It’s 2018, folks! You can no longer ignore the far-reaching impacts of social media and digital public relations on your business’s bottom line. Traditional advertising through radio and television is losing steam as people continue to spend more of their time streaming content online. If your business is not focusing the majority of its marketing/advertising budget and energy on social media and digital, then you are behind the curve. We are living in a digital era and have been for a while. It’s time to step up your social media game!

I put together a list of 10 do’s and don’ts that will help you improve your business’s digital success this year!

1. DO invest in digital and social media software tools and a digital team.

Running a successful online presence is challenging. There are countless platforms to monitor and update, and each platform has different regulations and norms. Social media algorithms are constantly evolving and the ways that people engage on each platform changes all the time. In order to stay ahead of the curve, your business must invest in the resources and man or woman power needed to run a successful digital public relations program.

There are many helpful social media software tools on the market today that can help improve your social media game. A few tools you should look into include: HootSuite, SocialDrift, SproutSocial, and Sprinklr.

2. DO develop content that is useful to your audience. 

No social media strategy is successful without quality content. In an era where noise and distraction is overwhelming, your digital content needs to be on point in order to stand out. So, how do you develop high quality and interesting content? First, you need to hone in on who your audience is, what interests them, and how your business can serve as a resource to those interests. Conduct in-depth research on your target markets and I promise it will pay off. Once you understand your audience and what they want, become an expert in that area. For example, your business is a beauty salon and your audience is adult women who like to spend money to feel beautiful. Now that you know this, develop content that promotes women’s beauty, both inside and out. Talk about and show how a simple haircut can make a woman feel beautiful and confident. Show off how your hairstylists do good work, but also show how they help make their clients feel better about themselves. But, don’t just self-promote. Also, show how your team is experts in the beauty business. Share tips for keeping hair moisturized, talk about your go-to hair products, and upload simple hair styling videos that women can try at home. If your content is useful to women, then they will follow, like, engage, and best of all recommend!

3. DO create a consistent voice across all platforms.

Make sure that you are posting similar content on every platform. Don’t just copy and paste from one platform to the next. You want to give people a reason to follow you on multiple social platforms. But, adapt each piece of content to fit the different social media platforms. One of your Twitter followers shouldn’t be confused by the content you are posting on Instagram. Also, stay true to the content that your audience wants to hear from you. Don’t get distracted by trending topics that don’t relate to your business. To use the beauty salon example again, your focus is on hair beauty so don’t get caught up tweeting about politics or the latest dieting trend.

4. DON’T only post content without engaging with your followers.

Social media is simple – it’s media that requires you to be social. If you are only posting and never interacting with your followers, then your strategy is wrong. Engage, respond, and interact! If somebody comments on a recent hair tutorial video saying “I love this video…can’t wait to try this new do!,” then respond by saying something like, “We are so happy you like the video! When you try this new hairstyle, share a photo using [insert hashtag] and we will send you a 10% coupon to our salon!” Use every interaction as a potential business opportunity. And if someone posts something negative, don’t shy away. Be kind, show that you are listening and understand the frustration, and offer a sincere apology or solution to the problem.

5. DON’T be sloppy.

People notice typos, grammatical errors, and inaccuracies and they WILL call you out on it. Be thoughtful and attentive. If you do make a mistake, own up to it and move on.

6. DO be authentic.

Successful brands have an authentic voice and don’t try to be something they aren’t. If you are a new hairdresser trying to build your client list through social media, don’t lie and act like you have years of experience. Own the fact that you are new and figure out how to use it to your advantage! Let people know that you have a wide range of availability or lower prices because you are an up-and-coming hair stylist. People can sense when you aren’t being honest and it won’t bode well for future business.

7. DO utilize influencers.

Influencer marketing picked up steam in 2017 and is sure to be the biggest digital trend in 2018. Find social influencers who speak to your audience and pay them to promote content for you. Make sure you do your research and are choosing reliable, trustworthy, and effective influencers.

8. DON’T forget to consistently post on all social media platforms.

Social media isn’t a Monday to Friday 9am-5pm job. It’s an all the time job. Use social media tools like HootSuite to help you schedule content across each platform (see #1). And make sure to frequently scroll through each social media platform, check your notifications and evaluate trending topics that might appeal to your audience.

9. DON’T do more than you can handle. 

By now, you might be saying to yourself, “Wow this seems like a lot of work.” And you are right, it is. But, don’t be scared away. Take baby steps and start within your means. If you have a small budget and can’t hire a social media team yet, then maybe just start a Twitter account and Facebook page. Don’t feel like you need to be on every single social media platform if you aren’t able to manage that. I’ve seen way too many businesses start a blog only to post on it once every 6 months. Don’t make that mistake. Start small and build from there.

10. DO spend money to promote posts.

On most social media platforms today, you have to pay to play. If you are posting on Facebook and not putting any money behind those posts, then I hate to tell you this but no one is seeing them. Facebook has become a purely pay to play site and many other platforms are moving in this direction. Allocate funds to promoting social posts. It will pay off in the long run.

I hope you found these tips helpful! Social media can seem overwhelming, but it can also be a lot of fun. There is no time like the present to reevaluate and revamp your social media strategy #FTW!

Leave a comment to share what tips you found the most helpful or post a question.

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