Social media acts like a living, breathing organism—it's constantly changing. It can feel like a full-time job to just try and keep up with the associated trends and to know what platforms to use and when. If you're a small-business owner, you probably don’t have time in your busy day to stay on top of this.

To remedy this, we've compiled a list of 15 tips to keep you in the know and give you that extra edge to make educated choices when handling your company's brand on social media.

1. Cater to Your Users

If users have a great experience with your brand, they are more likely to recommend it to their friends and family. So try and treat each user as a person and not just number. It improves your word-of-mouth factor and turns your biggest fans into promoters.

2. Embrace Video

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times—VIDEO IS KING! Do whatever it takes to get video across all your platforms, from Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat to YouTube. Low-cost, good-quality video is relatively easy to create with any smartphone (though high-quality video production is paramount when the budget allows), and your engagement will show this to be true.

3. Do More Than Exist

Simply being a presence on social media platforms is not enough anymore. You need to be putting some ad dollars behind your content if you want it to be seen by your potential followers. Organic content keeps your existing fans engaged, but media spend grows your base beyond the low-hanging fruit.

4. Analyze Your Data

Check your page insights—nearly every platform will give you a plethora of information that you can use to help make better choices, such as posting at the busiest times of day, catering posts to specific audience demographics and seeing what type of posts work best. Don't make unfounded assumptions—there's a reason for every social media move you make.

5. Localize Your Content

Whenever you draft a post, try to add a location or hashtag or tag a related brand or individual. Posts that have tags have a higher engagement rate and help to localize your content to your most prized viewers.

6. Set MEasurable Goals

Just like any other marketing endeavor, have a goal and plan in place when it comes to creating social content. Take the time to put some thought into why you are doing what you're doing, and make sure it is worth your time and effort. You need to know what success looks like before you embark on a social campaign to very clearly define what areas (i.e., platform selection, content decisions, targeting, etc.) need tweaking for round two.

7. Be Responsive

Respond to everything! if a user takes the time to comment on your post, you should do the same. This is even more important now with the recent changes on Facebook where the back-end algorithm values posts that are receiving more engagement and conversation.

8. Consider Messenger Bots

Message bots are real, and businesses that are small or short-staffed should consider using them. Setting up a messenger bot is easy to do and can help answer many of the frequently asked questions your customers commonly pose via private message. This will give users answers in a timely manner and free up more time for you and your staff.

9. Humanize Your Content

While bots can be helpful in a bind, don't forget that in your one-to-one interactions with existing and potential customers to be human. No one wants to hear a clearly canned response copied and pasted to them. When replying to comments in real time, treat your users like real people, and communicate to them like they are.

10. Be Platform-Choosy

Don’t spread yourself thin. Know where your users are, be a presence on those channels and own them! Don’t simply sign up for every new platform that comes along—it becomes too easy to drop the ball on one and end up harming your brand.

11. Put Out Worthy Content

Make sure your content is worthwhile. It might be tempting to post “keyboard cat," but that’s not why your users are following your brand. (That is, unless you specialize in adoption of highly skilled domestic animals.) Your posts should have some sort of calls to action in which a user can learn something more or be directed to a landing page to spur a conversion.

12. Set a Schedule

Create a content calendar. Take the time to set up a posting schedule, and stick to it. Not only will this help you keep things in order, but it will also help you keep a consistent flow of posts. This builds an expectation amongst users and a reason to pay return visits.

13. Measure Results

All major social platforms offer a multitude of information that will allow you to see how well you are doing. If something isn’t working, make a pivot to a new method. When you hit the sweet spot, stay the course.

14. Clock Competitors

Follow your competitors' social channels to get a better sense of how they're operating and, more importantly, what is and isn’t working for them. You can learn a lot from peers in the same industry—use this knowledge to outdo them with your content curation.

15. Don't Rest on Your Laurels

The quickest death for a branded social channel is the waiting game. Don't hesitate. If you don’t have any social channels currently set up, the time is now. And if you haven’t posted in the last 48 hours, it might be time to get yourself in front of your customer base. Fine-tune the frequency based on your results, and you'll determine the ideal posting cadence.

Epicosity Digital Marketing