With more than 3.48 billion active users worldwide, social media has become an integral part of half the planet’s personal and professional lives. While once used primarily for sharing life updates with friends and family, it’s now a main channel for business digital marketing efforts. Although over 70% of businesses are using social media channels, many are not using them to their full potential.

Adopting social media best practices will allow you to take your content strategy to the next level, increase brand awareness, and gain more active users. 

1. Social media trends 2021

Social media trends change as often as the weather, but some notable shifts are happening across all social media platforms this year.

The demand for more intimate and genuine interactions on social media is rising. Businesses must find ways to leverage private channels to connect with their consumers on a deeper level. While 52% of brand discovery is still dependent on public social media channels, it’s the one-to-one interactions that turn followers into loyal customers. 

Facebook Groups

Membership to private Facebook groups has hit over 400 million, up from 100 million just a few years ago. The “Close Friends” feature on Instagram stories and Instagram Threads allows the brand to create content that is only visible to chosen community members, creating a more intimate vibe.

2. What are the most popular social media networks in 2021?

When crafting your social media marketing strategy, you need to decide which social platforms you want to focus on. While LinkedIn might be the best for those targeting business owners, Snapchat could be a better option for those wishing to reach millennials. Here are the most popular social media networks and the type of audience you can reach with each.

a. Facebook

Facebook has the highest volume of active users, with over 2.45 billion people on the platform. Every business should have some form of social media presence on this platform since consumers often head to Facebook first if they are looking to contact a business directly. It offers the potential for both broad, public reach via targeted ads and lead nurturing in private groups.

b. Twitter

Twitter has 330 million active users, and although that’s less than Facebook, there is still an excellent opportunity for organic reach. It is best for businesses and brands related to entertainment, sports, or politics, as many users use this social platform to stay up-to-date on what’s trending and tweet their thoughts.

c. LinkedIn

With 310 million users, LinkedIn is a great place for brands to connect with business owners and entrepreneurs. If you’re a SAAS business, or a business coach, there is huge potential to connect with your target market on LinkedIn. Like Facebook, this social media platform allows you to create and join private LinkedIn groups to build your community. 

d. Instagram

Instagram is a visual social media platform, and with 1 billion users, it provides a great opportunity for product-based businesses and influencers to thrive. If you can visually showcase your product or service, then using Instagram can help you reach your target audience through image and video content. You can also take advantage of the shoppable posts, allowing users to click directly to your online store through your feed.

shoppable post

3. Social media best practices 2021

When you’re crafting your digital marketing content strategy, use these social media best practices to optimize your reach and build strong relationships with your audience.

a. Encourage and reward engagement

By rewarding engagement within your social media community, you can encourage your followers to share your content across their personal social media networks. Not only will high-engagement and social shares boost your SEO, but 90% of consumers believe brand recommendations from their friends over advertisements. That means it’s more effective to your social media content strategy than solely posting on your business page.

b. Document your social media strategy in an editorial calendar

Strategically-crafted content is an integral part of digital marketing and is the primary factor that will determine if your social media campaigns succeed or flop. Creating an editorial content calendar will allow you to strategically plan your content in advance, including the images and videos, captions, hashtags, and channels you want to post on. Another benefit of a content calendar is that it allows both your sales and marketing teams to collaborate on posts. With your two teams aligned, you can generate up to 209% more revenue from marketing.  

c. Post when you can engage with your followers and influencer accounts

While the time of day that you post on your social media profiles has an impact, it’s more important to post content when you are available to be active. Ideally, you’re posting engaging content, which prompts immediate discussion in the comments. Almost 40% of social media users expect a response to a question or comment within 30 minutes of posting, and if you miss that window, it could hurt your reputation.

d. Use tools to increase organic reach

There are many fantastic tools available that can help you reach your target audience through your social channels. Social media scheduling tools like Hootsuite and Buffer allow you to effectively manage your social media campaigns and curate content for maximum reach.

Social listening tools, like HubSpot and Awario, are handy to help you locate customer reviews and feedback, mentions of your brand, and analyze relevant keywords to assess which ones drive the most reach. 

Engagement-based loyalty tools, like Spitche, can help you turn your community into brand ambassadors and encourage them to engage with and share your content, giving you a massive boost in organic reach. Reward your community for their engagement and you’ll not only give them an incentive to post, but you’ll also make them feel valued and appreciated.  

e. Create separate accounts for separate languages

Your social media profiles reach a global audience, and you don’t want to risk losing customers just because your content doesn’t translate accurately. 72.4% of consumers say they are more likely to make a purchase if the information is in their language. Translation tools are not always reliable and can often make your brand look unprofessional if they don’t make sense. Use analytics to identify who’s viewing your content and create separate accounts for those demographics. You can post the same content but use a professional translator to ensure the translation is accurate.

f. Create educational content for your users

The primary purpose of your content is to provide value to your audience. If they’ve made it to your social feeds, they want to learn about something new. They aren’t there to be sold to, but they want your help making purchasing decisions. Your content is an opportunity to show your audience what makes you an authority in your industry and share your knowledge and advice. While ultimately the goal is conversions, you need to build trust within your community first, and the conversions will come naturally. 

g. Encourage user-generated content

Social media best practices will always include user-generated content. 85% of users consider user-generated content to be more persuasive than content posted by the brand itself. Encourage your audience to post photos with your product or videos about their experience. 

User generated insta post

Creating a brand hashtag will also help others to find your brand and allow you to check out what your audience has to say about you. Offering rewards for those who post user-generated content, such as discounted products, will also encourage them to post.

h. Encourage your employees to share on social media

Your employees know more about your business than anyone, making them the perfect candidates for brand ambassadors. By encouraging employees to share content related to your business, you can boost your organic reach exponentially. Even if 3% of your employees share company content, they can increase the engagement on that content by up to 30%.

i. Slide in DMs

Reaching out to your target audience privately via a direct message is an effective way to spark their interest if done effectively. Make sure that you do your research and find users who align with your brand. Don’t start sending out DMs to random people who have nothing to do with your industry. When you do slide in, illustrate your value and how you think your product or service can benefit them. It also never hurts to compliment them on one of their recent posts, or their products if they have any.

Each social media network is different and offers unique potentials to increase brand awareness and connect with your audience. By understanding these social media marketing tactics, you can begin to implement them into your digital marketing strategy and start building engagement.