Ready to grow your audience and humanize your brand? Then it’s time to get social.
Here, you’ll find:
- How to properly build your social media profiles
- Tips for keeping your social media plan organized
- Why cross-platform consistency is key
- Pro tips for optimizing your social presence
Nearly half of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — uses social media, according to Statista. And while these platforms were once mainly for personal profiles, brands have hopped on the bandwagon in a big way.
Though social media may not directly benefit your SEO, reports show the links you share across these platforms increase brand exposure. It’s also one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to reach your target audience.
But these days, merely having a business profile set up on the major social platforms isn’t enough. You’ve got to be mindful about how you present yourself on these apps if you want to stay competitive and maximize your opportunities.
Below, we’ve highlighted 7 best practices to ensure your business’s social media profiles are set up for success.
1. Keep your display names and images consistent
Having the same username on each of your profiles is one way to optimize your brand’s social media pages by making it easy for people to find you on these platforms. The trick here is to snag these profile display names before someone else does.
Particularly if your company name is also a common word or phrase, someone may already have created an account with your name. If this is the case, you have a few options.
- Reach out to the account holder and see if they’ll give or sell you the account name
- Add a word or your city to your account name across all profiles (such as @getzifty or @ziftyATL)
- If the account is inactive or the owner is impersonating your brand, reach out to the platform and see if they’ll release it to you
It’s also a good idea to have your company logo or mascot as your profile image across platforms. This way, people can easily recognize the page as yours.
Pro tip: When uploading cover and profile photos, make sure you know the required specs or sizes so your images won’t be blurry or pixelated. (Image requirements will vary by platform.)
2. Fill out your profile completely
Each social platform has its own unique profile setup and character limits. The key is to use all the available options at your disposal. This means building out your profile with things like a cover image (a background image that platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have), a brief bio about your business, and a URL linking back to your site.
Business profiles often have added features, like the ability to list a category for your Instagram page. Facebook lets you include your business category, phone number, “About” description, when your company was founded, and more.
Since LinkedIn is the most professional-focused social media platform, its profile features are arguably the most robust. It allows for most of the above, along with a fleshed-out company overview, company size, specialties, and even open job listings.
Fill out your profiles completely so that those who stumble upon your profiles can get as much context and info about your business as possible.
3. Take advantage of optimization features and tools
One product of social media platforms becoming increasingly leveraged by brands rather than just individuals is the added features and tools. While most of these offerings are available for business and personal profiles alike, they allow you to optimize your profiles and let you work smarter vs. harder.
For example, Instagram does have a “contact” button feature, but it only allows one active link on your profile. They also don’t allow you to hyperlink within captions or via Instagram Stories, meaning it can be difficult to effectively drive traffic to your site from this platform. Luckily, you still have options.
Consider creating an account with a tool like Linktree. This way, you can put the Linktree URL (creating an account is free) in your profile. Those who click the link will be taken to a mobile-friendly page with a list of links they can choose to click on. Here at HawkSEM, our Linktree often includes links to our latest blog, our homepage, and our industry newsletter signup form.
If you have at least 10,000 Instagram followers, you also have access to the “Swipe up” Stories feature, which does allow you to link to a web page from a posted Story. (Stories, as a refresher, are temporary posts that show up on your profile for 24 hours unless you save them as a Highlight on your profile page.)
Pro tip: Don’t stretch yourself thin by trying to be super active on all the social media platforms, especially if you’re a one-person team or manage other marketing channels. It’s good to create your profile, but focus more on the platforms that your audience seems to be on the most, or the ones on which you get the most engagement.
4. Keep an eye on analytics
One of the biggest benefits to business social media pages is the analytics these platforms gather.
Depending on which one you’re viewing analytics for, you can gauge things such as:
- how your posts are performing in terms of engagement, impressions, and clicks
- the rate at which you’re acquiring followers
- how your page’s performance stacks up against previous months or years
- which content types are resonating most with your followers
Using a free or paid scheduling tool (like Buffer, HubSpot, and Sprout Social, just to name a few) can offer even more analytics. Different account tiers will have different options, of course, but you may be able to see additional insights like what days and times your audience is most active on a particular platform, which can help you determine the best times to post.
Once you can see the type of content that your audience responds best to, you can plan to create more similar content. Which brings us to…
5. Create a content plan
Even if your job is purely to manage a business’s social media accounts, staying organized is key. That’s where creating a content plan comes in handy. This can be a brief overview or a granular day-by-day schedule, depending on your priorities, goals, and bandwidth.
At the least, this can help you track when you plan to post on each platform, and what type of content you’ll publish. The frequency is up to you — after all, it’s better to post when you actually have something valuable to say to your audience, rather than simply adding noise to someone’s timeline.
Pro tip: Posting the exact same content on each of your social media profiles may save time, but this can create a poor experience for those who follow you on multiple platforms. Instead, try to mix up the verbiage or images you use, even if you’re promoting the same thing on multiple apps.
6. Pay attention to competitors
It can be difficult to come up with unique content for multiple channels consistently. For this and other reasons, Hootsuite recommends keeping an eye on what your competitors are posting on social media.
You certainly don’t want to just copy their same posts, but you can use their content as inspiration that may help if you’re struggling with what to post. (You can also see what resonates most with their audience through things like comments and likes, as your target personas are likely similar.)
7. Don’t forget to be “social”
Social media shouldn’t be a one-way street. These apps are great places to let your company’s personality shine. One way to do that is by looking for creative ways to interact with and engage your followers.
You can publish fun polls on Twitter and Instagram Stories for followers to weigh in on. Plus, many of the popular platforms allow you to “go live,” or broadcast a video in real time. This could be great for sharing big company news or having a virtual chat with another industry pro.
Interacting can be as simple as following back those who follow you, “liking” posts others make about your brand, and responding to comments. Not only will it make your followers feel valued, but it’ll remind them that there are humans behind your business.
Whether you post multiple times a day or a few times a month, having a presence on the main social media platforms can be a great way to boost your business.
With just a bit of front-end planning when you’re building your social media profiles, you can have a strong foundation that’ll help you build your following and grow your reach with success.