The Ideal Uses for the Top Social Media Networks

Social NetworkingSocial media can easily be a full-time job if you let it. To maximize the impact of the time you spend on social media, learn from the power users of top networks and the best practices put out by leading social channels themselves. Master the ideal uses of five of the most popular social media channels — Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine — to boost your impact and your ROI.

Twitter best practices

Twitter maintains a comprehensive business portal that includes best practices for small businesses, nonprofits, and large brands. Generally speaking, Twitter best practices cover when (and how often) to post, what type of content to post, how to engage with fellow Twitter users, and how to measure Twitter impact. As a news-based social site, timeliness and trends are key to Twitter success. Use Twitter to share news of interest in your niche, engage in the conversation surrounding your industry, showcase brand developments and follow your interests. For example, follow colleagues and competitors, share industry news articles, and post links to press releases or new products you’re planning to debut. Use hashtags to tag content so it’s searchable by other Twitter users.

Facebook best practices

An active Facebook presence is a must for modern businesses. Yet Facebook often changes their layout and format, and some aspects of Facebook page maintenance — notably, how content is viewed and shared by Facebook — remain fluid. As a general rule, create a comprehensive business Facebook page that lists your location, hours, website, and vital information. Then, regularly create and share content that is of interest to your key demographic. Link to blog posts, share news articles, upload video and image content, and engage with fans. Facebook’s Page Insights offers valuable insight into how different posts perform. Use this to see what type of content works best among your Facebook fans. If you choose to pay to promote your content across the site, either through Facebook ads or by boosting business posts, set a monthly budget to avoid overspending.

Pinterest best practices

Businesses who succeed on Pinterest know that this social channel works well for curating all sorts of topics that appeal to their core users. For example, Whole Foods promotes a sustainable lifestyle that includes healthy eating, local foods, natural products, and exercise. While they have Pinterest boards that showcase their products and provide recipes that feature their products, they also have boards devoted to gardening, working out, volunteering, gift-giving, and health. They pin a range of images to these boards to curate a lifestyle that appeals to their shoppers, keep their shoppers engaged, and promote their brand. The lesson here is simple: Think beyond your products and pin content that appeals to your users.

Instagram best practices

Instagram also curates best practices for business, and suggests that brand manager sign up for personal Instagram accounts too. By having the same user experience as everyone else, you can discover what type of content you enjoy viewing, sharing, and liking, all of which can upgrade your brand experience. Power users tell their brand story on Instagram by offering behind-the-scenes peeks at company content, posting regularly, and engaging with others in the community. As with Twitter, hashtags make your content searchable by others with the same interest. The best step you can take to succeed on Instagram is to learn how to use your phone camera and Instagram’s set of filters to create beautiful images that people will want to like and share.

Vine best practices

The key to winning at Vine is coming up with a clever idea that can be executed in 6 seconds. Kick start your Vine with a storyboard that lays out what’s going to happen, what props or supplies you’ll need, and what effects you want. Once you shoot a Vine, you can either save or share it, but you can’t save it now and share it later. Likewise, Vines can’t be edited and the sound that your phone records stay tethered to the video. Remember to have fun and stay casual. Vine isn’t meant to be a polished channel. A win here would be a viral Vine that gets you mega brand recognition.

It may take trial and effort, but you will notice these strategies paying off through more engagement, more followers, and more sales. As you grow, continue to apply these best practices to new and emerging networks to continue to remain relevant in the marketplace.

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About Steve Baik is a pioneer in the free search engine submission industry and has been providing valuable web tools and resources for small business owners since 1996. Sign up for our free newsletter to receive the latest info on SEO and Internet Marketing.
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