12. Tips on Using Social Media in Marketing

If using social media in business is new to you, you are probably not aware of some simple things you can do to improve your social media profile easily. You also have to know that each social network has guidelines and recommendations that should be followed.

In this chapter we will focus on some basic tips for optimizing your social media accounts, as well as on some major guidelines to have in mind.

Customization

Customization refers to using different setting options in order to make a social media profile as unique as possible in order to present your business. Each social network offers some of the options for customization and those usually include:

Profile image – Profile image is usually a smaller image that represents your page or profile. It is visible next to the posts and status updates you publish on the specific social network, including both posting on your own page or profile, and posting on other profiles, pages or groups.

Cover image – Some social networks, such as Facebook and Google+, allow adding a cover photo. This photo is larger than the profile photo and it is usually displayed across the top part of the user profile or page. Larger image allows you to take advantage of visual content and present your company.

With both types of images, it is advisable that you use images that will symbolize your business. You can include the logo, the slogan, or the name of the business itself. Since visual content helps you attract the attention of the visitors, this is great for online presentation. You should make sure that you have the permission to use the images in order to avoid copyright infringements.

Description – Depending on the social network, you will have an opportunity to add a short or long description of your company. Take advantage of this feature and provide additional information about your business. Try to use keywords in the description, as this might help users find you more easily when using social network search option. Description can include a short biography, the description of the products or services you offer, as well as the information about the approach, policy, etc.

URLs – Adding a website’s or blog’s URL will help users discover even more information about your company. If the users discover your business through a social network, URLs posted in the about section of your page or profile can help users discover your website or blog, where they can then subscribe to a newsletter or decide to buy from you. This kind of cross-promotion is also recommended when it comes to linking to other social networks profiles. Apart from the website or blog URL, you can also add URLs of other social networks, so users who discover your page on Facebook, can then follow you on Instagram or Twitter, or any other social network.

Location – Adding location has two main benefits. When you add your location, the specific social network will be more successful at showing you the results that are relevant to you, based on your current location. This helps you discover people and content related to the specific region.

On the other hand, adding location to your social network profiles helps users find you easily. If you run a local business, you understand the importance of being shown on Google Maps, Foursquare, etc. Not only are people more likely to find you when exploring the options to visit the nearby places, but the potential visitors can read the reviews of your business, regardless if it is a restaurant, an entertainment center, etc. Positive reviews certainly have positive influence on anyone who is thinking about visiting you.

Social media optimization

Social media optimization is often described as the usage of social media accounts in the purpose of promotion through increasing awareness of the brand or product. The goal of social media optimization is similar as the goal of search engine optimization. It is used for generating traffic and raising awareness, but instead of using the website, like in SEO, social media optimization uses social media channels to achieve this goal.

Why is social media optimization important?

Due to huge influence of social media websites, search engines have to take into account the results generated on those websites in order to provide relevant and useful results to the search engine users. Therefore, social media optimization helps you establish a connection with search engines, which has a positive impact on search engine optimization, and thus results in better ranking for your brand.

Social network influence is measured through likes and follows, which are perceived as votes, proof of the quality website. Thus, search engines take social signals as factors that reflect the importance and the influence of a website, and therefore, these results will affect ranking.

Guidelines

Every social network has its own guidelines and terms of use. You should follow the guidelines in order to avoid a certain account being suspended.

Some of the most common restrictions:

Text and URLs in the cover photo

Facebook used to prohibit the usage of URLs and any contact information in the cover photo. Although this is no longer the case with Facebook, you should be aware of the fact that social networks sometimes have specific requirements when it comes to cover photos, as well as profile photos.

Conditions when organizing online promotions

Online promotions are heavily regulated by social networks as they can often be misused to gather user data. Depending on the social network, you might organize an online promotion directly on your social media account, or you might be required to use an application to host an online promotion.

In both of these cases, you are required to clearly state the terms and conditions of the promotions which will include the rules for the promotion, as well as the part that will refer to the privacy policy of the data gathered during the promotion. These requirements follow the laws related to the collection of data and privacy, which is why you have to take them into account when organizing any type of promotion.

Other limitations

Each social network has some limitations you should be aware of when using a certain social network. The complete list of limitations and rules is stated in the terms of use for each social network, but we will point out some of the most relevant and the most important limitations you should be aware of:

Facebook limitations

Facebook page names must:

Not consist solely of generic terms (e.g., “pizza”);

Use proper, grammatically correct capitalization and may not include all capitals, except for acronyms;

Not include character symbols, such as excessive punctuation and trademark designations;

Not include superfluous descriptions or unnecessary qualifiers;

Not mislead others into thinking it is an official Page of the Page’s subject matter or is authorized by an authorized representative of the Page’s subject matter; and

Not violate someone’s rights

When it comes to tagging other users within an image or a post:

You must not inaccurately tag content or encourage users to inaccurately tag content.

The full list of guidelines for Facebook pages is available here: https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php.

Twitter limitations

Although Twitter does not have specific limitations in terms of how many people you can follow and how many times you should tweet, Twitter accounts, especially the new ones, are monitored in order to detect any type of automation and excessive activity in order to avoid spam. Here are some of the actions that might be considered as spam:

You have followed and/or unfollowed large amounts of users in a short time period, particularly by automated means (aggressive following or follower churn).

You repeatedly follow and unfollow people, whether to build followers or to garner more attention for your profile.

Your updates consist mainly of links, and not personal updates.

You post duplicate content over multiple accounts or multiple duplicate updates on one account.

You post multiple unrelated updates to a topic using #, trending or popular topic, or promoted trend.

Randomly or aggressively following, favoriting or Retweeting Tweets.

According to the Twitter rules, accounts that are inactive for more than six months may also be removed without further notice. You can access the complete list of rules and guidelines by visiting Twitter terms of use: https://twitter.com/tos.

Google+ limitations

Google+ also allows contents, sweepstakes and promotions to the extent they are permitted by law and as long as they follow Google’s legal terms.

You must have official rules that clearly state that your Promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or otherwise associated with Google or its affiliates.

YouTube video contests are prohibited on Google+. This includes contests that involve posting videos on YouTube and contests that involve posting YouTube videos on Google+.

Google+ pages are regulated by Google+ Pages Additional Terms of Service, available here: http://www.google.com/+/policy/pagesterm.html.

LinkedIn limitations

LinkedIn requires providing accurate information and using real name on profiles. When it comes to profile images on LinkedIn you should not:

Upload a profile image that is not your likeness or a head-shot photo.

You can go through LinkedIn terms of use here: http://www.linkedin.com/legal/user-agreement.

Evaluation

Using social media in the purpose of promoting and improving a business requires a lot of monitoring and analysis from your part in order to evaluate the performance and determine whether the results are satisfactory.

In case the results are not as expected, you have to change the approach and method you use with social media marketing. Try to experiment and change some parts of your strategy, such as timing, and then evaluate the results again. Determining the right problem and cause of the strategy being unsuccessful will help you change your social media approach.