Best practices for social media

Social media is an ever-increasing phenomenon and everyone is trying their hardest to jump on the bandwagon and prove to the next person that they  are socially active online, but simply setting up a profile page on Facebook or tweeting daily does not mean you’ll win the prize for being a social media guru. You need to put a lot more time and effort into it.

Two of the most high profile areas where you can start to interact socially and build up new contacts are Facebook and Twitter. If you’re going to sign up to these popular sites it’s important to follow some simple guidelines to make sure that the progress you make is valuable.

Let’s start with Facebook; one of the biggest mistakes people make when setting up their own page on Facebook is that they behave like a brand and not a person. If you’re setting up a company profile page then use it like you would a personal account. Regularly update your page with fresh images and content, and frequently engage with other pages as a two-way channel will ensure you generate the most sustained engagement.

Signing up to Facebook analytics is the key to increasing the level of engagement around the activity that you’re providing. Tools like this allow you to look at the types of posts that people are interested in and which ones generate the most activity, so you can look to repeat these activities in the future. For example, competitions can prove highly popular on Facebook if given the right amount of attention to detail.

Facebook is like any other social media platform in that conversations are important, so your strategy should reflect this and you should allow as much as possible for your users to communicate freely with you via posts, comments and ‘likes’.

Finally, make sure that you use all the resources possible to make your Facebook page as engaging as possible. It’s not enough to write a few wall posts and hope someone responds, you need to be actively creating discussion boards, and making sure that your content is relevant and appears in the right sections of your page. Make sure your content reaches your friend’s newsfeeds and use as many different methods of posting as you can, so not just status updates.

Now we move on to Twitter, where the initial principles I’ve discussed above are the same. Treat your page like a person and make sure that you have as many two-way conversations as you can as this is one of the key areas in which you can engage with your followers and build up a personality. You must be willing to interact personally with at least a proportion of your followers through Direct Messages and @replies.

Make sure you acknowledge anyone who has mentioned your brand or campaign on Twitter by using TwitterSearch and then following them. The chances are they will appreciate the follow and follow you back. The higher the presence you have in Twitter feeds, the further engagement and reach you’ll create for your brand.

Setting up an account in or Hootsuite is a way to generate smaller URLs for your content leaving you with more characters in your tweet. You can then use the analytics areas of these useful accounts to track and make note of which content is more popular.

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