Social Media Best PracticesSocial media provides companies with a unique and valuable opportunity to positively impact their business by connecting with customers, generating content to support their brand and participating in conversations about a variety of trends and topics affecting their industry.

While establishing, developing and maintaining a successful social media program can be a challenge for companies of all sizes and types, certain strategies and behaviors can drive desired results and even improve a business’s bottom line. No matter what AEM member company you work for – be it large or small – the following social media rules apply to you:

1. Have a goal in mind  and work toward it. – Establishing a desired outcome and developing a path toward obtaining it is a critical first step to take before assuming any task. Without a goal -- and plan to achieve it -- how can your company expect to measure the progress of your initiative? Just as important, though, is determining a goal that’s measurable, attainable and is aligned with other organizational goals and objectives.

2. Establish your voice – and stick to it. – Your company’s social media presence should be a reflection of its culture, values and norms. Presenting a true and accurate portrayal of your organization via social media helps your audience (and ultimately your customers) gain a better understanding of your business’s brand and what your company has to offer them.

3. Be consistent. – Remember that goal you had in mind? It’s little more than a pipe dream if your company isn’t consistently putting in the necessary time, effort and resources to work toward achieving it. It’s critical to keep at it over the long haul, otherwise your efforts will quickly lose momentum.

4. Know what is and isn’t working – and act accordingly. – Is your company’s social media initiative yielding positive results? If so, keep doing what you’re doing. If not, then take the time to determine why and then adjust. Nothing good comes to those who wait to adjust their processes when things aren’t going their way.

5. Always know what your competitors are doing. – It’s critical for your company to determine how its social media efforts stack up against those of its competition. What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? More importantly, what can you learn from them? It goes without saying that what you take away from answering those questions can give you a considerable leg up on your rivals.

6. Engage with purpose. – The point of being on social media is to be, you know, social. Taking the time and putting in the effort to connect with others is key for your company in efforts to establish or enhancing its social presence. Anyone can post something a handful of times per day, but those who mix it up by starting conversations, responding to feedback and embracing other ways to engage can truly stand out among the crowd. Just be smart about what’s said (and who your company engages).

7. Keep it simple. – Nothing good ever comes from trying too hard, so don’t overthink things. Being strategic has its value, but your company shouldn’t stray too far from its established social media voice, nor the plan that’s in place to achieve it. 

8. Make it easy on yourself. – There are a wealth of tools and information available to help your company establish, improve or enhance its presence on social media. Through a bit of trial and error, your company can find tricks, tips, devices and more to use to your advantage. Be patient and find what works. It’ll pay dividends eventually.

9. Address negativity head on. – It goes without saying that not every one of your company’s interactions on social media will be a positive one. And that’s fine, but don’t make the mistake of ignoring negative comments or feedback. Accept it, absorb it, process it and respond to it in a professional manner.

10. Measure, assess and repeat. – Progress and improvement cannot be measured without regular and effective evaluation. Being able to accurately assess how your company’s social media efforts are going is almost as important as the efforts themselves. Be honest, be thorough and use the findings to drive improvements. 

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