There’s no secret recipe for social media marketing that guarantees success for everyone. However, some common mistakes can trip anyone up: from major PR disasters to seemingly harmless blunders like sharing identical content across all platforms. To increase your chances of managing a successful social media strategy, here are 23 best practices for a social media manager representing a brand.
23 Best Practices For a Social Media Manager
1. Know Your Audience
This is the number one rule, and there's a good reason for it: You can't gather a loyal following unless you know exactly who you're trying to attract (that’s Social Media 101). So, let's dive into these important questions:
- Who are your customers?
- Where do they spend their time online?
- Where do they work?
- What do they care about?
- Do they already know about you?
- What do they think of you? Does it match what you want them to think?
- What kind of content do they need to see to be convinced that your products or services are worth their hard-earned money?
And that's just the beginning of the best practices for a social media manager. Defining your target audience goes beyond just demographics or a basic buyer persona. You need to understand their motivations, what inspires them, and what problems they face—and then position yourself as the perfect solution.
2. Build A Strong Social Presence
You don't have to be on every single social platform to make it big, even if everyone else is hyped about the newest, trendiest app. Before signing up for a new account, consider these things:
- Do I (or my team) have enough resources to produce relevant content on this new platform?
- Does the purpose of this platform align with my brand’s goals?
And most importantly:
- Does my target audience spend time on this platform?
Instead of posting generic content everywhere, it's always better to focus on creating thoughtful and meaningful content for a select few platforms.
3. Create a Clever Strategy
Establish your social media goals, develop a content plan, and avoid creating a TikTok account solely for the sake of participating. In essence, be strategic in all your actions. Once you have defined your goals, determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you would like to use to gauge your social media success.
Your choice of KPIs depends on each specific objective, so select them after confirming your goals. For instance, if you aim to enhance brand engagement, potential KPIs could include likes, comments, shares, and mentions. Similar to any business practice, your social media presence requires a deliberate approach, regular tactical adjustments, and S.M.A.R.T. goals.
4. Audit Your Social Performance
Your fan base is growing like crazy. People are really into what you're putting out there. You're getting DMs and comments from your loyal customers every single day, and they're super pumped. Your content is killing it. All of those best practices for a social media manager paid off pretty damn well, huh?
Well, hold up! What exactly caused these awesome results? Sure, getting lucky is cool, but it's even better to figure out why your content did so well (or didn't), so you can create a system for consistently successful campaigns. This is why auditing is so important:
- Check out your social media performance once a month.
- Try posting your content on different days and times to see what works best.
- Ask your audience what they want by doing a survey.
- Dig into the analytics to find out which content performs the best for you.
5. Develop Consistent Brand Guidelines
Once that’s done, you have set the track for consistent guidelines for your brand. You gotta have two kinds of rulebooks for your team:
- First, you got the guidelines for the visual style, tone, and voice of your brand. This is what keeps your branding consistent and recognizable to your audience, covering everything from how things look to how you write captions. These guidelines also cover stuff like which hashtags to use and which sources employees should use for content (and which ones they shouldn't).
- Then there are the employee social media guidelines that give your employees some structure on what they can and can't post about when they're representing your company, even on their accounts. It helps avoid confusion, encourages them to share positive stuff, and makes it clear what happens if they break the rules. This way, you can avoid any legal or PR headaches down the line.
Try creating a productivity regimen to get your daily, weekly, and monthly workload organized. The good ol' to-do list is always a winner, whether you jot it down in a physical planner or use an iOS app. You can also block off specific times on your calendar for different tasks or projects. And then, there are tons of productivity tools out there like Asana, Todoist, or Hive. Don't be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you.
6. Schedule Your Content In Advance
If you try to come up with content right before you got to post it, you're just gonna burn out. Planning your social media content gives you room to make awesome stuff, organize your campaigns (both organic and paid), and get input from your team.
You can either create content on the spot or upload a bunch of posts all at once and schedule them for later. Also, use social listening to keep track of what people are saying about your brand and check it regularly. If there's a sudden negative shift, figure out why and deal with it before it becomes a PR nightmare.
And, one of the best practices for a social media manager is to group similar tasks to knock 'em off your to-do list. For example, if you need to write social media captions for multiple posts on different platforms, do it all at once.
7. Feedback = Engagement
Get your audiences’ opinions and ideas, or throw in some fun questions to get to know them. You can do a quick poll on Twitter or Instagram Stories, put up a survey link on your social accounts, or just ask people to drop a comment with their thoughts. When you give your customers a chance to speak up about what they want, it's no surprise that you'll be able to give them exactly that (#BreakingNews). Remember, social media is all about making connections and building an online community, so focus on that.
8. Customer Service First
Getting promoted and interacting with people is a big reason why you're on social media, but deep down, it's not just about making connections—it's about keeping your customers satisfied. You might have a helpline and email for customer service, but a whopping 70% of your customers prefer sorting out problems on social media. Take it up a notch by putting yourself in a customer service mindset and keep an ear out for what people are saying on social media, even if they haven't reached out to you directly.
