or words strung together with a pound symbol (aka hash or number symbol) used in front of it to make it a searchable link. They can be used to search a particular topic or keyword, but have also become a way of making a meta-statement, like saying something under your breath. For example, if there is an election coming up, the discussion may be found under a hashtag such as #nlpoli. You can leverage the use of hashtags in your tweets to reach people who are not already following you and may be searching a particular hashtag or trending topic.

Trending topics indicate chatter that is happening throughout the world at any given moment, and can also be narrowed down to a specific region. Trending Topics can be harnessed to grab more attention for your brand. Using the election example, the tag #BCpoli might be trending in British Columbia during election day, along with the words “election day”. Using both the hashtag and the words “election day” will reach that particular audience.

Whenever it seems relevant, use a trending topic or hashtag in a tweet. Keep the tweet specific to your organization’s audience interests and this will attract more followers. Remember to always add value to the conversation.

7. Promote

This is the very last thing on the list because social networking is about building relationships, not advertising. Stick to promoting very specific things to loyal followers such as special events, offers, or contests. The ratio of sharing content vs. promotions should be at least 10 to one.

Promote events – whenever attending conferences or appearing “live” at public events, broadcasts, or hosting events, be sure to share it with your fans. Post content live from the event using the appropriate hashtags.

When your organization has specific offers, this can be promoted in a targeted campaign. For example you may want to offer special deals to anyone who “likes” your Facebook page.

4 Pillars of Sharable Content

  • Be Helpful

    Provide amazing tips to make life easier. Your audience is more likely to share content that they think their friends will find useful, as well.

  • Be Emotional

    Pull on heartstrings and tickle funny bones. This is why cute kittens and puppy dogs rule the Internet. Posts that elicit an emotional response will instantly create a personal connection. The fundamentals of building emotion are:

    • Positive feelings
    • Emotional complexity
    • Element of surprise
  • Create a Sense of Belonging

    Creating content that makes people feel like they belong to a special community or that they are “in” on an inside joke. The Internet has enabled groups of people with obscure interests from all over the world find each other and form communities, from Foodies to people who love particular TV shows or movies. By focusing on a niche topic, the community feels exclusive, even though it’s available to anyone in the world.

  • Be Awe Inspiring

    Bring a sense of wonder to someone’s day. People love to share stories that are bizarre, quirky, unbelievable, or even shocking.