Boy, do we have an article for you today!
We’ve spent some time putting together some top tips we think all small and medium-sized businesses should know when they’re starting their journey on social media and packaged them up into one ultra-long blog post for you to enjoy.
Bookmark this page if you don’t have time to read them all at once, and check back regularly for new content and ideas to take your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages to the next level.
Schedule content in advance. You never know what’s around the corner, and if you take on a new client overnight and fill out your diary from the next week, you’ll leave your followers without any fresh content, and your engagement levels will suffer as a result.
Use tools like Photoshop and Canva to create custom graphics with your company branding. It only takes a couple of minutes and means your channels will always look their best. You don’t need to pay hundreds of pounds for graphic design work in 2019!
Respond to people
Respond to every comment you get. Engagement is important on social media, and if your followers know they’ll get a response when they send you a message, they’ll be more likely to interact with your posts, whether asking questions or simply nattering on!
Don’t send automated DMs
Avoid automated direct messages. They’re against Twitter and Instagram’s rules and they’re spammy. People can see past your marketing messages and they’ll block you or report your posts, which could see you be shadowbanned on your account.
Take lots of photographs in the office. Going behind the scenes and showing off what’s going on is good fun, and people will be more likely to engage with your posts. Images also add personality to your page – not everything you do has to be stuffy and corporate.
Plan for events
Piggyback off cultural events. Whether it’s Christmas, a local gig or the finale of a big TV show, get involved and have some fun. Going off-topic gives people new ways to interact with you, and may even put you on the trending topics page and find you new followers.
Craft a biography
Write a cracking biography. Go back to the basics and add a couple of sentences that explain who you are and what you do. Don’t litter it with hashtags, and keep it to the point. People want to know who they’re talking to on social, so be clear and concise.
Think about your avatar
Double-check your avatar. Use a high-quality version of your company logo and ensure the entire logo is in the shot. Blurry images, or an image of your office or premises, won’t cut it. Only use an image of yourself if it’s a personal account (i.e. Jack at 99social).
Make sure your link works. Your profile page should include a link back to your company homepage. Don’t link them to Facebook or a special offer page; people want to be able to find your website and find out more information about your business before they buy.
Don’t be too promotional
Balance promotional content. Not every post on social media has to be selling your product or service. Incorporate promotional posts, but balance them by posting news about your industry, chatting during Twitter hours, and other non-promotional content.
Follow people back. On Twitter and Instagram especially, social media is all about building relationships. Even if you don’t think they’re going to turn into a customer, it’s courteous to follow them back and maintain a relationship with your followers.
Accept that you’re not always going to have time for social media. If you’re too busy, then schedule content in advance or consider outsourcing to a company that offers affordable social media management packages, like us here at 99social. Nice little plug.
Get people involved
Get the whole team involved in running your social media channels. Ask your staff to take it in turns to manage your accounts. They can each spend a day or two tweeting and Instagramming, and it takes the pressure off you.
The NHS does this brilliantly, getting a different doctor or nurse to manage their account for the week, which offers followers a unique insight into their roles and allows for huge levels of engagement.
Develop a mindset
Promote, promote, promote. Whenever you’re holding a cake sale in the office or you go out for a meal, take a picture to share on social media. The best companies on social post relevant, engaging content, and showing people what you’ve been up to works well.
Ask for retweets
Ask for a retweet. Okay, we’re not saying you should beg your followers every day, but if you’re trying to promote an upcoming event or want to spread the word about your business, the occasional request won’t harm. Research shows that using “Please RT” in your content increases retweets, but use it sparingly so you don’t look desperate.
Try Twitter hours
Take part in Twitter hours. These time-specific events time off hashtags, like #UKBizHour – and they’re great for boosting engagement and putting your business in front of new potential customers. If that fails, then they’re at least useful for networking.
Keep content short
Keep it short. You can write entire blog posts on Facebook and LinkedIn, and up to 280 characters on Twitter, but it makes sense to keep your content short. If it’s too long, people will simply scroll on to the next post and ignore anything you had to say.
Use GIFs. They’re good fun, they’re free to use, and they allow you to express yourself without having to type too much. If you’re feeling fancy, you can even create your own GIFs using images or video content, but remember the funnier they are, the better.
