During Q4, and especially during the holiday season, social media channels become a crowded place. Brands, big and small, are all trying to show up in front of their customers. This year, we want to give you some tools to prepare you for the battle to the top of the feed, and to gain some major ground in the algorithm.
There are many best practices to follow to help the algorithm work for you, but we know, as a small business owner, you may not have the time to research and implement all the new social media tools to grow your engagement. That’s exactly why our team of social media experts has picked out the best-working practices in 2021, plus some new features you’ll want to get ahead of.
Here are 20 social media tools, tips, and best practices to use this holiday season:
Consistency was placed first for a reason. Using a consistent posting schedule helps train your audience to look out for your posts. As Meta for Business suggests, “[post] consistently throughout the busy season,” as it’s likely the algorithm will reward your account for doing so.
2. Instagram Collaboration.
Instagram Collaboration is one of the latest tools designed for growth on your page. Partner with another account to post the same piece of content on both of your accounts, and share exposure and engagement.
To learn more about Instagram Collaborations, check out our blog post, “Instagram Collaboration Is Here (And It’s Time To Grow Your Account)”.
3. Facebook Reels.
We also bring up Reels in #7 below, but Facebook Reels, in particular, is a new avenue for posting short-form video on your page. Since using new features is often rewarded by the algorithm, and videos are known to be the best-performing content on Facebook, it’s a win-win!
4. Engagement Stickers in Stories.
Engagement stickers encourage your viewers to pause on your content and interact with your account. These are great for creating an interactive viewer experience, which shows the algorithm that your viewers engage with your content.
TIP: Two of our favorite engagement stickers for retailers are the Question Box and the Poll sticker. Use them to involve your customers in-store merchandising, picking favorites, and asking them questions about what they prefer.
5. Instagram Effects.
Using Instagram Effects is a fun way to engage with your audience and help you show up in Stories and Reels. In the Instagram Effect Gallery (found by scrolling all the way to the right of suggested filters when posting a Story), you can search for and save effects that relate to your field. Or try seasonal effects to focus content on connection and having fun (and less about selling).
Learn how to search and save effects by watching this 4-minute training video.
6. Carousel Posts.
Carousel posts have been some of the top-performing posts on Instagram for the past few years. Keep your customers on your content longer by including up to 10 images or videos in a single post. This will stop the viewer’s scroll by providing what’s similar to a mini slideshow!
7. Weekly Reels.
Posting weekly Reels on both Facebook and Instagram can help you grow your account and raise engagement. Short-form video is one of the top-performing content types in 2021. Film a quick and easy video that’s under 6o seconds while producing great results for your social accounts.
TIP: Post unique Reels to each platform. Avoid posting videos that include the TikTok logo on them to your Instagram page.
8. Instagram Guides & Facebook Albums.
Organize your content into easy-to-browse folders for your viewers to enjoy. Instagram Guides and Facebook albums can help your page visitors find previously viewed content more easily and allow them to view it over and over again without scrolling.
9. Storefront Images.
Sharing storefront images helps familiarize your audience with your business location so shoppers can easily recognize it before visiting. Help your store become a familiar sight by sharing storefront and new window display images often (we recommend once a month).
10. Engagement for 15 minutes before a post.
This engagement tip will increase interaction with your community right before a new post of yours goes live. When liking and commenting on followers’ posts, they’ll be notified of your interaction—which can draw their attention to your account. Have you heard the expression, “The more you give, the more you receive”? We believe this applies to engagement on social media.
11. Use the Correct Amount of Hashtags.
Instagram made an announcement that the perfect amount of hashtags to include in a post is 3-5, and to include them in a caption. Follow this best practice to allow your post to get discovered on the explore page, as well as by Instagram and Facebook users that aren’t following you… yet!
TIP: Be sure to use hashtags that relate to the post or your business. The algorithm will pick up on hashtags that have nothing to do with your post and may harm your chances of discoverability.
