Top 12 Social Media Best Practices 2021

Here’s what we’re taking into the New Year when it comes to Social Media Best Practices for 2021.

It’s almost time to say goodbye to 2020. For many, this year has been a dumpster fire. But marketing professionals like you have used this year to your advantage.

You’ve learned how to rethink your strategy on the fly, optimize your approach and pivot to push your businesses forward.

We’ve learned a lot this year too and we’re ending this year much stronger than where we started it.

Due to the circumstances of 2020, we saw a lot of people go online to work (and play). You would be surprised by how much things have changed when it comes to social media.

Here are our Top 12 Social Media Best Practices for 2021.

2021 Social Media Best Practices

1. Pattern Interrupting

Social media has conditioned us to think and act in a certain way. In Neuro Linguistic Programming or NLP, this certain way is called a pattern.

The pattern that most social media users fall into when they are engaging in social networking can be described as an unconscious scrolling through the newsfeeds. This strolling pattern continues until and unless they see something that interrupts their behavior.

In NLP, an interruption that breaks a certain state or habit is referred to as a Pattern Interrupt.

As a marketer, you need to learn to use this technique to help your users snap out of their self-induced social media hypnosis and pay attention to you.

If you start 2021 doing the same thing you’ve always done (creating content for the sake of creating content to post on social media), then you’re going to see your numbers continue to decline.

2021 is the year to break the pattern.

2. Work With the Algorithms

Don’t try to work against or around the algorithms. And don’t try to beat the algorithms. 2021 is the year to start working with the algorithms.

This is actually quite simple if you understand what the social media algorithms are designed to do.

Hint: They actually want the same things you want. To make more money.

Algorithms are designed to keep social media users engaged on their platforms. The more attention they capture and keep, the more money they make. Come to think about it, the more attention you capture and keep, the more money you can make too.

You see, no one is going to buy your product or service unless you first have their attention. So if you create content that captures and keeps your potential customers’ attention, then you win (and so do the algorithms).

This is true because we live in an Attention Economy. We did a whole show on this subject. In it, we reveal the formula for creating content that garners attention.

3. P2P

We use a lot of acronyms in business. B2C. B2B. But to do social media effectively in 2021, you need to understand P2P or Person-to-Person.

You have to think Humans Over Logos.

Even the world’s largest brands hire spokespeople to represent their brands. And that’s because the best way to connect with human beings is through another human being.

The time of faceless social media accounts is coming to an end. The pandemic of 2020 has only accelerated this outcome.

People want to do business with people they know, like and trust. The quickest way to get people to like and trust you is to put yourself front and center, over and over again.

By doing so, you can take advantage of Familiarity Bias.

Familiarity Bias is a psychological phenomenon whereby you tend to develop a preference for things merely because you are familiar with them. In other words, the more people see you, the more people like and trust you.

4. Beware the Negative Snowball

The largest snowball ever recorded was rolled by students in Michigan. They started with a single clump of snow and ended with a snowball 32.94 feet in circumference.

In the same way, the mistakes you make in social media penalize you a little bit here and a little bit there, but over time, these penalties snowball leaving you cold and bitter.

Fact: The more content you distribute that people don’t engage with, the less likely your future content will be shown to your visitors.

This is true because we are living in an attention economy, and social media networks can’t afford to give you space to waste. If your content doesn’t capture and keep attention (consistently), then eventually you’ll be left with nothing but a big wet mess.

5. Master One Network

In previous years, we advised clients to distribute to as many networks as they could manage. We developed evergreen content, then we broke it up (Gary Vee style) into chunks that could be distributed across the web.

While that’s still a good approach, you shouldn’t be thinking about mass distribution if you haven’t mastered targeted distribution.

If you could only produce content for one social media network in 2021, what network would that be? The answer is different for every business. It all depends on where your true customers are hanging out.

In 2021, we want you to double down on whatever network that is for you. Master that network. Become a thought leader on it. Own it. You get the picture.