Choose the right username
Check your username. Your username on all social networking channels should be consistent, if possible, and it should properly reflect your company name. Avoid numbers at all costs – if your desired name isn’t available, add ‘UK’ or your town onto the end.
Think about branding. Ask your graphic designer for the right colour code to use on Twitter so everything looks consistent, and create an attractive-looking header image that’s on-brand and adds value to your page, but avoid including too much text.
Keep an eye on the news. It’s always good to share relevant content from your industry, even if it doesn’t relate to your business. Say you’re running a dog grooming company – news on fines for dog fouling or a story about a dog appearing on TV is a good shout.
Try user-generated content
Consider user-generated content. Ask your followers to send in selfies of them using your products and services, and you’ll have lots of great content to share on your channels. The best part is, it’s free and acts as social proof which will increase sales.
Be consistent. There’s little point in posting every hour one week, and then not posting at all for the next six weeks. Set a routine and post at least once per day on Twitter and Facebook, and at least once or twice per week on Instagram to boost brand awareness.
Ask questions. Social media is all about exactly that – being social! People want to engage and interact, so ask questions and run polls to get people talking. Provocative and controversial questions always go down well – but just try not to cause an argument.
Share blog posts
Share your blog posts. Content marketing is very important for positioning your brand as an authority, so if you’ve got lots of material to share, then tweet it out and ask people to share their thoughts. This will boost your readership and help you find new clients.
Don’t forget about LinkedIn. If you work in B2B, it’s one of the most effective social networks and helps you grow and develop your personal brand. It’s free to use, although paid options allow you to contact more people and make more introductions, so try it out.
Don’t overdo it
Don’t overdo it. Having a presence on too many social media channels means that you’ll be spreading yourself too thinly. You’re better off nailing Facebook and Twitter than trying to juggle Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr,, Snapchat, Reddit and Telegram.
Use RSS feeds
Set up RSS feeds that will automatically post out content on your behalf. It’s a great way to ensure your channels are kept up to date and that news stories and new blog posts are published immediately, but it can be risky and means new posts won’t be vetted first.
Focus on video content
Create more video. All social networks are pushing for more original video content, so get out your phone and film your work’s night out, the local fireworks display, and anything that’s going on in the office. Only with people’s permission first, of course!
Retweet other people’s content. Not everything you post has to be original, so if there’s something you think would be relevant to your potential audience, share it. What’s more, account you’re retweeting will be glad of the attention and may return the favour.
Ask for reviews
Ask your customers to review you on Facebook. Getting recommendations and reviews can help your page stand out from the competition and show potential customers that you offer a good service. Offer an incentive, like a discount code, to encourage reviews.
Share success stories
Share testimonials from your satisfied clients as social media posts. Create a custom graphic with their comments, or even film their feedback and upload your own videos.
Share news about your brand
If a newspaper or blog picks up a story about your business, share it. Links to industry news websites or newspaper clippings add value to your channels and help people see that you’re a key player in your niche. Public relations isn’t dead, so invest in good PR.
Follow new people. Following relevant accounts on social media, or people you think would be interested in buying your products or services will help you find new followers and potential customers. Don’t overdo it; automated following is against Twitter’s TOS.
Don’t over-do hashtags
Avoid overusing hashtags, particularly on Twitter and Facebook, as they look spammy and don’t actually offer much return. One or two hashtags at the end of your posts work best, so do your research and see which hashtags are generating the most attention.
Show off your work. Whether you’re a web designer or a florist, take pictures or some screenshots of your work and share it on social media. It’s a great way to show people your skills and get people involved in your business – and might even win you an order.
Share your wisdom
Share tips and tricks on your business. You’ll likely know more about your niche than anyone else, so spread your knowledge and post interesting facts and information.
Know when to stop
Know when to stop. Twitter, in particular, is great for having conversations or tweeting along during a live TV show, but it’s important that you don’t overdo it. Unless you’re reporting on a breaking news story or you’re attracting a lot of attention, don’t post more than once or twice an hour otherwise people will grow frustrated and may unfollow you.
