It’s no secret that social media is essential to inbound marketing. In addition to blogging and ranking for SEO, many businesses share their content across social channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. This means of self-promotion allows companies to reach a wider audience and generally costs less than traditional formats. As a result, they often succeed in attracting visitors who will ideally become leads later.
It sounds simple enough, but not everyone uses social media to their advantage. Certain standards and norms exist to help optimize your channels—a basic etiquette, if you will, to help guide the most appropriate behavior for each platform.
While you should continue to generate new content, share ideas, and engage with followers, you should also keep these tips for social media etiquette in mind. The more familiar you are with them, the more likely you’ll be to attract a larger following.
1. Know the Purpose of Your Platform
The phrase “sisters, not twins” applies to more than just your eyebrows, my friends. Although all social platforms have the same general purpose—to create connections and communicate ideas—each channel was developed with its own individual purpose as well. It’s in your company’s best interest, then, to treat each social platform as its own entity when sharing new content.
For example, Facebook was originally designed to strengthen relationships and build digital connections. As a result, it’s widely regarded as a casual social platform, and so generally promotes more natural interactions between two parties (i.e. sharing photos of your company). In comparison, Twitter is much more fast-paced, thus allowing for rapid communication and news exchange (i.e. answering client questions and delivering hourly status updates).
While you could post hourly updates to Facebook, chances are that you would ruffle some feathers—because, quite frankly, people don’t like disrupted patterns. Instead, know the purpose of each platform before sharing your content. This will not only optimize your individual social channels by helping you to decide where your content is most appropriate, but it will also keep your audience delighted.
2. Post Photos When You Can
With over 2,100 posts uploaded per second, Instagram is the leading social channel used among millennials—with good reason. By inviting users to browse through thousands of images, Instagram overwhelmingly appeals to a visual audience. As a result, users enjoy creative content firsthand, exploring new brands and products at the touch of their fingertips.
The success of this tactic has been measured across other social platforms as well. According to HubSpot, almost every other social network has increased its visual content over the last year, because posts with images tend to receive more clicks. For example, tweets with pictures attached earn 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets—which is a dramatic increase.
So what’s the point of all of this? To put it simply, people like pictures, and it pays to post them when you can. While you obviously should not saturate your channel with random images, do remember the 80/20 rule and keep the majority of your posts entertaining or informative with relevant images.
3. Be Familiar with Your Frequency (of Everything)
As I said before, it’s best to treat your social channels individually. Although a four-line status might encourage friends to read your post on Facebook, it won’t perform the same way on Twitter (I mean, you only get 140 characters). The same holds true for your posting frequency; even though some sites like MOZ or SocialBro might suggest tweeting 9 times a day, doing the same on Facebook or Instagram will quickly clog your subscribers’ newsfeeds and diminish your following.
In this case, use your best judgment. Refer to some analytics tools, such as Iconosquare, to determine the optimum times for uploading a photo to Instagram, but don’t post six photos in the span of an hour (seriously, no one likes those accounts). Likewise, try to be sparing with your hashtags. Use a few if they’re relevant, but don’t attach 20 different ones that essentially say the same thing over and over again.
I could go on, but I’m sure you get the gist. As with any social interaction—in person or online—there are simple guidelines to follow that can ultimately benefit your business.