Aim to only plug your own achievements or offering 20% of the time... but what about the other 80%?..

Come on, own up. Twitter account crying out for content? Facebook page stagnating? Posting pictures of kittens for the sake of it? Let me guess, you know you should be doing more but you…

a)     Don’t have time

b)     Don’t quite understand it

c)      Combination of A and B

Well, don’t worry, it doesn’t come naturally to everyone but if you follow these key pointers you will be heading in the right direction:

Get the balance right

The feeling of ‘being sold to’ doesn’t feel comfortable in face-to-face meetings and I’m afraid it’s no different online. Of course, it’s important to talk about your product or services and get your key messages across but make sure this is subtle and that the majority of your content is NOT ‘me, me, me!’ Aim to only plug your own achievements or offering 20% of the time… but what about the other 80%?

Become the go-to industry expert

Aim for 80% of content to be non-sales related. Comment on interesting news articles, congratulate others within your industry on their achievements, run simple competitions, link to engaging blogs. Make sure if something exciting is happening in your industry – you are the first to comment and get involved! Position your business as the expert, a trustworthy advisor.

Tricks of the trade

Lots of clever tools are available to help manage accounts more professionally – most of them are free of charge too. Stuck for engaging new content? Try Pluggio. Manic week ahead? Schedule content using Hootsuite – this software allows you to track and manage accounts via one central hub pulling in various streams. Looking to gain more quality, industry specific followers? Try JustUnfollow – simple to use and extremely effective! Get hastag savvy – find out what your classic industry hashtags are and use them regularly. Have a particular event coming up? Why not choose your own unique hashtag to use pre-event, during the event and post-event. This is a great way of bringing all relating content together and sharing information with key people.

Topical but NOT controversial

It is advisable for businesses to stay away from controversial topics on social media. If your business founder had a particular political persuasion that’s fine but only in exceptional circumstances should that be reflected by the business!

Don’t overload channels

OK you’re getting the hang of it now…but wait, haven’t you already tweeted four times in the last ten minutes? Woah there, let’s not get too carried away! Be sure to schedule content at evenly dispersed intervals throughout the day to ensure a steady flow of information. As a general rule it is more acceptable to tweet more often than you would post to Facebook for example. If a few days pass without a post to Facebook you won’t necessarily lose ‘likes’ but Twitter should be used much more frequently.

A lot of businesses sync Twitter and Facebook accounts so that content is replicated across both platforms. In some cases this works but, more often than not, if someone is following you on Twitter, why would they also like you on Facebook if the content is all the same. Use Facebook in a different way with more pictures for example.

Social media for business needn’t be a chore to correctly manage and once you get into the swing of things, everything should start to feel more natural and conversational. Good luck!

Jemma Caldwell is The Managing Director of Edinburgh based Tanami, offering creative video and effective PR for businesses of all sizes.

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