Experiment with Facebook Ads to grow your audience. You might spend £100 on getting 100 new people to like your page, but if one or two of those turn into future customers, it pays for itself and is worthwhile. Consult blogs before starting to maximise your spend.
Season your profile. Whether it’s Easter, Christmas, or Halloween, add a temporary profile picture and banner image to your account to show off you’re excited about the upcoming occasion. It’s a great way to add some fun and personality to your account.
Develop your own hashtag. If you’ve got a large following and want to get people to talk about your brand, then create a hashtag and encourage others to tweet with it. It’s great for tracking customer feedback and it has the chance to start trending.
Get free credit
Claim free advertising credit. Twitter and Facebook both run regular promotions where you can get £30 of free advertising credit when you spend £10. A great way to get more bang for your buck and find potential customers who may be interested in your products.
Use services on Facebook
Add services to your Facebook page. It takes no time at all and allows you to showcase some of your most popular services. You can set these to link back through to your website, too, which will increase engagement and help you to find new customers.
Create an offer
Create an Offer on Facebook. Whether it’s a coupon code or a limited-time discount, it’s another great way to boost engagement and generate sales, with the ‘fear of missing out’ element encouraging people to buy from your website right there and then.
Add Events to Facebook. If you’re hosting an event for your business, whether it’s a charity gig or a networking event, create a Facebook Event so attendees can show their interest and spread the word. You can use your Event page post-event to capture email addresses and follow up with potential clients and business contacts.
Create Jobs on Facebook. Showing your customers that you’re hiring demonstrates the success of your business, and Facebook Jobs is the future of recruitment. The service is set to overtake traditional job board sites like Monster and Indeed in the coming years.
Add a company story
Add a Story on Facebook. You can write a couple of hundred words outlining your company’s journey, from day one to today. People who are really interested in your brand will be able to find out more and then head to your website to buy your products.
Add your phone number
Enter your phone number on Facebook and Instagram. That way, people can press the Call Now button and speak to a member of your team whenever they want, which will improve customer service and help new customers get answers to their questions.
Promote other networks
Add other accounts to your Facebook Page. You can add your Twitter username, Instagram account and more, which adds more legitimacy to your page and encourages people to find you on other social networks.
Use the right button
Add the right Button to your Facebook page. You can choose buttons like ‘Book Now’, ‘Contact Us’ and ‘Learn More’. These calls to action are powerful and allow you to push people to sign up to your service, calling your business, or buying your app.
Connect Facebook and Instagram
Connect your Facebook account to your Instagram account, so you can advertise on Instagram, and edit your account details without having to open your app. You can also let Facebook automatically post your Instagram snaps on Facebook if you want to.
Convert to business
Convert your Instagram profile to a Business profile. This allows you to add business information, like an email address, telephone number and business category, and find new customers. You can also advertise once you have converted to a business page.
Add featured likes to your Facebook page. Go to Settings and Featured, and choose up to five pages you’d like to show up in the sidebar. If you’re associated with other businesses or charities, this allows you to make that association more visible.
Promote your Messenger link. Every Facebook Page has a link to allow customers to send them a Facebook Message, but you can add to social media posts, emails, SMS messages or even your website or printed flyers. Our link is m.me/99socialUK.
Sign up for a personal LinkedIn account. It’s important to build your personal brand when trying to sell products or services online, and LinkedIn is the single most effective social media channel for selling to business owners and forming meaningful relationships.
Launch a company page
As well as a personal LinkedIn account, you should make a company page for your business, where you can share news about your organisation and allow people to follow and like your page and its contents. Keep this separate from your personal account.
Invite them all
Install the Invite All Friends on Facebook Google Chrome extension to give your business page on Facebook a jump start. Inviting all of your friends to like the page will result in more followers and likes, and a larger audience means more engagement.
Don’t get short
Avoid URL shorteners. They’re no longer necessary as social networks don’t count the number of characters in a link. Branded shorteners or linking to your website works best – people don’t want to click on strange URLs if they don’t know where they’ll end up.
Connect your social media handles to your WordPress blog through Jetpack, and new posts will automatically be sent to your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages. This will save you time and keep your followers in the loop whenever you post something new.
