Amy Trueblood

Marketing Problem Solver

Category: Marketing

Top 10 Social Media Best Practices

No matter the social media platforms your brand is on, you can pull from these best practices to optimize your social media plan. These work for any social media strategy too: gaining followers, increasing conversions, boosting brand engagement, raising outreach and advocates.

1. 100% Complete Social Media Profile

For any given social media platform, you should make sure your profile is always 100% complete. Once you set up a profile, however, changes may be made that you’ll need to act on. For one of my clients, they had a complete profile until the website decided that reviews were a part of the profile. In order to have a 100% complete profile, each user needed at least 3 customer reviews. This meant we had to request reviews in order to complete the profile. In addition, you may have made changes to telephone numbers or locations, and should always make sure your social media profiles are completely up to date. When your profile is complete and up to date, other users will be more likely to interact with you and trust the information you are posting.

2. Always include a pic

As you scroll through Facebook or Twitter, do you ever notice that you will take the time to read a post if it includes a picture? Images grab a person’s attention, and for some social media websites like Pinterest, an image is always required to share a post. Don’t waste your time tweeting and posting text only. If you don’t include an image, it most likely won’t be read and will blend into the user’s newsfeed. Sendible Insights has an article on thePower of Images in Social Media with some great stats on including images in posts.

3. Put links, mentions and hashtags last

Posts can be comprised of a number of bits of information: a summary of what you want to say, a call to action, a link, a mention and hashtags are the most common. The order you put them in matters for social media users. This is the optimum way to organize a post and ensure it both grabs attention and causes people to take action. The reason I put links, mentions and hashtags last is simple: people who are mentioned or are searching for such hashtags will find your post. However, for those who see your post in their news feed, it needs to stand out with a short summary and call to action.

Formula for Attention Grabbing Post

4. Post at peak times

Media Bistro recently had an infographic all about when the best times to post on social media are. One thing to consider is the time zone you are in versus where your audience is. As a rule of thumb, post very early in the day and after lunch time. People tend to check their news feeds while getting ready in the morning and also after lunch. I like to test out when the most action is taken for each client of mine and post during those times though.

5. Stay consistently active

Don’t forget that you are a part of a social community. You shouldn’t be just posting content, it is important to interact with people too. For my clients, I try to keep track of keyword mentions in different social media networks. This lets me get involved in conversations and help answer questions in real time. When I have time, I just scroll through the feed and pick out the people I want to respond to.

6. Use automation to schedule posts

There are numerous online services that allow you to schedule posts on various social media websites. I do use this, but still search for news and articles about relevant topics every day for clients. There is nothing like sharing breaking news and getting a great response instead of just relying on scheduled content that may not be relevant by the time it is posted.

7. Don’t rely on automation for notifications

One of my co-workers was working with an automation service and she found out that it had stopped notifying her of mentions and messages across all her clients and all her social networks. This really made me feel that automation for these important interactions may not be best. If you do use automation, and have a quiet day, it may pay off to log in and double check that no one is trying to get ahold of you.

8. Gather benchmark data

Any time I start with a new brand, I always gather benchmark data. These include the number of posts, followers, reach, etc for each of the social media networks. I do this so I can see where the brand started at. Once you have your benchmarks set up, it is important to check your metrics and track them over time. There are services like SumAllthat will do this for you too. By comparing your data, you should be able to make sure you aren’t losing followers, are gaining popularity and making progress.

9. Use a URL Shortening Service

Tracking conversions is important for people working in social media. One way marketers can help to track click-thoughs is by using a URL shortening service like Hootsuite orGoogle. There are many different platforms out there that essentially do the same thing, but you’ll want to make sure there is any easy way for you to see if people are clicking on your content and what your most popular links shared are. This information can then be used to further optimize your social media efforts.

10. Thank people who follow you and re-post content

This point goes back to being a good member of a community. As a brand on a social media website, it is important to thank people who interact with you and show an interest in what you are doing. They are giving you free PR and the least you can do is say thanks.

There you have it! All top 10 social media best practices. What do you think? Are there other really important best practices missing from the top 10?

Creepy Kids in Creepy Vintage Ads – WaitButWhy.com

I recently read an article on WaitButWhy.com about how creepy kids looked in vintage ads(pre-1960s). Then while flipping through my Midwestern Living magazine over the weekend, I see a nice illustrated ad of a family washing the car and having fun. I start to turn the page when my eye is caught by the little boy.

Belgard Hardscapes Ad Full

He’s not just a little boy though, he’s a creepy little kid, just like the ones from the advertisements on the WaitButWhy.com article! He is way too excited about shining the tires and his mom getting squirted with water. Way too excited…

Creepy Kid Face

If the marketing firm intended to catch my attention, this advertisement did. It made me stare at the kid for a while (without being able to look away) and then ask what the heck the ad was for. I hope this doesn’t mean we have a creepy kids in print advertisements revival. The other Belgard Hardscapes ads do not contain creepy looking children. Has anyone else spotted creepy kids in recent/modern advertisements?

Free 2014 and 2015 Date Drop Down Menu

While programming a form a few weeks ago, I tried searching for code that I could use to have someone select a date from one field instead of having to make the date three fields (month, day, year). To my surprise, all of my usual sources didn’t have this code available to just copy and paste. I tried a Google search, I tried a Bing search, but in the end, I had to create my own drop down field with 2014 and 2015 dates. I hope this helps out any other programmers who would like to have a date included in a drop down menu. If you need to update for 2016, just do a simple find and replace in notepad (ctrl +h on windows) and change all 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016.

Sample drop down field with dates in 2014 and 2015

Search the Term ‘Lady’ on Shutterstock

I am working on a marketing project in which I was looking for a little cartoon lady. I wanted someone who was dressed a little fancy but still professional to illustrate a point I was making about celebrity themed award programs. I opened up Chrome, searched the term lady…and was stunned at what came up. In all the years I have used Shutterstock, I must say they tend to have close to what I want and I can usually edit it to get a vector or image exactly the way I envisioned. These search results were anything but what I wanted though. It made me feel like if you are a woman in the United States and someone calls you a lady, you are either symbol of justice, a house keeper, an elderly person, an insect or an uptight Victorian-era impersonator. I don’t like any of these choices and I don’t fit into any of these categories myself.

Lady Pictures on Shutterstock

Where are all the professional looking women with their nails done, hair done and coordinating outfit and accessories? The women who can afford their own way and are both book and street smart? Where are the stock photos of women all done up for a night on the town? Where’s the two dogs eating the same strand of spaghetti? If any one of these images would have popped up, I could possibly accept all the other results I saw.

In the end, drew my own vector and put ladies’ clothing on her. (I really love all the paper dolls they have on Shutterstock, wish I could have had those when I was a kid!) Sure everything worked out, but I still feel like grumbling about what these image search results say about our society. I realize Shutterstock only posts what artists draw and what is in demand, so I cannot put all the blame on them, but rather on people like me. So come on marketing professionals, why can’t we start using more ladies in our materials-women who reflect the polished image we project every week day?

Ladies and Gents

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