There are very few people today who do not have a social media account of one type or another (and usually more than one). Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Snapchat, Reddit, Flickr, and Periscope just to name the top sites being used this year alone.

As you know, business thrives where people thrive. Social media sites are no longer just an ingenious way for people to meet, connect and share. It is now also one of the most powerful advertising tools which can be used to connect to targeted market niche.

However, it is noteworthy that social media marketing is like a double-edged sword – it is something that needs to be wielded correctly. In the hands of a skilled marketer, it is an effective sales tool. But in the hands of an amateur, it can turn success into demise.

To help you avoid the pitfalls of social media marketing, here is a list of tips that will guide you to the proper use of social media sites. So read on and learn how you can turn social media sites into an effective marketing tool (even if all you want to do is get eyes to a particular place on the Internet).

Tips on getting started with a social media site

I know you’ve started many accounts in the past. Things have changed since then and this is not going to be a personal account so there are going to be some changes. Read everything first then get cracking.

Make a draft plan of the contents first.

Getting started without a plan can lead to a messy start. This will not be good for your company image. So before you make your social media account available, make sure that you planned for its contents and design first. I know your excited to start all this but it is important to set things up to have a smooth start and one that looks like you’ve been there forever. Every social media site has a different layout and feel. For each one you want to have a plan. Unlike your own website, you cannot always put things together and have it look perfect before making it live. Once most social media accounts are created, they go live. Just make sure you are happy with how things look before you start pushing it out there.

Come up with an editorial calendar.

You may have plenty of things you want to share and say. But if you post all of them at the same, visitors will get confused. Also, you will quickly run out of things to share in the future. So make a timeline and plan which things you want to post first and which ones should follow in a chronological order. Make sure you follow this plan. If something new comes up, see where you can slide it in that won’t upset the flow. You should have a calendar for each of your accounts so that you don’t forget about updating any of them. Do not forget to add time to check on comments and reply to emails fromm your visitors. You want to interact with them as much as you can to keep them coming back.

Check for a possibly existing account with a similar name.

You do not want visitors to confuse you for another organization, group, or individual. You do not know how these other accounts are behaving and anything they do might have implications on your company’s image. Have a good list of user names handy and start with your favorite ones and work your way down the list. This is always frustrating unless of course your chosen name is not in use and there are no similar ones. If you find out that there are already existing accounts with a similar name or a mockingly similar name, you can go to knowem (formally known as checkusernames.com) to help you come up with an alternative.

Know your target market niche.

There are plenty of people that join social media sites. However, you do not really want to reach to all of them. You need to focus on a group of visitors which are potential customers. Know who they are. The easiest way is to use keywords while setting up the profile of your account. Also dropping links to your accounts into groups via your signature or profile page and where ever else you can (without breaking any rules or annoying too many people) to get traffic.

Know how to lure in the visitors in your target market niche.

Do you already have a clear vision of who your target market niche is? The next thing you need to figure out is how you can lure them in. Research things that are currently a hot topic in your niche and create content around it to get the eyeballs to your accounts.

Ready high quality graphics and Photoshop edited photos.

Sometimes, it is not the content but the appearance. What really draws some visitors into a social media profile is the look of it. You can make your profile page look more attractive by using pictures, photographs, and images. If you do not have experience with Photoshop you may need to hire a graphic artist or take a few Photoshop classes.

Ready high quality short articles, comments, posts.

After luring them in with flamboyant graphics and attractive page design, visitors will start looking for content. If they find nothing, they will leave. This is obviously where your editorial calendar comes in play. Drop your first couple of nuggets to get visitors started.

Make sure that you have the resources to regularly maintain a social media account.

This is generally the most difficult part of having social media accounts. Besides trying to remember all the user names and passwords of course. If you are the type of person who has a lot of different social media accounts but only one or two are regularly updated, you are going to want to create a list. Record all of the sites you have signed up for. And now might be a good time to point out that you do NOT need to sign up for all of them; just the ones that benefit you. There is no reason to have a Pinterest account if you do not plan on sharing a lot of photos. On the flip side, if you do mostly photography, then Pinterest should be your top social media account.

