Any small business worth its salt has a social media presence today where they post articles, interesting blurbs, or new deals. And as social media plays a larger role in our lives, the consequences of social media mistakes can become more severe.

But just launching a Twitter account and posting a short blurb is no longer good enough as 2018 looms on the horizon. Social media is ever evolving, and platforms which were once viewed as the wave of the future such as Vine are now forgotten. Here are certain social media concepts businesses have to pay attention to today in order to attract attention and sales.

Don’t leave it to the Interns

Who actually runs your business’s social media account? Many businesses give that responsibility to some entry-level worker or even worse, an intern on the logic of “millennials are good at social media”. What they have actually done is the equivalent of shoving that intern in front of thousands if not millions of people, giving them a microphone, and telling them “good luck.” The business is then surprised when the young intern screws up.

Social media is about marketing, and requires an actual strategy just like any other facet of marketing. Your business would not let an intern manage its marketing department, so why you would let one manage your social media account? Have your marketing leaders both devise a comprehensive strategy and make them the ones who post on the company account. Social media has become too important to leave to interns and low level employees.

Pay for Advertising

Companies grew interested in social media marketing because it offered a way to advertise their product with minimal cost. Set up a Twitter account, make some smart tweets, and you can reach a global audience.

That is no longer the case anymore. The problem is that as individuals spend more time on social media, they gradually settle into social media bubbles where they receive posts relating to their direct interests. News media like Wired have talked about how these bubbles have contributed to political polarization. But from a business perspective, it means that it is growing more difficult to catch the attention of new customers within their bubbles. Furthermore, even your followers will miss most of your posts given the sheer amount of information out on social media.

Often, the only way to break into bubbles and attract the attention of your followers is to pay the social media provider. As social media continues to advance, the barriers for success and entry will continue to rise.

Focus on your Brand

Earlier in March, McDonald’s Twitter unexpectedly blasted President Trump, calling him according to The Hill “a disgusting excuse of a President” and wishing Obama was back. McDonald’s claimed that the company had been hacked and promptly deleted the tweet.

That tweet was terrible for McDonald’s not just because it was inappropriate, but because it did nothing to promote McDonald’s brand. Social media can be used occasionally to show viewers that a company has a human side, but the primary focus must be on promoting the SEO company brand. And in times which seem to be more divisive, it is best to project an attitude of unity over getting involved in contentious current affairs which risk losing large parts of your consumer base.

Mobile’s Dominance Continues

You should already know that any social media strategy must be mobile-focused, but you may not know just how dominant mobile is right now. AdWeek summed up mobile’s dominance by reporting that in Facebook’s last quarterly earnings report, mobile made up 87 percent of the company’s overall ad revenue.

Facebook’s mobile dominance is particularly important because unlike newer social media platforms like Snapchat, Facebook was developed before mobile social media existed. If Facebook can optimize itself for mobile, there is no reason for businesses to avoid doing the same thing. Content, whether through social media or on the company website, must be optimized for mobile.

Conduct Social Media Training

The tips listed here are just ways in which social media will continue to evolve, but there are plenty of other factors which must be considered as well. Chat bots, the growing importance of video relative to text, and the rise of automation are just a few trends which social media managers must keep ahead of.

But more than technology, social media managers must be trained, avoid pitfalls such as posting insensitive content or too many hashtags, and have a viable strategy. That requires training. There are plenty of social media training courses from places such as Lynda which can give managers further marketing and social media tips.

Social media is a field where a trial and error learning approach cannot work, and training will be more necessary as the field becomes more professionalized. Look to make sure that your social media managers are not just professionals, but have the right skills.

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Matthew Davies
Matthew Davies is a creative and passionate HR Director with 15 plus years proven experience up to board level in international and world-class corporations. He has had the privilege of working on a wide range of projects that have enabled him to apply his leadership and technical skills and he have proven expertise in managing change, business integration and outsourcing.

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