To ensure your social media marketing strategy works, there are several best practices you’ll want to follow. These tried-and-true best practices have been used by the leading brands and can help your startup or small business thrive on social.

Diversify Your Content

Diverse content is just as important as regular content. If you’d like to keep your audience engaged, provide them with a variety of posts that help sell your products or services and position yourself as a leader in your industry. Consider a combination of how-tos and quick tips, polls, questions, contests, announcements and industry news. Also, make sure your content is in a variety of formats, such as images, videos, live streams and online stores.

Be Consistent

Each social media platform comes with its own voice and environment. However, your brand and identity must remain the same, regardless of where you post. If your brand is fun and trendy, for example, convey that message through your posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and any other platforms you utilize.

Engage in Conversations

Don’t overlook the importance of conversing with your audience. Pay close attention to the type of users that engage with your content and engage back through likes, comments and shares. To try to spark conversations and set up polls, live streams and live questions. You can also host contests and giveaways.

Take Advantage of Content Creation Tools

To hook your audience on social media and gain loyal followers, you’ll need to post photos, videos, infographics and other compelling visuals along with text. If you don’t have the luxury of an in-house graphic design team to create them, don’t worry. There are plenty of content creation tools, such as Canva and Freepik, with templates that make it a breeze to create visuals quickly and affordably.

Use Hashtags

A hashtag is a word or keyword that precedes the hash symbol and is used within social media posts to help users find topics that interest them. By using hashtags in your posts, you can increase visibility for your brand. Let’s say you sell accounting services. Several examples of hashtags you might add to your posts include #CPA, #taxseason and #accounting.

Repurpose and Recycle Content

If you already have some content that relates to your brand, there’s no need to start from scratch. You can and should repurpose content you already have. For example, take a customer review and highlight that customer on Facebook or Instagram. Another idea is to share articles from your website’s blog or press release section.

Use Analytics To Measure Success

You won’t be able to determine whether your social media strategy is successful unless you take advantage of analytics and track data. Each social media platform has its own analytics features but you may also invest in a social media analytics tool to track all platform data in one place. You’ll be able to track clicks, comments, reach, engagement rate, impressions, shares, saves, video views, follower growth over time, reactions and more.

Explore Paid Social

If you have room in your marketing budget, it’s worth your time to try paid social ads. You’ll be able to position your ads in front of users who may be specifically interested in the types of products and services that you offer. You can start with Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads, Instagram ads and Pinterest ads.

Be Patient

Results from social media marketing won’t happen overnight. But with patience and consistency, you’re bound to succeed. Just be sure to target the right audience, post intriguing content and converse with your followers on a regular basis.