Tips on keeping subscribers glued to your account

Keep your pages looking up to date and professional.

You don’t want your accounts starting to look ‘aged’ or for people to get bored with the look of it. Hiring professionals to help here is perfectly fine (and it’s what they’re there for right?) but you can do this yourself. Just changing up a header or background image usually is enough. Try to keep your profile picture itself generally the same as that is what some people look for when they are looking through their NewsFeeds. Variations on the profile image are good as long as at first glance people will connect it to you.

Sport a page design that corresponds to the nature of your company.

You already know that you cannot just decide on what design to use based on your personal taste (unless that’s the niche). Instead, it needs to be based on the nature of your services/products. For example, if your products are for children, your page should look fun and colorful. I’m sure this is widely known, but sometimes it can be forgotten in the chaos that is setting things up.

Regularly post new comments and news.

If you are following your editorial calendar this shouldn’t be a problem. Posting regularly let’s your subscribers know that your company is active. Posting comments of course builds that relationship I’ve talked about previously that you want to have with your visitors.

Do not always use just words. You can use multimedia once in a while.

For the same reason peppering a blog post with relevant images makes things easier to read, try to convey what you want to say through videos, images, and presentations. As with everything in life, moderation is key. Unless your niche revolves around a certain multimedia element.

Try sporting several design schemes from time to time.

One design theme throughout the year is too boring. It will also give visitors the impression that you lack resources, so try sporting a new look for your page from time to time. One good tip is to follow the changes of seasons(summer look, winter look) or you can also follow the coming of holidays (Christmas look, Halloween look) if not both.

Just a logo is not enough. Try uploading more photos related to your company.

Break out that smile! Some companies only upload their company logo. This is boring. You should post more photos about your company. Any images that go with you and your company are great. Don’t add your animals if they are not somehow related to your niche/business.

Always upload photos of recent events that involved your company.

If your company recently hosted or attended an event, you should post photographs of it. This way, visitors will see that your company is active. If you are going to be at a big event that is open to all, make sure you make an announcement so that visitors can go find you when there. If the event offers booths to set up at, see if you can rent one and let visitors know where you’re going to be. People love meeting the people they follow online and it gives you a chance to meet them and answer questions.

Do poll questions once in a while. Keep it exciting.

Most people like answering questions or polls. Try doing it once in a while to entertain your subscribers. But keep it related to your business. Googling ‘visitors like answering quick poll questions’ will pull up a lot of sites offering some questions to ask in case you’re not feeling very creative.

Post updates about new promos that your company offers.

This again may be another one of those shouldn’t have to mention. Your social media profile is one good channel to announce promos and events that your company hosts. Also, it will keep your subscribers checking your profile.

Tips on using multimedia content

It’s not always as easy as it sounds. Drop a picture there, maybe a video here. And for the most part, yes. But the quality of the multimedia is just as important as what that multimedia is

Use only high quality media content. Do not settle for mediocre quality.

The quality of the media content you upload will have a huge impact on your company’s image. Make sure that you only use high quality ones.

Videos

YouTube should be one of the social media accounts you have no matter what. Some social media sites limit how many megabytes of a file you can upload. So instead of uploading a video to the media site, use YouTube to it’s fullest.

Always check for possible mistakes before uploading so as to maintain credibility.

Especially if you hired people to make the video or graphics for you, it will be necessary that you check it for errors first before you upload it. Also make sure you ‘sign’ any of the media you’ve created. Not only does it tell others where it came from, but it also lets you know just how far the media has traveled.

Know the upload limitations of your social media of choice.

Nothing is more annoying than trying to upload something and finding out it is too big to be uploaded to that particular platform. Facebook for example limits how many megabyte of file you can upload. Knowing these limits you can plan how big of a multimedia file you can use to improve the look of your page. Also keep an eye for total space limits. You may have to go outside a social media platform. Flickr is a great option for this.Or if possible try deleting old multimedia that is no longer needed.

