Six (More) Social Media Best Practices for 2016

Last week, we covered our first round of social media best practices for 2016. In that piece, we looked at the three most popular social media sites: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, to discuss how brands can best reach their audience through these platform. This week, we’re diving a bit more deeply into what were once the “newer” social media networks: Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. These social media platforms are much more visual than their bigger and more widely-used brethren, but they still pack a marketing punch that savvy marketers can exploit. Welcome to our overview of six (more) social media best practices for 2016.

Instagram Best Practices

First, a caveat: Facebook owns Instagram, and many of our Facebook feeds are already regularly interspersed with Instagram posts. Over time, the two channels will no doubt converge more and more. But for now, Instagram remains different enough that we believe it warrants its own inclusion in a discussion of social media best practices. And that reason is that Instagram stands alone as the epitome of the “lifestyle” feed – pictures with short descriptions that give a brief window into the lives and aspirations of its account holders. But not every brand is suited for this space, and for that reason we offer our two best practices for Instagram marketing.

  1. Tell an Emotional Story Without Words: Words are few and far between on Instagram (except in the post comments), and so you’ll only have imagery to tell your brand’s story. For that reason, an Instagram best practice is to become crystal clear on the need state your product or service solves among your target audience, then build your visual story around moments where that need state is met. It’s one thing to post a coupon for a can of pet food, it’s another to show a contented pet snoozing in its owner’s lap. People will connect with images that speak to their shared experience, and in order to do that you’ll need to tap in to what they actually want, rather than a traditional marketing or sales offer.
  2. Do the Hard Work to Create a Following: Social media marketing is always a conversation, and the best social media marketers are adept at sharing and promoting others so that those individuals return the favor. Be sure to use relevant and trending hashtags related to your posts, engage with your audience by following them and commenting on their posts. Promote your Instagram handle on Facebook and other social media. Link your posts to your Facebook and Twitter to reach a wider audience. But more importantly, talk to people. Have fun with contests and sharing. Your goal is to let others share and participate in your brand experience, and the best social media marketing practices draw other users to your conversation by rewarding them.

YouTube Best Practices

Almost one-third of all internet users in the world spend time on YouTube. With hundreds of hours of video uploaded each day, backing by Google’s aggressive content marketing/Google Play efforts, and auto-play features whisking users from video to video, it’s conceivable that YouTube will replace broadcast television in the next few years. The platform has been a resounding success, but that success makes it even harder for marketers to be heard. The following best practices for YouTube may help you get a leg up against the competition:

  1. Stick With Content Formats That Work: While anyone who’s ever uploaded a video has no doubt dreamed of seeing millions of views, the reality is much different. With estimates for the typical number of YouTube views beginning with a few dozen, our first YouTube best practice is to stick to video formats that are proven to be strong search and share draws. These formats include how-to videos, reviews, vlogs, and, of course, comedy. Social media marketing can be difficult on YouTube if your brand does not easily lend itself to these formats, and so we encourage you to consider the return on your videos versus the effort you’ll be making. Posting regular content on Youtube can be time consuming, and if you’re not able to grow your audience it may be more time-effective to post responses or Q&A videos rather than original content.
  2. Adjust Your Uploads to be More Easily Recognized in Search: Our second YouTube marketing best practice is to always keep in mind that the primary reason you’re posting content is to help your target audience find you. So a video with little description and the title “hilarious” won’t get you very far. But adding video transcripts and adjusting the titles of videos to include keywords should boost your views and engagements. YouTube is currently the second-largest search engine in the world after Google, and a best practice is to follow the same SEO practices you use on your business’s website when posting content.

Pinterest Best Practices

Pinterest is the social network of the craft and hobby enthusiast. You’ll find more recipes, handicrafts, and jaw-dropping wardrobe ensembles here than in any catalog, and this cornucopia of craftiness is one of Pinterest’s primary draws. More than any other social network, Pinterest represents 21st century window shopping, and can be an ideal social media marketing vehicle of used properly. Let’s take a look at two Pinterest best practices for marketers.

  1. Post Original Visuals: While this can be considered a standard best practice for all social media, nearly 80% of Pinterest’s users do not post any original content. Those brands that do will be ideally positioned to spread their content with so little market competition. Of course, Pinterest isn’t for every business out there. If you struggle to find original content to post that doesn’t have strong shareability, Pinterest probably isn’t the place for you.
  2. Capitalize on Pinterest’s Homemade/Catalog Nature: What happens when someone stumbles across your original Pin? If they’re interested, they’re going to want to know how to create what they’ve seen or where to buy it. The best social media marketing on Pinterest begins with the Pin, understanding that a Pin is the initial invitation to bring your followers into your brand’s world. Your Pins should link to how-to tips, blogs and vlogs describing other ideas, and a whole world of tips and tricks for those enthusiasts who are constantly in search of new ideas. A social media marketing best practice is to keep your followers engaged, and the more content you link to from your pin, the more you’ll keep them coming back.

So that’s our list of six (more) social media best practices for 2016. Remember, the most effective social media marketing strategy entails choosing the right platforms that will help best reach your target audience. If you follow these tips and still don’t see the results you’d like, it may be time to try a different strategy or platform. Or you could contact Young Marketing Consulting, and we’ll be happy to sit down with you and discuss all your social media marketing needs.