It may be hard to believe, but worldwide social media has yet to celebrate its 20th birthday. Facebook was launched in February 2004, and its less-successful predecessor, MySpace, was launched only six months previously, in August 2003. This was arguably the advent of ubiquitous, global social media, but it’s so recent, even many of today’s young social media users were there to witness it.
A parade of other social media services have come along since, some of which have been massively successful. These include Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok. Other platforms didn’t fare so well. A few that did not survive (but that you might remember) are Vine, Google+, Friendster, and Orkut.
Online gurus could argue that social media is much older than it may seem. The Washington Post once proclaimed Morse code is the great-great-great grandparent of social networking. Older Internet users will tell you that all of today’s social media is merely an outgrowth of text-based services of the early 1980s, such as modem-accessible bulletin board systems (BBSs) and the discussion groups of USENET. Your parents (and maybe even your grandparents) might recall the social-media-like amenities of the 1990s, such as online chatrooms and detailed user profiles, which were offered by early Internet service providers like America Online (AOL) and CompuServe.
Still, a Pew Research Center report from 2019 states that 72 percent people in the United States were using the available social media sites of the time—more than 7 in 10 Americans. Use of Morse code and AOL chatrooms never reached that level of saturation. And in 2021, Entrepreneur Magazine stated: “As of 2018, nearly 97 percent of all Fortune 500 enterprises use at least one social media platform to promote their initiatives and foster positive communication with stakeholders.”
And so this brings us to the thesis of this topic—you should be using social media to improve your organization, and if you’re already doing that, you could be doing better.
And so without further ado, here is a three-part article encompassing 50 (yes, fifty) tips from around the Internet to improve your business’s or organization’s use of social media.
1. Define your goals.
From social media booster company eClincher (EC) comes emphatic advice that you carefully consider and define what it is you want your social media presence to do. This advice was echoed in many other articles, usually as the first or most-important tip. For example, if you want your social media to increase sales, you must use your platforms to develop leads and then convert the leads to sales. New followers and more likes won’t necessarily increase sales. Your social media plan and execution must match the goal.
2. Use high-quality media.
EC recommends the use of high-quality photos. This includes the technical aspects (e.g., resolution), but if possible, your photos should be professionally shot, too. But don’t stop there. All of your graphics should be of high quality—your logos, flyers, etc., should be pro-grade, produced by a pro. EC also suggests that you use imagery whenever possible—some people won’t even stop on your page unless there’s something graphically visual.
3. Tell the world exactly what you do.
Fill out all portions of your social media’s informational inputs, and be clear what it is you’re offering. Then remind users of your role in their lives using your posts and comments.
4. Use keywords, keywords, keywords (and hashtags!)
Hopefully, you’re intimately familiar with the buzzwords, hip terms, and keywords of your industry, field, or region. If not, employ some online expertise, secure the keywords that matter to your organization, and deploy them frequently and effectively. This includes hashtags! These weird little words, always preceded by the pound sign or “hashmark” (#) can be immensely powerful in grouping content and allowing your potential customers and clients to find you.
5. Create problem-solving content.
Your customers have problems. You have the solutions. You know this, but they might not. Your products or services fulfill their needs and wants, so create narratives that illustrate this. Depict their problems, desires, and needs, then depict your company or organization solving their problems.
6. Be active on social media.
This might sound like a no-brainer, but in this final piece of advice from EC, the recommendation is to not just post often, but become a citizen of your social media world. Lead discussions on other sites, like, share, and follow relevant content, and respond to the comments left on your site—be present and visible.
That’s it for this first part of a three-part article. In the next two parts, we’ll collect and dispense more advice from experts Internet-wide.