Know which uploads should never be removed to matter what.

Piggy backing on the last tip, not all multimedia you previously uploaded may be removed. Some need to stay for your subscribers to see. For example, if you uploaded a video that features the product specs of your main product, you should probably keep that video file for new subscribers to see. Depending on your niche of course will depend on what you get rid of. Sometimes having an archive of old material may be helpful.

HD quality is good but do not always use it.

While your subscribers and visitors will appreciate an HD quality video upload it does slow down your page if you have a lot of them together. Try keeping limits low or using thumbnails that can be clicked for the HD version. There is this connotation that the higher the pixels, the better the quality and clarity. But it is not always the case. It all depends on the editing. A 640×480 photo may look clearer than a 1024×720 photo.

Tips on using language

It is obvious that there shouldn’t be any bad words on your social media accounts. There are exceptions to this and you know who you are. But here I’m not just talking about bad words, but other factors as well. Some of course my be quite obvious.

Decide on a language to use.

Many consider English to be the international language. But there are still plenty of visitors who cannot understand English. You should always use the language of the demographic you are targeting. But whenever possible, having the same information translated into other languages can be beneficial.

Use appropriate tone and language that suits your targeted market niche.

For children’s toys, you should sound fun. Fashion items, you should sound trendy. Serious stuff, you should sound corporate.

Be precise and brief in your message.

Some visitors hate to read lengthy messages. Some of them are also busy. Long messages can also create a visitor to do a few more scroll wheel movements then they want to. So keep you posts and comments brief and concise. If you can’t, see if there is a way to have a ‘Read more’ link after the first couple of paragraphs. Then make sure those paragraphs tells people what the post is about.

Always double check spelling and grammar before posting.

By now spellcheck is everywhere. Grammatical errors and typos can tarnish your company image. visitors will think that your posts are done in a hurry with no regard for quality. Also read through posts carefully to make sure all errors are caught as spellcheck cannot get them all (some words are spelled correctly but are not the word you needed).

Tips on using YouTube effectively

While you can technically throw a video up and move on, it’s pointless if you don’t have eyes watching, liking and sharing that video. There are a lot of features on YouTube you should take a look at.

Decide on the appropriate comment sharing settings of your YouTube account.

You can decide if you want to block other users from posting comments on your videos and on your profile page. Do this to prevent possibly derogative comments. Be careful doing this too often as it can look like you cannot handle customer’s opinions or criticism.

Decide on whether to use the ‘Like’ and ‘Dislike’ button or not.

For the most part, these should be enabled. Dislikes do have an effect on potential customers however. If you think you video will get a lot of dislikes, you can turn this option off. Just remember that you cannot please everyone everywhere all the time.

Learn how to use related tags.

If you want visitors to easily find your uploaded video on YouTube, you should use tags which visitors are likely to use when typing keywords in the search bar. For computer products for examples, tags like iPad, laptop, internet, Intel, and such should be used. Put that keyword research you did ages ago to good use!

Check comments regularly.

If you decided to allow comments, you should check them regularly so you can deal with derogative and damaging comments as soon as possible. This should already scheduled in your editorial calendar.

Use the ‘delete comment’ option sparingly.

For the same reason you don’t want to have comments turned off a lot. In YouTube, a comment is not completely removed. The username of the person who posted it will still be there and with a note “Deleted comment”. Visitors will wonder why you deleted a comment. So use it sparingly. If asked about it, don’t make up a story. Tell the truth and always have a good reason for deleting comments.

Using courteous and well-informed replies instead of deleting.

Instead of deleting, you can reply to derogative messages instead. But do not be rude. Simply defend in a very convincing and informed manner. Make sure that readers will side with you because of the way you answered. This shows visitors you can handle trolls so if they see a few Deleted comments and can trace a username to a previous rude comment they won’t have to ask or wonder why it was deleted.

Upload only high quality videos.

Videos do not have to be in HD to be high quality and clear. It just needs to be properly done and edited. All videos should be high quality because it will affect the image of you and your company.

Screen videos for possibly offensive elements.

