Social media can be a tricky game. If you’ve been chasing tips and following every “best practice” that you come across, you may be led down a rabbit hole that leaves you unsuccessful. While it is a good thing to be constantly researching trends, changes and best practices for your social media marketing, there is some incorrect and outdated information floating around out there. At best, these flaky social media tips will get you zero results, and at worst they could hurt your social performance and business. We’re setting the record straight in this blog about the real best and worst practices in social media marketing.
MYTH #1: Only post once a week
Many people are afraid to post more than once a week because they fear being spammy. They don’t want to clutter the newsfeed or cause people to unfollow them. Is it bad to post daily, or even - gasp! Several times per day? We often get asked this question - how much is too much?
The truth is: many businesses don’t post enough on social media. As long as your posts are quality content that your followers would enjoy, then if you have the ability to post more than a few times a week, by all means- do it! You should determine your post frequency by this simple criteria: are your images, video and written content high quality and of value to your audience? Yes? Then post it. Never post something that you know isn’t quality content. Quality over quantity is always the rule you should live by, and if you have the bandwidth to produce a lot of great content, get it out there.
MYTH #2: Social media is too informal for business
Social media has given us all the ability to share whatever we want, whenever we want. We post things like what we ate for brunch and a viral video of a kid yodeling in Walmart. But social media is so much more than silly content like this. It’s a tool used to reach every demographic and it has transformed business communications and advertising. The content you post to social media should always keep your goals and your target audience in mind, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also publish content that shows your brand’s personality. Even if you are a B2B company selling SAAS technology, there’s room for fun posts about people that work at your company, content that you find interesting and even some humor!
Check out this tweet from Delta:
Delta Airlines had no fear to push the envelope and Tweet something that’s utterly goofy- and it paid off. Their followers loved it, retweeting it over 400 times. Your followers want to see behind-the-scenes, informative and even funny content that you can give them. Selling a relationship is more important than trying to sell a product. You want to gain the trust of your audience and create a relationship that not only sells your product or service- but keeps you relevant, top of mind and keeps them coming back.
MYTH #3: You must be on every social network
Not all social networks are suited for your specific business or industry. Before you jump into social media, do your research. Find out where your target audience is hanging out online. If they aren’t on Instagram, then you don’t need to be either! Don’t waste your time creating and posting content in places that your target audience won’t see. In addition to this, if you create more social accounts that you can properly manage and participate on, you’ll do yourself more harm than good. Don’t come to the party if you don’t want to socialize.
If your audience is mainly on Facebook and LinkedIn, focus your creativity there and create content that your audience finds useful and interesting. This goes back to our golden rule: quality over quantity. Mastering social media for business is all about thinking smarter, not harder.
MYTH #4: Use all the hashtags!
The world is split into two groups of people, those who #love hashtags and those who do not. There is no in between. When used incorrectly, hashtags can hurt your engagement. It’s important on Instagram, you use as many relevant hashtags as possible. But first be sure to do your research on hashtags. We love the hashtag analytics tool in Iconosquare to track and learn more about hashtags. It can tell you how certain hashtags perform on Instagram, how much media has been posted using that hashtag, how much engagement those posts got and so much more.
Another simple way to research your hashtags is to simply search a keyword that you’re thinking about hashtagging in a post. Is it widely used? What are some other hashtags that people accompany the one you have in mind? You can find these answers and get inspired with more hashtags to use, or not to use.
If you are using a lot of hashtags on a post, we recommend that you hide them below the “see more” button on your post. You can do this by adding three bullet points directly after your post copy, so that your post doesn't end up looking spammy with 20 hashtags. Here’s an example:
MYTH #5: Content marketing and social media are separate efforts
Social media is an incredible tool to propel the content you create and should be a key component of your content strategy. You should be using social media to share your content with your target audience. After all, what the value of content that sits unseen? Don't be fooled by this social media myth.
Social media is the fuel that can help drive your content marketing strategies. When followers are reading and engaging with your posts, your inbound marketing tactics are rewarded. First you need to create useful content that attracts prospects and brings in leads. The next step is promoting that content so that prospects can find it. Social media is one of the best way to do this. You are able to reach audiences that you would have never been able to with only email or search engine optimization.
MYTH #6: Social media is only for millenials
People of all ages inhabit social media today. The perception that many people have is that social media is only for millennials, and grandma should probably just stick to knitting- think again. According to Hubspot, 40% of Facebook's active users are over age 35 and 52% of 55-64 year old internet users have joined a social network. If your target audience hits any part of this demographic, you should be appealing to them on social media! Find out what networks they are on most often, the type of content that they enjoy and get after it.
MYTH #7: Social media is free marketing
Social media is free to use, but social media marketing is not always free - that's a myth. Lately, Facebook has even put a greater restriction on who sees your business’ content and how often they see it. So even if you’re posting the most interesting content that the world has ever seen, it doesn’t mean that it will be seen by your followers. The current algorithms require that you invest in paid advertising to get your content seen. Social media platforms have to make money to keep doing what they do, and they do that by charging businesses money in order to reach their desired audience. In order to stay competitive and get your amazing content seen, you have to be willing to cash out for it. Luckily for you, Facebook ads are the cheapest way to advertise right now. If you do it well, you can get views for as low as .01/cent per view. We’d say that’s pretty worth it.
MYTH #8: One person can do it all
Just like your larger marketing campaigns, social media should be a team effort. Yes, there should be one person who has accountability over social media marketing, but your entire team should contribute ideas, critique content, and offer inspiration so that your social media shows a well-rounded view of your company.
At LimeLight, we like to get input from our graphic designers, sales expert, and even our project manager to bring our followers useful information on how to create a successful business through content marketing.
The truth is, you need to leverage video in your social media content. The more video you share, the more success you will find on social media. Video captures your audience’s eye more than a still image and it’s the simplest way to feed them information by showing them visually how you can solve a problem that they are facing. You have the ability to connect to your viewer in an emotional way. When they’ve connected with your company and your product, you’ve won. Facebook videos get over 8 billion video views each day. You deserve a portion of those!