• Marketing, Online Communities

10 social media best practices for 2021

by Khoros Staff | Jul 06, 2020

Over 49% of the world’s population uses some form of social media. That’s nearly 4 billion people.

By now, you’re probably aware that your brand should have a presence on social media. However, the steps needed to assert or improve that presence may be unclear. Without a firm strategy backed up by real data, you aren’t going to see the results you want.

If you’re ready to do better, these ten best practices in social media marketing will put you on the path to making social media deliver greater business value for your brand in 2021.

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1. Research your customers

Knowing your customers is one of the most important foundational steps for any marketing campaign. Social media gives us the power to cultivate a massive collection of customer data that we can use to guide business decisions and marketing strategies.

Based on Gartner’s research, only one percent of companies who regularly tap into their stores of social media and legacy customer data, actually use it to its full potential.

When we truly know more about the wants, needs, and expectations of customers, we can anticipate them in real-time. We can also change the very nature of customer service and fundamentally reshape the sales funnel, thus also shifting the way customers view our brands.

2. Conduct a competitor audit

When putting together any kind of business strategy, it’s always a good idea to take a look into what your competitors are doing. This is the same for social media strategy. Social media’s accessibility and availability make it especially easy to find, track, and analyze competitors, versus traditional marketing and media mediums.

While planning your brand’s social media strategy, look to your competitors for insights into what kind of content is being published and what performs well (and doesn’t). This will give you a head start on optimizing your campaigns and increase the likelihood that your brand will be successful on social media.

For instance, if your competitor is running ads on Facebook, you can take educated guesses about which demographics they’re targeting, how much they’re spending, and whether they’re using video or other media to capture specific audiences.

3. Establish and maintain your brand’s voice

Your social media accounts are an extension of your brand and should, therefore, align with your other forms of brand messaging. Maintaining a consistent voice helps your brand be recognizable among competitors and stay true to its values.

If your brand hasn’t defined its voice, it’s a good idea to lay out some guidelines for your team. Consider why your brand exists, what it values, how you want to describe your brand, and how you want customers to feel when interacting with your brand.

You can even use your customer and competitor research to help determine which sort of brand voice will resonate with your target audience. Use any personas that you generated from customer research to find a voice that speaks to those customers. You can do competitor research to see how they approach brand voice, and then decide if you want to improve upon that strategy or go in a different direction.

4. Choose the right time and amount to post

Are you still guessing when’s the best time to reach the most people on social? Stop guessing and start using data to tell you when and how much to post instead. Leverage social marketing analytics to better understand the performance of your content based on time of day, frequency, geography, and more. Then you can use the insights to adapt your social publishing strategy for optimal performance.

This is another great opportunity to use your competitor and customer research to inform your marketing strategy. Ask some basic questions:

  • When are my competitors posting content?

  • How well does it seem to be working for them?

  • How would a different cadence perform?

Similarly, by tracking how your audience reacts to the timing of your posts, you can refine your cadence to take advantage of the most opportune posting times.

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5. Use tools to plan and automate tasks

Tools and automation let you focus on the most important tasks, instead of getting bogged down with repetitive, menial jobs. Enlist the help of tools to make your day-to-day job easier and more efficient, and eliminate or automate inefficient tasks where possible. For example, social media listening tools are invaluable for planning and creating content that your audience is interested in, and chatbots can be used to quickly respond to customer inquiries. Most brands also use a scheduler to post content when and on what social media channels they want.

6. Respond to customers promptly

Speed is crucial to maintaining a happy customer base. Customers have high expectations for a quick response: half of social media users expect a brand to respond to their tweet demand a response within three hours. Brands who fail to meet this expectation risk losing customers. About 30% of customers said they would stop giving a brand their business and express their dissatisfaction both on social media and to friends and family.

Not surprisingly, over 40% of customers who reach out to brands on social media are more likely to buy and encourage their friends and families to buy from companies who provide them with a timely response.

Learn more about the consumer expectations for social media customer service in our new report or how chatbots can seamlessly automate aspects of your social media customer service.

7. Tap into subject matter experts at your organization

There is simply no better way to get expert assistance for social agents who often do not know the answer to a customer question than to appeal to the experts within your own organization. Don’t be afraid to tap into subject matter experts across all departments to assist with customer issues; this will ultimately drive higher customer satisfaction ratings.

8. Share customer feedback — especially when it’s positive

When your customers experience satisfactory resolution to specific issues, and in particular those using social channels, ask that customer if you can share those conversations or if they would like to leave a review. Not just on your social channels, but internally as well. Building internal excitement and encouraging a collaborative approach to social participation can transform your employees into brand advocates.

If you have an online brand community, use Community Syndication to place positive customer reviews anywhere they need to go. (And if you don’t have an online brand community, consider how adding one might improve your bottom line.)

9. Build a relationship with your customers

74% of younger people (gen Z and millennials) don’t like being targeted by brands on social media. Building trust with these generations involves a two-way dialogue, with sources such as blogs and online communities carrying far more credibility than traditional advertising. Younger users are much more resistant to being pitched at or sold to. They want an experience that feels organic and authentic. The best way to build trust is to talk with, not at your customers. That way, you can build a network of trusted stakeholders around your brand.

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10. Measure results to better optimize campaigns

Social media managers can neither prove their value nor optimize their efforts without hard data. Use a social marketing tool that helps you both measure and optimize your social programs. This works in the same way that companies have long measured and optimized search, email, and other proven digital channels.

Challenge yourself to measure the social media impact on your business. This will give you executive-level support to secure a budget for resources like technology tools and team personnel, and it will ultimately prove that you’re adding value.

Remember: Be ready to alter your strategy if needed

A well-thought-out strategy is great. However, sometimes things happen during the implementation of those strategies that we don’t expect. In these times, it’s important to be adaptable so that you may alter your strategy and respond to the situation at hand.

This can help humanize your brand in the eyes of consumers and show that you are not out of touch.

Get the social media support you need with Khoros

If you’re ready to use social media to make a positive impact on your brand in 2021, you’re in the right place. Our suite of products makes it simple for both marketing and customer care teams to get the insights and support tools they need to drive success. Schedule a demo today.

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For more information on best practices in social media marketing, read our Social Media Pocket Guide.

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