What Small Business Owners Need to Know About Social Media Post Best Practices
Most small business owners struggle to identify the best social media posting formula. Is it art? Is it science? Is it pure luck? The truth is that it’s a little bit of all three.
The Art – this aspect is about creating a predictable user experience so that your followers associate a certain type of post with your brand. Between your graphics and your post style, people should at least subconsciously recognize your content even when they are casually scrolling.
The Science – this component is about knowing when your audience visits which platforms. By scheduling your posts to publish at your target’s typical scrolling time, you’ll get the right eye on your content more often. Study your insights to track this data and leverage it for post traction.
The Luck – no marketing professional wants to admit that there is some luck to posting, but there is an element. Some posts strike the perfect note, go viral, or make tons of people hit the “buy now” button. To be clear, this luck is most likely to strike after you’ve spent a lot of time learning the art and science behind posting, so it’s really educated luck as opposed to pure dumb luck.
While hammering out your strategy for a social media account that advances your business goals, it’s important to understand how the most common platforms work for businesses. There are many platforms out there, and new ones are in development right this moment. For now, we’ll focus on the three most common platforms for small businesses: Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Facebook Post Best Practices for Small Business
Facebook has a couple of billion users, so even though people talk about how much they hate it, they are still spending significant time there. Businesses use pages, groups, and advertising to connect with customers and build a brand following on this channel. Keep in mind that prospects will almost always look at your business on Facebook as a way to assess credibility. To maintain a strong business presence on Facebook, follow these best practice guidelines:
- Make sure your About profile is complete, use your logo as the profile picture, and create a cover photo that’s relevant to your business. Canva is a free tool where you can create a well-scaled cover photo.
- Post at least once a week, but aim to consistently post three times a week. Posts should be a mix of education, soft sales, and fun content. Themes are great, like Fun Fact Friday, or Wellness Wednesday. Themed content helps you efficiently plan, and it supports your brand recognition. Videos are high-engagement posts, even when they aren’t super polished and professional, so incorporate them as often as possible.
- Build trust by highlighting your Facebook reviews, client testimonials, and behind-the-scenes looks at what you do or why you’re in business. Can you show an example of your recent work, tell a story about how you solved a problem, or showcase a high-profile way in which your service or product is being used? These real-world examples increase the desire to work with you.
- Go to the next level with calls to action and boosted posts. Calls to action go well with soft sales posts, so choose calls that encourage people to get in touch like “call now,” “learn more,” or “book a consultation.” Boosted posts increase engagement, but they are not the same as ads. Use boosted posts to gain more followers and get more people talking to you or each other in the comments. Polls and funny questions are great for boosting.
Instagram Post Best Practices for Small Business
There are over 1 billion users on this Facebook-owned platform. Instagram users trend younger than Facebook users, but it’s very popular with anyone who thrives on visual media. People who work or have hobbies in the creative arts, fashion, travel, or influencer industries spend a lot of downtime on Instagram. To build your business on this channel, pay attention to these best practices:
- Do your research first to make sure you deploy the best Instagram strategy. Because this is a visual platform, you’ll need to make sure your images are high quality. Also, hashtags are a key search discovery component, so build your list of effective hashtags and use them consistently. Use at least seven hashtags per post, and be sure to vary them by location, brand tags, and subject matter.
- You’ll need to post at least a few times a week on Instagram, but your own engagement is also very important. You cannot schedule your posts and forget about them. Follow accounts that you admire, follow your followers, engage with others’ posts through likes and comments, and reply to comments on your posts. A high-quality following will help you get discovered by more people in your target audience.
- Capitalize on the features you can use in Stories to create calls to action. Add evergreen content to your highlight reel so that new visitors get to see your most important content right away. Like Facebook, balance your posts with fun, education, and soft sales. Customize a few templates that allow you to plan your posts efficiently and drive home that brand recognition when people are scrolling.
- People love being insiders. Let your followers see the behind-the-scenes aspects of your business, show sneak peeks of works in progress, and be open about the heart of your business. These posts build the know-like-trust relationship that attracts the best customers for your business.
LinkedIn Post Best Practices for Small Business
LinkedIn comes in at about three-quarters of a billion users, and it has really held to its niche of serving businesses and professionals. Once upon a time, LinkedIn was mostly known as a place to look for a new job or recruit talent for open positions. It has grown quite a bit as a social platform over the years to be a vibrant networking hub. If your business caters to other businesses, or you serve professional consumers, check out these best practices for posting on LinkedIn:
- In addition to making sure your individual profile is complete, create a profile for your business. Because people are in more of a work/learning mindset on LinkedIn, expect far more curious about the elements of your profile when someone wants to see who you are and what you do. The more information you give them in your profiles, the better they get to know you.
- LinkedIn moves a little slower than Facebook and Instagram, so twice a month or once a week posting is a good consistency. LinkedIn’s algorithm does thrive on engagement, though. So set aside time to engage in the comments section of posts that interest you. Ask intriguing questions in your own posts to generate comments from your followers.
- Share content that is reputable and relevant, but always introduce the information with your own thoughts and questions for your followers. If you are creating content from your business account, always share it from your individual profile to get it in front of more eyes. If you have a blog on your website, test the engagement of linking to your blog directly or converting blogs to LinkedIn articles. A few extra steps of multi-site publishing may attract a larger and more diverse following.
- Celebrate milestones, product or service launches, news releases, and new hires on your newsfeed. LinkedIn is a great audience for hyping your business’s successes. Client testimonials and case studies are great engagement generators as well.
- LinkedIn is a search engine as much as it is a social platform. Research keywords and use them in the about section, headline, and posts of your individual and business profiles. Keywords will help you get discovered, which will help you gain followers and business connections.
These best practices are a lot to take in! We created a handy comparison guide to help you focus on the key factors of each platform that you can download here. If creating and executing your social media strategy seems like a time and effort commitment that’s beyond your capacity, contact Motto Marketing to outsource this vital element of your marketing plan.