Maximizing social media presence

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It is no longer enough that businesses, especially start-ups, have social media accounts and update them every now and then. They ought to maximize those accounts, which offer opportunities for increasing sales as well as building long-term relationships. Here are some tips.

Instead of merely posting promotional content, try sharing something that’s relevant to the products you’re selling or appeals to your customers. “For example, if you are a clothing retailer, you could post about up-and-coming beauty trends or news from a major designer. These topics quite likely directly align with the interests of your audience,” says Moz, a maker of marketing analytics software. Include tips and tricks to make the lives of your customers easier when using your products and in general.

Moz says not every update needs to be an original idea. “[Y]ou can bounce off the ideas that other people are already posting,” it notes. “Social media relies on conversations, so jump in and be a part of them.”

But exercise caution. “You’ve probably seen one of the many articles poking fun at brands that feel compelled to share their opinion on every celebrity faux pas, world event, or holiday. Some things are better left unsaid — and most major news events don’t warrant a response from your company,” says Salesforce, a cloud computing company.

It’s also wise to refrain from reacting to every mention of your business. Salesforce says allowing employees, influencers or others to interject is sometimes better. “So pick your conversations wisely,” it adds.

When people leave posts and comments on your page that are obviously critical of your business, deleting them may not be the best solution. “Your customers may view deletion as a sign [that] your brand is dishonest and trying to hide the truth,” Salesforce says. Instead, tackle the criticisms right away.

Avoid feeding the trolls, though. “If someone is clearly out to tarnish your name, it’s best not to play into their game on social media,” Salesforce says, adding that a troll should be sent a customer e-mail address or a phone number at which you can be contacted.

In terms of the frequency with which you should update your social media accounts, there is, Moz says, “no best practice set in stone.” It all depends on such factors as the audience and their appetites. But Moz says one universal fact is that updates don’t last long. “The half-life of a tweet, for example, is around 18 minutes for most users.”

Don’t make the mistake of using this as justification for bombarding the feeds of your social media followers with updates. “Users move on to more recent items in their newsfeeds quite quickly. The takeaway here is to keep an eye on how long your users are engaging and sharing something. More than anything, this is indicative of the quality of your content,” Moz says.

Make sure to update during nights and weekends. Salesforce says posting outside regular office hours helps the content you publish stand out when many other brands aren’t posting.

Though it may feel counterintuitive, don’t focus too much on vanity metrics — fans, followers, subscribers, views, likes, shares. “Are Facebook likes translating into Web form completes? Are Twitter campaigns reducing acquisition costs of search-engine marketing?” Salesforce says. “Have reporting tools closely monitor content performance and engagement. Not only does this provide insights, it enables you to target your most responsive audiences across social networks and geographies.”