12. Place Ads in Reels Placement.
Instagram and Facebook users are spending hours a day browsing short-form videos on Reels. Show up in their scrolling time by placing a short-form video ad in Reels.
Learn how to place ads in Reels in our blog post, ”Advertise Now In IG Reels Through Facebook Ads Manager”.
13. Facebook Lives.
There really isn’t a more candid way of reaching your community than going Live on Facebook and interacting with your followers in real-time. We suggest going Live at least once a week to talk about new arrivals, share store updates, give store tours, and answer any questions from your audience.
14. Advertising Most Recent Posts.
At Crystal Media, our Ads Managers love to run an ad called Most Recent, which is always swapped out for the latest content posted on a page. This ad (with an engagement objective) is great for making sure all of your content gets well-deserved eyes on it. If you spend time creating and posting the content, you might as well spend a few dollars to get it seen by your audience.
15. Story Highlights.
We recommend posting to your Instagram and Facebook Stories several times a day. On Instagram, you can extend the life of your 24-hour Story indefinitely by saving it as a Story Highlight. Meta for Business suggests that you create Story Highlights for gift guides, ordering tips, and gift wrapping services to keep viewers informed of what you’re offering up this holiday season.
16. Weekly Posts About Store Hours and How to Shop.
Keep your viewers informed on how to shop with you and when to visit your brick-and-mortar location. Nothing is more frustrating than showing up to a store with the intention to shop, only for the store to be closed! Share your store hours and ways to shop your store on your Stories as well as in your About and Bio sections.
TIP: The post can be something as simple as a video of you or a team member sharing your store hours, or even a photo of your store hours sign!
17. Link in Stories.
The Link feature is now available to all Instagram users (instead of only those with 10K or more followers). The Link feature is found in Engagement Stickers on IG Stories, previously called the Swipe Up feature. Be sure to include a few links in your Stories per week to give viewers the option to upgrade from Story viewers to small business supporters!
18. Trending Audio.
Use one trending audio clip in a Reel per week and watch your views soar! This is a great engagement tip to give your Reel its best chance at going viral! Keep an eye out for the upward arrow icon beside the audio of a Reel (this indicates that the Reel is going viral), and save this audio to include in your next Reel.
19. Collecting Reviews.
With an increase in foot traffic and website visits, Q4 is a great time to collect reviews on Google My Business. Encourage happy customers to leave a review of their great experience with a simple request and easy, how-to directions to do so, both in-store and on social media.
Check out our blog post, “5 Ways To Generate More Customer Reviews”, for strategies and content ideas to gain quality reviews quicker.
TIP: Reviews make great social posts—just copy and paste them into a graphic for Facebook and Instagram. Fill your feed in January and February with rave reviews collected during the holiday season.
20. Show Your Faces!
We saved the best for last! On the top of our wishlist this year? To see the business owner’s face more often on social media. People love buying from people, and with big box stores doing their best to sell to social media users, take the opportunity to remind your customers they can choose to support real people in their local community by shopping local!
TIP: Show up in all sorts of content types—from Reels, Stories, Images and Lives—to be the first smiling-face business owner your viewers can look forward to buying from in their social media feeds!
What I Want You To Take Away From This Blog:
- Consistency is key to social media success. Be sure to post frequently to build a faithful community.
- Use new features to help get your content rewarded in the algorithm.
- Focus on creating a connection with your social media followers; it’ll actually help you sell. Selling doesn’t always have to be obvious.
- Short-form video is a great way to gain new followers and build a stronger bond with your existing community.
- Create entertaining and educational content that includes people for best results.
Okay, over to you…
These social media tools and best practices are listed to help you achieve social media growth, community retention, and product sales. Implementing a few of these suggestions per week can help you build a stronger and better-performing social media strategy.
Comment below to let us know which of these strategies you’re most excited to put to work!
How about some fresh, new content ideas to go along with these features and best practices? Check out our Instagram Guide including 100 Content Ideas for Retailers!