10. Quick Prompts To DMs And Comments
In addition to tagging you in a post, people are also sending you messages or leaving comments on your social media posts with questions. Those important comments can be easily overlooked, especially if you receive hundreds of comments.
So, how can you make sure you see them and reply? Use a unified inbox that can help you sort all your messages and comments from your connected social media platforms. Whatever tool you use, just make sure you have a way to assign conversations, so you can stay organized and provide the quickest responses.
11. Use A Chatbot To Speed Up Simple Inquiries
It can be a real time-suck when most of your customers ask the same questions over and over again, like "Where's my order?", "I need to make a warranty claim," or "Do you ship to...?" Luckily, technology has come a long way to create a chatbot to handle those simple, frequently asked questions to reduce your customer service team's workload by a whopping 94%.
Now, some people may be sceptical about AI customer service compared to talking to a real human. But think about it: would you rather sit on hold for 30 minutes just to find out if your order has shipped yet, or would you rather open a chat window, get an answer in less than a minute, and enjoy your iced coffee while you're at it?
12. Take Value Criticism
It's important to reply to your customers even if it's a tough conversation. Teach your team how to handle negative situations and come up with solutions for angry customers. When it comes to criticism about the company's actions or values, make sure everyone on your team knows how to respond in a polite and, let's be honest, approved-by-the-legal-department manner.
13. Have A Crisis Communications Plan
You don't gotta waste your time dealing with obvious troublemakers, but it's important to respond to your customers and fans, even when the convo gets tough. Share social management tips with your team on how to handle negative situations and find ways to make angry customers happy. And when there's criticism about the company's actions or values, make sure everyone on your team knows how to reply politely and, well, in a way that's approved by the legal folks.
14. Have A Content Approval Process
The absolute worst thing that could happen during a PR crisis? Imagine posting something on your company account without thinking it through, only to have the internet roast it with a quote tweet. That's a recipe for disaster!
15. Optimize Content For Each Platform’s Requirements
One of the reasons why you shouldn't be sharing the same stuff on every platform is that each platform has its own set of rules when it comes to picture or video sizes, or the number of characters you can type. It's just smarter to customize your content to match the requirements of each platform.
16. A/B Test Creative Assets
You could mix things up by using a GIF instead of a normal image, or maybe replace an image with a video (or vice versa). You could even play around with altering the style of a graphic or using a completely different photo. There are plenty of options to test, depending on what you're working with. Just make sure to test one element at a time, or else you won't be able to figure out which new addition performed the best in the end.
17. Use Tools To Achieve More
There are tons of social media apps out there to design things or suggest some cool social media management tips. If you don't have a fancy design team, no worries! You can easily create some awesome graphics using Canva or Adobe Express.
18. Evaluate Trends Before Jumping Aboard
If you wanna get more views and all that jazz, you might think about hopping on the bandwagon of hot topics and using those trendy Instagram sounds, right? But hold up, ask yourself, are those views coming from your target audience? If it's a trend that your current followers don't understand or find offensive, you could end up losing them and messing up your reputation. So, think twice!
19. Check Your Accounts Daily
Even if you're not posting every single day, it's important to have someone from your team who can hop in and reply to comments, and messages, and check out spam. Across the globe, a whopping 83% of customers expect to receive a response to their social media query within 24 hours, and 28% of them even want an answer within just one hour. So, staying proactive is pretty darn important.
20. Grab Those Account Names, Even If You Don't Plan On Using Them
Even if you're not into a newly launched social media app, it's one of the best practices for a social media manager to grab your company's username on it. It's like playing it safe and preventing anyone from posing as you and using your brand name.
21. Figure Out When It's The Perfect Time For You To Share Stuff Online
It's not just about what you post online, but also WHEN you post it. The perfect timing for sharing on social media depends on the platform you're using, the kind of content you're sharing, and what your brand's audience and industry prefer. To figure out the best time to post, you need to do some serious digging into your brand's social media data and analytics. For example, if you notice that your LinkedIn posts get more attention in the afternoon rather than the morning, aiming for a post between noon and 4 p.m. could be a smart move.
22. Always Revisit Your Social Media Content Mix
You gotta have a variety of content to keep things exciting for your audience. Just consider tweaking what you share based on your goals, resources, budget, and your brand's identity.
23. Recycle Content Strategically
Instead of constantly racking your brain for fresh and on-point ideas for every post, why not give your best content a second life? Spice things up by sharing your most viewed reel on your story, creating a carousel, or slicing up your YouTube videos into bite-sized snippets for Shorts
Today’s social media witnesses an increasing role of artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify all the best practices for a social media manager. These tools assist in content creation, scheduling, and data analysis, and even provide insights into audience behaviour and engagement patterns. As AI continues to advance, social media managers must leverage its capabilities to optimize their strategies and achieve better results.