Social Media Account Management: Best Practices
- Setting realistic and measurable goals helps brands justify their social media budgets, create milestones, measure progress, and identify areas that require more resources or a change in social strategy.
- Brands should ensure that their username, profile and cover photos/imagery, bios and descriptions, logo, color palette, taglines, and tone & voice are consistent across their social media accounts.
- Brands can increase their reach by optimizing the frequency and timing of posting content on different social media channels.
Five best practices to effectively manage a brand's social media accounts include setting measurable goals, consistent branding, understanding the audience, optimizing post frequency and timing, and using scheduling tools and calendar. These best practices have been identified based on repeated mentions across reputed industry sources as well as the results they can deliver and/or the problems they can solve.
Setting Measurable Goals
- Brands should start their social media strategy planning by clearly outlining their goals. This has been identified as a best practice by FreshSparks, Sprout Social, RingCentral, and CoSchedule.
- Setting realistic and measurable goals can help brands justify their social media budgets, create milestones, monitor and measure progress, and identify areas that require more resources or a change in strategy.
- According to Sonia Gregory, CEO and Creative Director at FreshSparks, "Establishing objectives will help set marks that can be tracked and measured. This allows you to focus on winning strategies, and quickly pivot as things change."
- CoSchedule and Hootsuite recommend setting S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Aspirational, Relevant, Time-Based) goals.
- A S.M.A.R.T goal consists of fixed figures (Specific) and metrics to track progress (Measurable). It stretches one's abilities (Aspirational), helps meet the business objectives (Relevant) and has a deadline (Time-Based). An example of a S.M.A.R.T social media goal for a brand is: To gain 3,000 Instagram followers in the next 6 months.
- According to the 2021 Sprout Social Index, increase in brand awareness (58%) and community engagement (41%) are the top two social media goals for brands.
- Other common social media goals and objectives include lead generation, increase in sales, acquiring new customers, improving customer service, and driving traffic to the brand website.
- CoSchedule demonstrates how brands can connect their business objectives with their social media goals in the image below:
- Consistent branding is essential in order to build a strong brand, create brand awareness, and increase brand loyalty. This has been identified as a social media best practice by Sprout Social, FreshSparks, RingCentral, CoSchedule, and CMSWire.
- Brands need to ensure that their username, profile and cover photos/imagery, bios and descriptions, logo, color palette, taglines, and tone & voice are consistent across all of their social media accounts.
- Consistent branding ensures that the brand's identity is uniform across all platforms.
- Adobe is an example of a brand that uses the same username, logo, banner/imagery, color palette, and tagline across all of its social media accounts including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- According to Evyenia Lyons, VP Marketing at Traackr, "It is also critical that brands have a clear sense of their tone and what types of content are authentic to their brand voice."
- Tone and voice convey the brand's personality and the types of words it uses to communicate with its customers. A brand's tone and voice can be serious, formal, funny, sarcastic, or informative.
- According to CoSchedule, "Finding your voice is key to connecting with your audience. Why? Because people like brands they can relate to and that understand their needs."
- Khoros opines that maintaining a consistent tone and voice can help brands stay true to their values and be recognizable in their industry.
- Mailchimp's content style guide contains well-defined voice and tone guidelines. The company's voice and tone are humorous and informal.
Understanding the Audience
- Different social media platforms attract different types of users. Millennial and Gen Z consumers are more active on YouTube and Instagram while Pinterest is more popular among women. This is why understanding and fine-tuning the target audience is essential for brands to make the most out of their social media strategy.
- This has been identified as a social media best practice for brands by Jungle Scout, Sprout Social, and RingCentral.
- Jungle Scout suggests conducting research to gather information about the target audience so that brands can determine what, where, and when to post to reach the target customers.
- Sprout Social recommends creating audience personas or marketing personas for each social media channel in order to personalize content for different audiences. Brands can do this by segmenting their overall customer base by the social media networks they use.
- Chipotle uses this strategy to connect with a specific audience on its Instagram account by sharing memes.
- Chipotle's senior manager of social and digital Candice Beck says, "Currently, we use memes in our day-to-day content as well as paid social media. We think about memes as a way to both relate to our customers and tap into specific insights, sometimes even trolling ourselves. We also use memes for social listening as a way to unlock new insights."
Optimizing Post Frequency and Timing
- Optimizing the frequency and timing of posting content on different social media channels allows brands to increase their reach. Khoros suggest leveraging social marketing analytics and data to understand content performance and user engagement based on frequency, time of day, and location, among others.
- Brands can also look into the post frequency and timing of their competitors to see what works best for their target audience and industry.
- The key is to find the right balance between post frequency and engagement.
- Posting too much can cause more harm than good. According to Sprout Social, posting too frequently "accounts for 34.9% of all unfollows."
- On the other hand, brands can lose 17.9% of followers if they are too quiet.
- CoSchedule analyzed more than a dozen social media studies to identify the best days and hours for posting content on different social media platforms.
Using Scheduling Tools and Calendar
- Most brands today use social media calendars and content scheduling tools to plan and automate social media content and reshare it at optimal times. Some examples of these tools include Zapier, HootSuite, Buffer, CoSchedule, and Sprout Social, among others.
- HootSuite claims that eight in ten Fortune 1000 companies use Hootsuite for social account management.
- Planning and automating social posts saves time, ensures consistency, and allows brands to share content at the right time.
- Brands can also use a long-term calendar to notify their audience about deals and promotions during seasonal sales such as Labor Day, Mother’s Day, and Cyber Monday.
For this research on best practices on effectively managing a brand's social media accounts, we leveraged the most reputable sources of information that were available in the public domain including Sprout Social, FreshSparks, RingCentral, and Khoros, among others.