Picture of Lily Meyers
Lily Meyers

Helping Small and Medium Businesses Achieve Their Full Marketing Potential | Digital Marketing Expert

The Do's and Don’ts of Promoting Your Business Online

The growth of online promotion has soared over the past couple of years, with ads and paid sponsorships becoming the new norm. But social media etiquette is a concept that most SME’s are uneducated about, which can lead them straight into hot water.

Although an array of tools and templates have become available, they’re not always suitable for the type of content you want to make. This is why you’re going to need a fully-fledged plan that outlines exactly the outcome you want.

If you want to know exactly what and what not to do when promoting your business online, read on.

The Do's:

Know Your Audience

There’s nothing worse than an out-of-touch brand that posts irrelevant content aimed at the wrong generation. Not only does it become at risk of being mocked virally online, but it also simply gives the impression that you don’t care. It’s like a classic rock band releasing a trendy pop album- well-intentioned but completely missing the mark for their audience.

Lack of research and authenticity has never been so transparent in the world of social media, so make sure you stay afloat with all of the latest trends without being cringy. You can do this by keeping on top of each social media that you intend to use and see what’s trending. Not every trend will be suitable for your audience, so going into the comments or seeing who exactly is engaging is a great way to collect some data.

If you like an idea but it’s not quite fitting who you want to target, get brainstorming and see how you can change it into something more ideal for your customer base; you never know- you could start a new trend yourself! The best tools to get you started with this are the ones that provide you with the most information on your pages.

Sprout Social, for example, analyses page impressions and assesses content performance which is then presented in either a comprehendible format or you can custom make your own. This is brilliant if you want to tailor your findings to KPIs and sets you off on the right foot on what to do next. By having all your platforms managed in one place, you’ll be able to distinguish whether you have different audiences in different places and tweak your content accordingly.

Be Consistent

Did you know that consistent brands are worth 20% more than those with inconsistencies in their messaging?

Having multiple channels is good, but it gives you an extra responsibility to make sure that you’re exuding the same message across each and every one. This doesn’t mean posting the same style of content, but make sure that your tone is clear and leaves no room for misconception.

Poor messaging can lead to backlash and confusion between your brand and your customers, which can damage your reputation. Plan your socials well in advance, and make sure you’re keeping the same energy throughout. This can be easier done by creating a bulk of planned posts all in one sitting, so you don’t stray from your mindset.

Tools like Sendible will help you to stay on track with what needs to be published and when and organise your posting schedule for you. You can bulk make up to a month’s worth of content ready to go out, giving you a 30-day head start on what needs to be thought out next. You can also schedule multiple posts on multiple platforms, meaning all of your profiles are managed.

With that being said, real-time engagement is also incredibly important for creating a good relationship with your audience. Stay on top of this to establish a sense of community on your pages. Having established brand guidelines will also help to keep you consistent, and well-informed on language to use (and not to use!).

Track Your Efforts

Although eyeballing how well your posts are doing can give some indication of success, you should try to get some data down for reference. Using tracking tools and web analytics will help you to narrow down exactly where your content is hitting the right spot.

From there, you can try to predict what will be hit for your brand and how you can grow from your findings. It’s always a great way to measure your misses too, and make sure your brand is always putting out content that your followers will love and find value in.

But the beauty and curse of the online world is that a post can blow up on certain platforms simply because it has gotten more exposure than others, or it’s been seen by the right audience head-on. This shouldn’t be taken as a certain sign that similar posts will also do well, so test and trial multiple different posts over a long period of time. That way, you can rule out any blue-moon blow-ups and pinpoint where you’re going right.

Again, social media tracking tools are your go-to here, and you can refer back to real-time data that’s got everything you need to go forward.

Vocalise Your Brand

One of the most important aspects of creating your brand’s online identity is to make sure there’s a healthy back-and-forth with customers. If you want to engage with your audience more, the best way to do this is to involve yourself in some of the conversations they’re having.

You should also be timely with any comments or responses, especially if your answer can help others in your target audience. Approximately 76% of consumers value how quickly a brand responds. This doesn’t have just to mean customer service queries, but any positive comments from people who like the brand. You can also clear up any misconceptions. Depending on how you respond, it’ll show how much you care about your customers, and that you’re not under-prioritising them.

You don’t need to insert the brand into every online conversation, but it can be beneficial to see where your brand’s say would be valuable. Using social media listening tools will help you to identify the opportunities where listeners can learn what you have to say. It can also give insight into what conversations are becoming more frequent, giving you the chance to prepare any input before the conversations have begun.

Meltwater offers software that’s able to give you a real-time and historical overview of what the conversations are about. You can keep track of who’s mentioning you, as well as who’s also mentioning your competitors. This sneaky way of keeping score on what’s working will give you an advantage against your rivals.

The Don'ts:

Be Spammy

While regular posting is, of course, important, mass sharing, liking commenting and following can all result in you being mentally backlisted from a lot of potential customers. Having a brand flood your feed with overly marketed content that has little to no value or entertainment will get you virtually benched.

You also don’t want to post to all of your channels at the same time with the same content. If everyone who follows you has their feed overcrowded with your content, it can become very dull very quickly and will encourage them to unfollow

Hash-tagging can also make you appear desperate for media involvement, and while it’s a good strategy to get going with, you don’t need 100 at the end of every post. If you’re worried about how you’re coming across, there are plenty of email deliverability tools ready for you to take advantage of. Although you might not put all your eggs into email marketing, they can still be incredibly useful to help establish how to sound authentic and engaged.

Ignore Negative Feedback

Haters and trolls are still very much part of social media, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who has some criticism is one. If you get an influx of negativity, the worst possible thing you can do is ignore it. For the audience members who don’t understand why there’s mass criticism, they’ll be looking to you for an explanation.

You don’t need to be on the brink of cancellation to address comments like these. Nip it in the bud early and address them with professionalism. If there’s a dissatisfied customer, engage with enthusiasm about working together to resolve it.

Social media analytics can help you to pinpoint any immediate backlashes and bad reactions from your followers/ You’ll be able to clump together any similar dissatisfactions and conclude if it’s an easy fix or something you need to seriously rethink and get a plan in place about.

Rush Your Content

Shoddy social posting shows- and it’s clear when something’s been put out because of a deadline or just for the sake of it. This is why having multiple channels will come in handy and will help you manage your online presence better. If you’re working on a big piece of content but you know it won’t be done for a while, utilise your other options. Send out a tweet, or comment on some other content; you don’t need to wait.

It’s also incredibly off-putting when content has obvious grammatical errors. Always triple-proof your work before you press post, and if needed, get colleagues to have a read so there are some fresh eyes on it. Some platforms allow you to preview what it’ll look like once shared, but this shouldn’t be relied on.

Post on Polarising Events

With more than many movements having a huge platform on social media, it can be easy to fall into pressure posting, especially if it’s one of the hottest topics circulating. The last thing you want to do is limit your audience and create a precedence for your brand.

Know when to post on events with a positive message that everyone can agree on, but inserting yourself into a discourse that can divide your audience should be avoided at all costs. It can be hard, but comment chaos will do more harm than good and put you in a category that limits the growth of your business.

Finding the right direction for your brand will take time and vast amounts of research. Ultimately, your vision might chop and change as your audience begins to grow and demands flood in that you might not have prepared for. But following the rules of social media etiquette for businesses will guarantee you a solid base for blowing up your brand and giving it some well-needed exposure.

For more advice on how to promote your brand online, get in contact with us today.