Pin important information to the top of your Twitter and Facebook pages. Announcements, new product releases, opening hours during the Christmas season, and more. Remember to unpin posts when they’re outdated or no longer relevant.
Find relevant hashtags for Instagram using sites like Hashtagify. Choosing hashtags that receive lots of attention means your posts are likely to show up to more people.
Follow hashtags on Instagram. As of 2018, you’re able to follow hashtags and have lots of relevant posts show up. If you work in construction, for example, follow #construction, and you can then like and comment on people’s posts which will grow your own account.
Brand, brand, brand
Add your branding to everything. Whether you’re sharing a selfie or an infographic, make sure it addons your company branding. This looks more professional and means that if anyone was to steal and repost your content, everyone will know you’re the author.
Add social media sharing icons on your blog posts and company website. This will give people more of an incentive to share your posts, sending more traffic to your website.
Search for your business on social media regularly so you can see what people are saying about you. If you’d prefer, you can set up alerts by using a service such as Mention, although manual searching is often enough and doesn’t cost you a penny.
Turn on notifications so you can respond to direct messages, inboxes and messages as soon as they come in. A quick response rates equal more engagement with followers.
Get to grips with keyboard shortcuts. They’re great if you’re always on social media and want to react to posts as quickly as possible. And they mean you don’t have to use your mouse as much. Full stop to update your timeline on Twitter and n to write a new tweet.
Experiment with live tweeting. During events or when you’re watching a big show on TV, live tweeting is great for reacting to things as and when they happen and keeping your followers in the loop with what’s going on. You can turn your tweets into a blog post at the end of the event, too, so it’s a win-win and gives you lots of quality material.
Add emoji 😜
Use emoji. It’s a great way to express yourself and add some fun and personality to your business, but don’t overdo it. One or two per social media post works best, otherwise, it just gets silly…
Post quotes. Motivation and inspirational quotes always go down well on social media, and they’re retweeted and shared more than most other things. Create your own on Canva with custom branding if you want to go the extra mile and be a true professional.
Develop a voice
Develop a brand voice. Know who you’re trying to be, and come up with a unique personality for your business. If you’re consistent in your style, people will come to know and expect a certain type of content from you on social media. If you have a haphazard approach or your account is run by a few people, it’ll be hard for people to connect.
Have a laugh
Be fun. Sharing memes and humorous content is important, as it allows you to let down your hair and have some fun. The occasional funny post will attract attention and give people a reason to keep following you. Source content from Reddit or industry forums.
Look back to the good old days
Reminisce. If you’ve worked in the same building for fifty years or you’re thinking about the good old days, share a few memories and some images from the archives.
Go on an unfollow spree. If you’ve been following thousands of people on your account, use a tool to unfollow those who don’t follow you back. It’ll allow you to follow new people and keep your timeline free from too much clutter.
Use Twitter lists. You can create lists of clients, industry news, leads, inspirational content and more, so even if you follow thousands of people, you’ll always be able to find the content that really matters to you.
Create multiple accounts for new offshoots of your business. It can be tempting to cover everything under one account, but if you’re launching a sub-brand or offer services that appeal to entirely different audiences, it makes sense to separate your social accounts.
Think about each network
Create content for each network. Posts on Twitter are usually more disposable, whereas on Facebook you need to get straight to the point, and on Instagram, image is everything.
Join Facebook groups. They’re good if you’re looking to find a highly concentrated audience. If you’re a personal trainer, for example, you might want to join a weight loss group where you can share your tips and show off your expertise in your industry.
Copy off your competitors. Of course, we’re not saying you should share the same content, but you can use their posts for ideas and inspiration. If something is working well, then copy the idea and create a better version of it for your own followers.
Steal your competitor’s followers. Use tools to follow people who follow your competitors, and you will quickly build up a base of people who are interested in your business. Your competitors won’t know you’re doing it, but you’ll benefit from their name and audience.
Enter social media competitions, like Theo Paphitis’ Small Business Sunday initiative, where every weekend, he picks a few businesses that deserve some attention on Twitter. It’s a good way to raise your profile and help you find new customers.
