Best Practices to Use Social Media in Online Marketing for Your Brand

Is social media part of your online marketing for your brand? There are many reasons it should be. Most Americans use one or more social channels, so it is a great way to connect with your audience. Further, the cost to use social channels offer some of the best marketing ROI.

Success takes more than signing up. Many small businesses struggle to achieve marketing success on social media. You need an intentional strategy that follows best practices.

How to Use Social Media in Online Marketing

Have a Social Media Marketing Plan

Define your goals and the platforms that are best suited to help you achieve them. Further, define exactly what you need to do on each channel you select.

Pick the Best Social Media Channels

You do not need to be everywhere on social media. I repeat, don’t sign up for every channel you hear about. Use only the channels that your target customer uses. How do you know? Pew has some great national data on social media use. You can also start by asking customers and others who represent your target audience what they use.

Focus on Building the Right Social Communities

Don’t focus on amassing the most followers, focus on connecting with the right followers. You want to use social media to connect with your target audience. Know who your target is and focus on making those connections. Quality trumps quantity every time.

Pay Attention to the Competition

Watching what your competitors do on social media isn’t unethical. It’s smart. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. Create value by giving your social communities the best value by using best practices you glean as well as ideas unique to your brand.

Listen as Much (or More) than You “Talk”

Social media should be, well, social! That means a two way interaction. Your posts are the equivalent to your part of the conversation. Engagement from your community in the forms of comments, posts, and reactions are their part. Make sure you invite a balance! No one likes people (or brands) who only talk about themselves and doesn’t let others share.

Measure Social Media Marketing Often

Take time to measure the effectiveness of your social media efforts. Your great ideas may be getting you to your goal or they may be falling flat. You won’t know unless you take time to assess. Pay attention to short term data, like the interactions on your most recent post, as well as longer term trends. Don’t be afraid to change your plan to make the most of what’s working!

12 Hacks to Improve Your Life on Instagram

Whether you are using Instagram for your brand or personally, here are some ideas to help you get the most from your time on the platform. Enjoy these 12 hacks to improve your life on Instagram.

  1. Rearrange the order of your filters. You can put your most-used filters up front for faster posting.
    >>When posting a photo or video, go to Filter.
    >>Scroll to the end of your filters and tap Manage.
    >>Press and hold the three line icon next to each filter on the left-hand side of the screen to rearrange the order of your filters.
    >>Check or uncheck the circles next to each filter on the right-hand side of the screen to hide or unhide filters.
    >>Click Done to save your settings.
  2. See all the posts you’ve liked.
    >>Go to your profile.
    >>Open the hamburger menu in the top right corner.
    >>Tap Settings.
    >>Tap Account.
    >>Tap Posts You’ve Liked.
  3. Stop seeing posts and/or Stories from specific accounts you follow. Here’s how to mute annoying users without the risk of offending them with an unfollow.
    >>Tap the … icon in the corner of a post from the account you want to mute.
    >>Click mute, and choose whether to mute posts, or mute posts and Stories from the account.
  4. Get notifications when your favorite users post new content. To make sure you don’t miss a post from your favorite people and brands:
    >>Visit the the profile page of the account you’d like to get notifications for.
    >>Tap the three dots icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
    >>Select Turn on Post Notifications.
  5. Add and manage multiple accounts. You can add up to 5 accounts under the same email address on Instagram. And you don’t need to log in and out to switch between accounts.
    >>Go to your profile and tap the hamburger menu.
    >>Tap Settings.
    >>Scroll to the bottom and tap Add Account.
    >>Enter the username and password of the account you’d like to add. To switch between accounts you’ve added:
    >>Go to your profile.
    >>Tap your username at the top of the screen.
    >>Tap the account you’d like to switch to.
  6. Delete comments. Whether you need to hide an offensive or inaccurate comment or erase a typo, deleting comments is easy. To delete your own comment:
    >>Tap the speech bubble icon beneath the post you commented on.
    >>Find the comment you’d like to delete.
    >>Swipe to the left over the comment.
    >>Tap the trash can icon.To delete another user’s comment on your post:
    >>Tap the speech bubble icon beneath the post containing the comment you’d like to delete.
    >>Swipe to the left over the comment.
    >>A partial swipe will bring up a trio of options, allowing you to reply, flag or delete a comment.
    >>Tap the trash can icon—or continue swiping to the left—to delete the comment.
  7. Filter and block comments based on keywords. Comment controls allow you to filter and block comments containing specific keywords.
    >>Go to your profile and tap the hamburger menu.
    >>Tap Settings.
    >>Tap Privacy and Security.
    >>Tap Comment Controls.
    >>Make sure that Hide Offensive Comments is turned on.
    >>Tap next to Manual Filter to turn it on.
    >>Enter specific words, phrases, numbers or emoji in the text box to filter out comments.
    When you turn on comment filtering, it’s applied to both new and existing comments on your posts. When you turn off comment filtering, filtered comments on your posts will be restored.
  8. Turn off comments on a particular post. 
    >>Begin posting a photo or video as usual.
    >>When you reach the screen where you add a caption, location, and other tags, select Advanced Settings.
    >>Toggle the Turn Off Commenting option on. You can change this setting even after a post has been published by going to the post, tapping the three dot icon above it, and selecting Turn On Commenting. You can also turn off comments on a previously published post by following these same steps.
  9. Save and organize posts where only you can see them.
    >>Go to a post you’d like to save.
    >>Tap the bookmark icon underneath the post you want to save.
    >>Add the post to an existing collection or tap the + icon to create and name a new one. To see your saved posts and collections, visit your profile and tap the hamburger menu, then tap Saved.
  10. Remove old posts from your profile without deleting them with Instagram’s archive feature.
    >>Tap … at the top of the post you want to remove.
    >>Select Archive.
    >>Tap the Archive icon in the top right corner of your profile to review all archived posts. To restore content to your public profile, simply tap Show on Profile at any time and it’ll show up in its original spot.
  11. Zoom in on a post.
    >>Go to the post you’d like to zoom in on.
    >>Pinch using two fingers and slowly then pull them farther apart.
  12. Customize which notifications you receive.
    >>Go to your profile and tap the hamburger menu.
    >>Tap Your Activity.
    >>Tap Notification Settings.
    >>Click into each notification category to opt out of specific notifications. Go to Pause All and toggle on to pause all notifications.

Cutting Through the Google Analytics Data Clutter

Google continues to add complexity to the Google Analytics tool. It is great to be able to take a deep dive, but Google Analytics data can also be overwhelming. Here’s a guide to getting the insight from analytics that you most often need.

Page Level Analysis

Google analytics data can tell you how popular a page is and if it’s worth the effort to spend time and resources on the page. Go to the All pages report in Google Analytics: Behavior> Site content and search for the page

  • Note the overall position among all pages
  • Note how often the first page or “entrance page” is visited

Click on the page name to see the metrics of that page. Try to understand what the metrics are saying and how it compares to the site’s average.

Trend Analysis

Look at the page over time by expanding the date range of the data. Does the page perform best during certain days, weeks or months of the year?

Session Level Analysis

In the Sessions area, go to landing pages and look at the All Pages report. The number of pages per session, the bounce rate and the number of new users can all be insightful.

Google Search Console Analysis

In addition to Google Analytics data, take a look at Google Search Console to find information about the keywords that your site ranks for. Go to your Google Search Console account and click on Search results. You can look at data for your entire website or filter to look at a specific page.

Listen to the Data

Analytics and search data can help you get the most from your efforts to market online. Pick a few data views that are most meaningful to you and take time to review them periodically.  Also, look for other sources for great data to inform your digital marketing.