General advice for businesses posting to social media sites

Bruce WilsonPeople who have been posting to Facebook and Twitter for a while on behalf of a business learn certain tricks and truisms through trial and error, research, and chit chat with others involved in the business of social media. Here is some advice I recently compiled for a business on this topic.

Make it short. Blog posts may be long, of course, especially if they have good introductory paragraphs. But Facebook posts, like LinkedIn or Twitter status updates (which limit the number of characters you can use) should be headlines, using a few keyword-laden words to raise awareness and hopefully drive click-throughs.

Make it rich. Whenever possible, use pictures alongside Facebook posts. Pictures can be automatically inserted whenever you attach a link to a post (if you are linking to one of your own pages, design the page to make it easy to select a good image when you post about that page). Attach links whenever appropriate.

Tricks for shortening. You’re allowed 140 characters for Twitter posts, but plan to use only 120 in case people want to use old style RT (retweet) syntax or add their own comments to your post before re-posting it to their own stream. When you attach a link, use a URL shortening service like Bit.ly or ow.ly (which can be configured inside of Twitter clients like HootSuite) which not only saves precious characters but makes clicks on the links you post trackable.

Listen more than you talk. No offense to any PR people, but most of us don’t want to see a constant stream of press releases when we Like a business on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. Be generous instead. Think of your subscribers and the types of things that might interest them. Post questions that they will enjoy answering. Repost news or information from other sources that might interest them. Respond to their posts with appreciation for what they have said (your other subscribers will be impressed that you are “showing love” to your subscribers). Follow others, and sometimes share what they post.

Follow Friday. On Twitter, a great way to show love when you post to Twitter saying “#FF” and someone’s Twitter handle, you’re encouraging your subscribers to follow that person also.

Customize your home pages. This Mashable post by Matt Silverman (thanks, Matt!) discusses how to brand your YouTube and Twitter pages.

What other pointers do you have? Please share!

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