After consulting with many small business owners over the years, I have successfully managed to create a list of what I consider to be the best 45 rock solid best practices for using social media to promote your business, build a community of happy customers and brand champions.

45 rock solid best practices to help kick your social media marketing plan into overdrive

  1. Make sure you have a well-written profile or bio. This is often either overlooked or incomplete. Remember this is your opportunity to tell people all about YOU or your business.
  2. Create a content calendar to plan & schedule your posts.
  3. Have a strategy.
  4. Write a blog. A blog can help showcase your expertise, offer solutions and should be the hub of your social media presence.
  5. Encourage people to share your posts
  6. Include relevant links to your other social media sites. Let your clients, customers, and anybody else know how to connect with you on other social channels.
  7. If your audience is on Facebook than you should be on Facebook. If they are on Twitter then you should be on Twitter.
  8. Always let people know how & where to connect with you.
  9. Cross-promote your social media sites. Let your Facebook & Twitter followers know how they can find you on Google+, Instagram & Pinterest.
  10. Have a professional looking profile picture and cover photo (FB, Twitter, G+). If you want to be taken seriously as a business, then you have to start playing the part. Make sure you look professional. Having a business means having a professional looking brand image.
    1. Brands – If you are doing business as a brand feel free to use a logo for your profile image
    2. Individuals – If you are a consultant use a professional looking image of yourself.
  11. Make sure your brand looks and feels consistent across all brand touchpoints & social media sites. Use the same logos & colors to make it easy for people to find you.
  12. Don’t mix business and pleasure. It is a good idea to keep personal pages separate from your professional pages.
  13. Let people know how to get in touch with you off-line. Include your email address and relevant phone numbers.
  14. Use relevant hashtags in your posts to allow people to follow the conversation or content.
  15. If a hashtag doesn’t exist, create one.
  16. Encourage people to follow your hashtag
  17. Use bit.ly to shorten any links you need to post and share. The analytical data they give you is well worth the price of free.
  18. Claim your local directory profiles.
  19. Optimize images for each network (size matters, especially for mobile phones and tablets.)
  20. Do not repeat the same content on each social network. Nobody wants to see the same post on every social media site they follow you on.
  21. Post regularly and be consistent
  22. Post when your followers are likely to be online.
  23. Continually strive for engagement.
  24. Ask questions.
  25. Have contests.
  26. Follow your customers, suppliers & competitors.
  27. Promote your clients content.
  28. Share industry secrets.
  29. Don’t spam! Post content that provides value to somebody.
  30. Don’t always talk about yourself. This annoying and gets old quickly. Trust me we know how great you are.
  31. Post original content.
  32. Post other people’s content (also known as curated content)
  33. Always give credit where credit is due.
  34. Comment on other people’s posts. Even your competition.
  35. Include CTA (Call to action)  when you want somebody to take the desired action.
  36. If you are a business make sure you add your location to your profile.
  37. If you want to get someone’s attention share their content or mention them.
  38. Strive to become the expert or authority in your particular area or expertise.
  39. Don’t post anything as a business or brand that does not add value or build your brand.
  40. Follow the five steps of engagement. Listen, engage, respond, promote, repeat.
  41. Be authentic.
  42. Become a trusted source.
  43. Be Human.
  44. Don’t take the comments personally and always respond to any comment promptly.
  45. Share, Share, Share

Do you have a best practice that is not on the list? Would you care to share? I look forward to your thoughts below.