Beware of sunk cost fallacy when it comes to social media distribution. Just because you’ve invested a lot of time, money and energy into a certain channel, if it hasn’t brought in the results you need for it to bring in, then don’t be afraid to cut it.

This also goes for any up and coming or currently hot channel. Don’t get distracted. Stay focused on the main thing – the main network – master it, then (and only then) broaden your horizons.

6. Prospecting vs. Nurturing

Social media advertising is a great way to generate leads, but the way you buy media should change according to your objective.

As a marketing professional, you have to test and be aware of the most cost-effective digital media buying strategies.

For instance, Facebook can really blow through your budget if you have the wrong objectives set. If you are prospecting for leads, then you should utilize conversion objectives. However, if you are nurturing a predefined list or retargeting list, then your advertising objective should be to reach as many people on the list as you can within your budget.

In 2021, you have to be smarter with your advertising dollars. 

You can’t afford to spend $$$ without seeing a return. Take the time to invest in understanding digital media buying rather than just boosting for the hell of it.

7. Treat Each Network Differently

We say this every year but after the year we just had, we know 2021 is the year to start taking our advice seriously.

This means you are not allowed to repost from one network to another. This means you are not allowed to blanket blast the same content to all your social media accounts with an automation tool.

In 2021, social media is getting even more personal. Brands that jump in with two feet will be rewarded. Choose the one or two networks that matter most to you, and make a decision to really, truly engage on them (refer back to #5).

While we believe that evergreen content can be remixed and cut so that your production is more efficient, we are no longer advising that you repost the same snippets on each network.

In 2021, it’s time to give each network the attention it deserves.

8. Open vs. Closed Networks

An Open Network is a social media network or internet website that provides access to its content without making you login. For example, YouTube and Pinterest.

A Closed Network is a social media network or internet website that requires you to login to see content posted on the network. For example, Facebook and Instagram.

When you think about distribution of social media content, you have to consider whether the network you are posting on is open or closed.

If it’s closed, then you shouldn’t post third party links, i.e. any link that takes the user away from the network. Just because it’s your Facebook page doesn’t mean that it’s okay to post a link to your website. This is how you start the snowball (see #4).

9. 90/10 Rule

We’re going to keep this one simple. Ninety-percent of the organic content you put out should be engaging and non-promotional. No exceptions.

10. Use Stories

Stories are short-form, short-lived videos that exist on networks like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

In 2021, smart businesses will find ways to utilize stories on the social media networks that matter most to them.

Think through ways your profiles can remain front and center for most of the day. Rather than posting ten stories back to back, spread these ten stories over the course of 24 hours.

Remember, not all of your customers are on their social media accounts at the same time. Ditch the multi-posting strategy of 2017 and replace the effort by creating content for stories.

11. Go Live with Offers

We’re really excited about “going live” for small businesses looking to drive immediate results in social media.

When you go live, your live post is promoted to your followers that are on the network at that moment. But remember, not everyone is online all the time. So be aggressive.

While staying true to the 90/10 rule, test going live with your promotional offer multiple times a day. Use this as your 10%.

Use your conversions as your measuring stick rather than how many people tuned in live. You may only see a few people tune in, but if you’re making sales then it’s working.

To engage FOMO, your live offers should be scarce and timely. If it’s something they can come back to next week, then they probably will just wait. Give them a reason to act now.

12. Ask for What You Want

Finally, ask for what you want.

If you don’t ask, you won’t receive.

We see this as a universal principle. It’s universal because it works universally (for the positive and the negative).

After all, if you don’t ask for what you want, you won’t receive what you want. Make sense?

The #WeAreSlam Show is a digital marketing podcast where you’ll learn marketing trends, best practices, and ideas to help your business or brand grow.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency, the show exists to help marketing professionals, directors, and executives grow their brands and reach their customers in a more effective way. The #WeAreSlam Show is released weekly and featured on all popular podcast and video networks.

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