Visitors on YouTube can be pretty harsh. Make sure that all videos you upload are free of potentially offensive contents. If a visitor sees one and let’s you know, thank them for pointing it out to you, apologize and see if you can remove it without having to remake the entire video.

Take time to learn the policies of YouTube.

It is damaging to the reputation of your company if your account gets suspended. Visitors will wonder why it happened. So take time to read YouTube’s policies and then abide by them.

Update users about increase in subscribers.

Others usually update about their first 1000, 5000, 10,000 and 100,000 subscribers. Make these updates so your subscribers can see that your page is moving forward. Have a little celebration with perhaps a small gift to the 1000th subscriber or do something themed to the milestone number. Feel free to celebrate any milestone, just don’t create too many of them or they will quickly stop being special!

Tips on how to expand the reach of your social media account

Advertise your social media account.

The purpose of your social media account is to advertise. While a social media account is an advertisement tool, it also needs to be advertised to work. Tell people to visit your social media account.

Always include your social media URL to your other forms of advertisement.

This should be automatic when you go and advertise through other mediums. Magazines, television, and radio, all should have your social media account mentioned. A small note saying “Visit us on Facebook” should be sufficient.

Remember those SEO techniques.

They’re back! Your posts and articles should already be made with SEO in mind. This will make your social media account easier to find via search engines. You remember this stuff don’t you?

Contribute SEO articles to websites

Here’s a new one. By contributing SEO articles you are making your social media page easier to find on the Internet. Sites like Ezine Articles is a great place to start this.

Use a URL name that is easy to remember and represents you and your business.

You can change how your URL appears on most social networks. For example, if your company name is Solemn Foods, you can change your Facebook URL to facebook.com/solemnfoods

Affiliate yourself with other groups that are related to your market niche.

Yes, some of these sound familiar. I gave similar advice used to market your blog. By becoming affiliates of other groups that are related to your field, you are exposing your page to more potential viewers. For example, if you are selling cosmetics, you should probably become affiliated with pages about makeup tutorial, makeup tips, latest makeup trends, and such.

Use follow buttons

If you are an active user of social media you know all about follow buttons. These are buttons which you can post elsewhere on the Internet. This way people do not have to find you on Facebook to follow you from other places around the Internet.

Use share/link buttons.

Make it easier for your visitors to share your material with their followers. Likes also let you know what content is hitting the mark, and which are falling flat.

Make use of the old school method called email marketing.

Way back in the ancient days of the Internet there was email marketing. Yes, it is old. But it is still effective. Send potential leads an email that contains a link and/or follow button that will connect them to your blog page. This will be easy if you already have a good email subscriber group going.

Propose a guest post on established and influential blogs – the big names ideally.

Ask other influential groups to allow you to make a post on their page. And on that post, make sure to include a link that will direct users to your blog page.

Tips on using Facebook

Oh but you already know how to use Facebook. You may not want to follow the same rules you follow on your personal account.

Open a group account, not a personal account.

Did you know there are two types of account you can open on Facebook that have features that are designed for social media marketing? You should open a group account or a page account instead of a personal account.

Get your first 25 likes.

A group account will only have access to all its features once it already gathers 25 likes from other users. Recruit friends and family if you do not have a following elsewhere that you can send over to your new Facebook account.>

Consider getting a paid advertisement service from Facebook.

Facebook offers a tool that will make your page appear on the advertisement section of other Facebook users. You can also set this option to appear only on a select market niche (age filters, address filter, gender filter, etc.). But this is a paid feature.

Post things that your subscribers will feel like sharing.

Make everything you share public. A subscriber shares a post from your page, it is seen and shared by one of their followers and it is exposed to even more people. This will extend the reach of your social media account.

Research groups and pages that are related to your niche and then like them.

Probably goes without saying, but let’s say it anyway. By liking pages from other groups, you are exposing yourself to the subscribers of those pages. Focus if possible on groups that your targeted audience also frequent.

Get help from people you know who also have Facebook accounts.

