It is no secret that social media use is at an all-time high today: in early 2015, more than half of all Americans were reported to have a Facebook account and 54 percent of all Facebook users commonly access the site on a mobile device. With this uptick in personal social media use, it was only a matter of time before organizations started utilizing these vast tools to reach their target audiences; a recent study revealed that 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies are active on Facebook and Twitter.
While many organizations use social media pages, not all are successful in engaging their users. To ensure that your business is making the most of social media, follow these three best practices for professional social media use:
- Use social media analytics to understand your target audience: Most social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, have built-in analytical tools to help you understand your audience. You will be able to gauge many demographic features of the users who follow your page, such as their ages, locations, and common login times. Once you understand the characteristics of your audience, you must translate that knowledge into strategies that will allow you to reach them effectively. For example, if I’m based on the East Coast, but determine that the majority of my audience lives on the West Coast, I will mostly likely refrain from publishing any content before 11 a.m. Eastern time—I won’t be able to effectively reach users while they are asleep.
- Maintain a consistent identity and schedule: Once you gain a solid understanding of when your audience is typically online, develop a concrete schedule to follow every day. Spread posts out at least two hours from each other so that users are not overloaded with information and so that each unique post has enough time to draw users’ interest before another post diverts that interest away. If you are posting content to multiple sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, attempt to schedule posts so that each page publishes the same content at the same time, which will allow you to maintain a consistent identity across all platforms.
- Post helpful and shareable content: This may seem obvious, but you always need to remember that people follow your pages for a reason. Always make sure to give users what they want by posting content that will be helpful to their everyday lives and also relevant to your industry. If users believe that your content is useful, engaging, and relevant, they are more likely to share your posts on their personal pages, thus allowing more users to see your posts and possibly follow your page as well. If you repeatedly post drab content that is neither relevant nor engaging to the users who follow your page, not only will they refrain from sharing your content, but it’s a good bet that they may eventually get bored of seeing your posts in their news feeds and ultimately unfollow your page.