Vet everything you share. If it’s not relevant to your audience, helpful or entertaining, then it’s probably not worth sharing. It’s fine to use tools that ‘suggests’ content that you should post, but you need to think carefully about what you’re sharing before you do.
Read before you link
Check links to blog posts and websites before sharing. Don’t link to a competitors’ site, as your customers may choose to work with them instead, and don’t link to websites that are questionable or full of ads. Every news article you share is like a recommendation – only put your company name behind something if you’ve read it and think it’s useful!
Run A/B tests
Test content. A/B testing involves you posting similar content at the same time on the same day, but a week later. See which call to action or image performs better, and use the data to improve your content and sales strategy. It takes time, but it works.
Access Twitter Analytics. This free suite of tools allows you to see how much you’ve tweeted, how many impressions your tweets received, and how many profile visits you got. Compare and contrast with previous months to see what works and what doesn’t.
Repost content. If you create a graphic for social media, then don’t assume you can only share it once. Keep it safe on Google Drive and come back to it in a few month’s time. The chances are that only a small number of people will have seen your content, so there’s no reason why you can’t share it time and time again.
Build partnerships. For example, if you sell coffee and a contact makes coffee cups and mugs, then work together and cross-promote content to boost each other’s audiences.
Use influencer marketing
Try influencer marketing. Find people with a large following who might be interested in your products or services, and offer them a freebie in exchange for a review or social media post. It can be expensive and doesn’t always work, so take your time.
Retweet your own posts. If your content hasn’t performed as well as you’d have liked, retweet it time and time again to put it back into people’s timelines and get people talking.
Embed social media posts on your website. The lines between content marketing and social media continue to blur, and tools like paper.li allow you to embed content from YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more and create your own stories.
Add a button
Add a Facebook Messenger button to your website. Rather than paying for expensive live chat software, this button allows interested parties to start a conversation with you using their Messenger account, and keep it going even after they leave your website.
Tag people in your posts. Whether you’re attending a networking event or you have partnered with a company, include their business handle in your posts. They’ll likely share or retweet the content, and both of your businesses will benefit.
Become a team player
Add yourself as a Team Member on Facebook. If you run a small business and want people to see who’s involved, you can add yourself and show up in the sidebar of your Facebook Page. Note that this means anyone will be able to see your personal profile.
Choose the right business category on Facebook. It’s easy to end up in the wrong one, so go through the list and select a category that best suits your business. This will help when people come to search for businesses like yours in their area.
Experiment with Stories on Facebook and Instagram. These short stories last just 24 hours and allow you to show off what you’ve been getting up to, but remember that this is temporary content. Unless you have lots of free time, stick to traditional social posts.
Use If This, Then That. This tool allows you to create your own programs based on actions; you could add a program that will post your Instagram images to Twitter, for example, or post news articles from BBC News on the hospitality industry to your Facebook page. However, you should only use automation in small does.
Download apps like Apple Clips, Snapseed, TouchRetouch, Canva and Adobe Lightroom CC to your smartphone so you can edit images and video on the go to share on social media. These apps are all free to use and allow for more professional looking content.
Get Grammarly. This tool checks your spelling and grammar and ensures everything you publish makes sense. You can get the Google Chrome extension, or install Grammarly Keyboard for your iPhone. It’s a must-have if you want everything to make sense.
Let robots do the hard work
Try Captiona. This app suggests the perfect captions for Instagram and Snapchat posts based on artificial intelligence, but remember that robots aren’t always right. Double check your posts before you publish them to ensure they make sense and sound good.
Just do it!
Congratulations if you’ve made it this far! Our final tip is to just do it.
Don’t waste time, don’t think about making changes to your social media channels and don’t put off launching a Twitter or Instagram feed. If you want to boss social media and find new customers, you’ve got to put yourself out there and spread the word about your brand. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can grow your business, so don’t delay.
Phew. We did it. If you’re too busy to spend time worrying about your social media channels, then hand over the responsibility to someone who does. At 99social, we offer a range of social media packages from as little as £99 per month, to help you find new clients and get ahead of the competition. Get in touch to find out more, and check back soon for more social media tips.