The Ultimate Guide to Social Media

Use our handy one-stop resource to become a social media master

When it comes to social media, we really know our stuff—and by following our guide of social media tips, tricks, best practices and resources, you can be an expert, too. With over 2 billion users on Facebook alone, knowing how to effectively execute a social media strategy is crucial in today’s marketing world. From drafting your first social post, to engaging with followers like a pro, we’ve got you covered top-to-bottom in our ultimate guide to social media.

Know Your Audience

One of the first things to do when creating a social strategy for your brand is to find your target audience on social media. Who do you aim to communicate with most? Whose attention are you trying to get? It’s important to realize who you want to be your audience may differ from who is actually viewing your social media content; building an audience on social media hinges heavily on finding the right social media platform for your business

While not all social sites have passed the test of time (RIP Google+), there are still several social media platforms that have proven extremely fruitful for brands over the years—in terms of sales, brand exposure, reputation and more—because they see millions, if not billions, of users each month. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn are all social media powerhouses with the ability to help communicate a brand’s message to its target audience, depending on the business, it’s message and its goals.

Establish Voice and Tone

Once you’ve nailed down which social media platform is best for you and established your target audience, you’ll need to figure out how to speak to them. This is where you begin showcasing your brand’s personality—are your posts funny? Serious? Educational? Professional? Do you use emojis, or would that not jibe with your brand? How do you feel about exclamation points? Decide on every aspect of your digital voice and tone, including things as simple as how you write numbers (“two” or “2”) on social media.

Being authentic and using consistent language are absolutely key when it comes to building trust and rapport with your audience. Your customers and viewers will be able to see through any pandering, so it’s best to stick with language and a tone that truly suits the essence of your business. 

Draft & Plan Social Copy

Now that you’ve settled on guidelines for your brand’s voice and tone on social media, it’s time to start writing and planning your posts! There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to crafting social media copy, so knowing how to write for different social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, is a must. 

You will also need to tweak some of your posts’ wording depending on which social media platform they’re set to appear. For example, what works on LinkedIn may differ slightly from what’s sensible for Twitter or Instagram. Each social media platform will have its own nuances, such as word count and overall post appearance, which you’ll need to consider when drafting your copy.

You’ll also need to create a social editorial calendar—a planning document which helps you think about what you’ll be posting about ahead of time, typically on a monthly or weekly basis. Once the social copy is mapped out, there are multiple different tools for social media management, like Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Latergram and more, that will allow you to schedule your posts for automatic publishing. 

Hashtag Best Practices

Among the most powerful online tools that have emerged in the age of social media are hashtags—small, simple criss-crosses of lines that pack a huge punch when used strategically and consistently. Hashtags help brands track what others are saying about them and how their content is being shared, can start powerful movements, and establish brands as unique and distinct from one another, so it’s crucial businesses learn how to launch a branded hashtag.

Hashtags can be used in contests, social media campaigns, to bolster brand evangelism and to be seen by your target audience. By relying on just a few basic hashtag strategy tips, brands can learn how to carefully create a curated hashtag block, use a blend of general, community and branded hashtags, and come up with ideas for future hashtag uses.

Create Killer Social Graphics 

Creating great copy is key in captivating an audience on social media—but perhaps even more important is making sure you have amazing graphics to back it up. Whether you’re taking advantage of incredible photography (or looking to stock images to help fill in the gaps), being your own graphic designer via Canva, putting together an engaging infographic or just straight-up getting giph-y with it, knowing how to create social graphic elements is one of the most important parts of your overall social media strategy. Graphics fill your social media channels with color and give your audience something to share and interact with. Make sure that the images you put out there align with your brand and grab your audience’s attention.

Working with a designer to put together a visual branding guide for your business will help lay out all the parameters of how your business should look and feel—including color palettes, logos, preferences for graphic types and info on how to size up images for different platforms. 

Master Social Media Engagement

Shhh… can you hear that? It’s your followers chit-chatting away in the comments of your most recent post! Now you’ll need to use your social listening skills to become a pro at social media engagement. Social listening and engagement is the practice of staying tuned-in to what’s happening on your pages by regularly checking out your notifications, responding to messages and comments, resolving conflict in real time and seeing how people are interacting with your posts. Building your social media engagement is how your brand’s social presence stays alive—it needs your attention and nourishment if it’s going to last longer than a houseplant (no judgement)!

Once you get the hang of social listening, you can take your social media engagement to the next level. Devise your own social media goals each year, create a social media ad campaign that incorporates user-generated content and good hashtags, and even learn how to work with influencers to cover more social ground. 

Need help getting started? We’ve got your back at Yakkety Yak. Contact our team and we’ll get your social game up and running.

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