Difficulty is in the starting. Ask people you know to like your page. You can also ask them to share the contents of your page. Their friends can also help out.

Use the photo album

People tend to trust online organizations more if they can see faces. If there is no face, it is as if the organization is hiding something.

Keep the photo albums organized according to event and date.

In addition to faces, people like to browse photos. Just ask any baby animal or cat. Make sure that you organize photos in albums. This allows visitors to quickly find images as well as see how many events you’ve attended. If you have pictures of other people not associated with your business, make sure to ask permission before putting the image online. Also be sure to tag them or their group/page if they have one.

Advertise your Facebook account on your other social media account.

Have I mentioned this already? The best way to do this, with any social media you have, create a signature or special post you put out there every once in awhile reminding followers of your other media accounts.

Use only one account.

This is to prevent confusion. If your services and or products are not widely varied, consider getting only one Facebook account.For example, if your company sells different stuff (e.g. clothes, food, toys), you should probably have a separate account or separate page for each genre. Also do not use your personal account to post in your group/page account as this will confuse some people. Keep an eye on who you are posting as on other pages and groups as well.

Use your Facebook account to connect with people you meet on business trips and meetings.

If you met possible affiliates on meetings and business trips, you can use your company’s Facebook account to stay connected with them. This is true for all of your social media accounts

Tips on using Twitter

I just want to note here that a few people are moving away from Twitter due to the toxicity some feel it creates and harbors. Your Twitter account above all others is more in likely going to need more attention in the case of trolls and toxic posts.

Edit the URL name

Most do this anyway, but in case you were not aware that you could, Edit it to something easy to remember and centers on you and your business.

Regularly post news and events.

By now you should be getting the hint that you need to update with posts, images and events regularly. If you leave your Twitter account unattended, people will stop following you. And even if they do not unfollow you, they might stop checking your posts.

Follow others

Find groups, organizations, companies, and/or people which you believe are connected to your company in some way and follow them. This will increase your exposure to more Twitter users.

Avoid posting Tweets on other’s profile.

This is to maintain a professional attitude. Remember, this is a company account not a personal account.

Hashtags

Some may argue that these are not effective. But I am sure you have noticed that hashtags certainly can be effective! Use them wisely and make sure you are not using any hashtags that are trendy for any reason that has nothing to do with your business or niche. Leave the personal stuff to your personal Twitter. #usewisely.

Do not follow more people than the number of people following you.

If you are following more people than the number of people following you, it will make you look desperate. This is not good for your company image. You must exercise some degree of self-importance. Also be cautious of who you follow.

Use geo-location to find local target niche.

This feature is very useful for Internet marketing. It will help you locate your target customers better.

Update users about increase in followers.

More reasons to celebrate and have a eParty!

Tips on dealing with trolling, defamation, and other derogatory comments from users

You are going to face this. If you don’t, you are not getting enough eyes on your media. Take a deep breath, do NOT loose your chill and grab a stress ball.

Check for possibly derogatory messages all the time.

Check your page all the time, or at least have someone do it for you. You need to deal with negative comments as soon as possible before they affect the opinion of other subscribers.

Avoid the domino effect of negative comments.

When one person makes a negative comment, it is possible that others will sympathize. Then it can become a string of negative comments form more users. End it before this happens. Jump on it and respond with class. If it gets out of hand, delete the comment.

Do not leave a serious question hanging unanswered for too long.

Unanswered questions can lead users to doubt your company’s credibility (e.g. the product I bought is lasted only a month, can I have it replaced?).Answer questions immediately.

Maintain a professional tone when replying to possibly derogative Sometimes, you need to answer derogatory questions to set things straight, so other users will know the truth. But when doing so, you should avoid being rudely defensive. You should always maintain a professional tone. Other users will see this and appreciate it. Save time by knowing which questions do not need answers. You do not need to respond to every question.

You should be good to start thinking about these things and getting all of the needed materials together. Next post will cover some more social media tips, including safety, what to avoid, credibility, unique ways to deliver content and more. Got any social media horror stories? Ideas you’d like to share? Hit me up in the comments!

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