The reach of social media can be huge for any small business owner, but launching corporate accounts is a daunting task for newbies and seasoned Instagrammers alike. We talked to Liz Kennedy, FreshDirect’s Director of Content Strategy and Social Media about the quick wins and easy missteps when it comes to using social media to brand your business. Her biggest piece of advice? Know your audience.
DO: FILL OUT YOUR PROFILES
Spend some time filling out the “about” sections on all of your brand’s accounts. Also choose a handle that is easily identifiable and a flattering profile/cover photo or photos that are professional and in line with your company vision (and that are cropped correctly in their designated spaces). Read to the end of the article for a quick cheat sheet on the dimensions for each major social channel!
DO: TREAT EACH PLATFORM AS AN INDIVIDUAL
You don’t want your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts to be exact replicas of one another—especially since many of your followers are likely following you on multiple platforms. “Post what’s appropriate for each platform, and base it on what’s performed best in the past,” says Kennedy, who previously oversaw social media at iVillage and Martha Stewart Living. “Only every once in awhile, when you have some really exciting news, an incredible pic or important information for your followers, should you post the exact same content on all platforms.”
DO: BE ENGAGING
Engagement is one of those social media buzzwords you’ll hear over and over again, and that’s because it is the basis of all social networking. “Engaging your followers is the most important part of social media,” says Kennedy, adding that it’s vital for brands to comment back to their followers’ comments. “Getting tagged or followed by your favorite trainer, celebrity, gym, class, etc. is like the modern-day autograph. The more you respond individually to comments, the more people are going to be willing to comment/share/RT/regram your content.” When it comes to Twitter, Kennedy advises, “There’s no need to retweet every tweet about you—you don’t want to come off too egotistical—but if it’s a tweet that has information that’s beneficial to your audience, go ahead and RT. And it’s always nice to acknowledge positive tweets about your brand with a favorite.”
As personal social media users, hashtags are mainly a way to be funny and sarcastic. But for corporate accounts, they’re king. “Hashtags are the way to get discovered on Instagram and Twitter,” says Kennedy. “If your goal is to grow your audience and be discovered, you need a minimum of 5 hashtags per post. Make sure you’re looking at hashtags that are trending that day, and research popular ones in your industry. #whateveryoudojustdontmakethemtoolongtoread.”
DO: INVEST IN PHOTOGRAPHY
With so much imagery thrown into the social media sphere everyday, it’s important for small business owners to invest in putting out quality pictures. “Social media is more visual today than it’s ever been,” explains Kennedy. “If you want to be recognized, you need to up your game. Download apps that can make your images better, and crop and edit wisely.”
DO: CURATE A WELL-ROUNDED ACCOUNT
In terms of posting non-business related information that would still be interesting to your audience—think pretty photos, inspirational quotes and funny stuff—Kennedy says this is key to achieving balance. “By doing this you become a resource to your audience, which makes them excited to tell their friends about this great account they’re following,” she says.
DO: PARTNER UP
Everyone is looking to grow their audience, and one of the most effective ways to do that is join forces with other social leaders. “Want to increase your followers? Partner with another brand or influencer on a social media stunt—think sweepstakes or account takeovers,” says Kennedy. “It’s a great way to get new eyeballs on your account.”
DON’T: COME OFF AS NEEDY
Consider that your followers are leading busy, hectic lives (just like you)—the last thing you want to do is imposition them by requesting likes or retweets. “Find creative ways to get likes and comments by asking questions, running sweepstakes or taking polls,” advises Kennedy.
DON’T: BE A SLOUCH
Is there such a thing as posting too much content? “Nothing is too much as long as your accounts are active and you have engagement,” says Kennedy. “The worst thing you can do on social media is start an account, post once, and never post again. If you want engagement, you should post at least once a day on all platforms.”
YOUR CROPPING CHEAT SHEET
Cover photo: 851 x 315 px
Profile photo: 180 x 180 px
Shared photo: 1200 x 630 px
Profile photo: 110 x 110 px
Shared photo: 640 x 640 px
Header photo: 1500 x 500 px
Profile photo: 400 x 400 px
Shared photo: 440 x 220 px