Posting to social media professionally is a skill, and these tips will help you handle it like a pro. Whatever brand you're representing, your job is to make them look good. Not just good, but great. You want them to seem "cool," "hip," and "in the know." On the contrary, you don't want the company to look like they are trying too hard— kind of like that one friend's dad who thinks his kid's friends are his friends (awkward).

My experience with social media extends beyond my personal account. I help run my school's Spoon accounts and also work for a local restaurant running their social media pages. This has given me ample opportunity to both learn and grow in my social media experience.  Here are some insights and tips to running a social media account for either your club, a business, an internship, or just building your personal brand.

1. Spelling

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Tarra Rotstein

Everything has to be spelled correctly, period, end of story. Oh wait, what if you're trying to make a joke, like a pun? Just make sure you are spelling it in a way that the majority of people will understand. Parenthesis are your best friend here. It helps the reader see the pun or joke. Spelling the word correctly goes beyond just spelling, it also has to be the right word for that caption. 

2. Grammar

Tarra Rotstein

Grammar is huge. This goes beyond spelling and using the correct there, their, or they're. This is the nitty gritty of "does the apostrophe represent multiples owning something or one owning something?" Comma splices may seem like a lame subject, but as a follower, we can definitely tell when an account doesn't check their captions before they post. Word flow is key to a great caption or tweet. If you read the statement out loud, you will be able to tell if the statement is flowy or choppy. Grammar is essential to ensuring your audience respects your social media account. 

3. Content

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Tarra Rotstein

Content is important when formulating the caption or tweet. "What is it trying to achieve?" is the best question to ask before posting anything. Are you trying to get more followers, charm up business, or shout out a great deal or company? Make sure the mission of the caption is clear, but not too obvious.

Social media can have a big impact on what people eat. Many people in college are endorsed by brands and it's so obvious they want you to buy from a specific company. Their pictures and tweets all of a sudden go from personal experiences to promotion codes. This leads to my next tip.

4. Ambassadors

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Jessica Spivok

Stop selling a product if you're an ambassador! Unless you're the business itself, don't make it so obvious. Sure, you can post the code at the end of the tweet or caption, but why is this the product people should buy and what has it done for you? Honesty is the best policy in these cases.

If the protein powder you're endorsed by is bland, suggest a recipe for how you make it tastier. You could even say how less flavor means more room for adventure or less calories overall. Promote the positives while still being honest about the negatives. After all, the company is asking for you to promote their product in a genuine way, not in a way that sounds like an advertisement.

5. Politically correct 

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Tarra Rotstein

Is my caption inclusive, relatable, funny for all, and appropriate? This is one instance where I can second-guess myself a gazillion times! If you're like me and second-guess your jokes or relatable posts, phone a friend. Literally screenshot the potential caption or tweet and send it to your most politically correct friend who will give you the honest answer.

Also, this is a time to consider your audience and the demographic that you're reaching out to. A statement about the hard college life is probably not relatable on a professional Facebook, simply because the age of the people using Facebook the most are older people. If you can't figure out if the caption or tweet or post is appropriate, it's better to be safe than lose a potential customer, follower, or friend, so don't post it. You can just have a mini laugh session with yourself about it.

6. Images

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Tarra Rotstein

Images are what Instagram is mostly made of, and since a picture is worth a thousand words you've got to get it right, making sure the picture is suitable for the audience. The type of picture and what is happening in it is important to the overall purpose of the post. The quality of the picture is huge, no one wants to see a poorly centered image or one that's blurry. Quality, appropriateness, and relevance to your purpose—pictures are vital.

7. Voice

What does your voice sound like? High? Low? Who cleared their throat to check? Voice goes back to the middle school times when teachers would ask what voice the author is using. Do you post in first person, second person, or do you talk about yourself in third person? Not only the point of view, but what kind of language do you use? Are you family-friendly or have more of a college-age feel?

These are all things to consider when creating and running social media pages. Included in the voice of an account is the sincerity that comes across with it. Does the account seem relevant to the demographic? The voice of accounts can be different on each social media platforms. The reason voice is so important is it builds consistency.

8. Frequency

Tarra Rotstein

How often you post will be different for each and every account. Personally, I feel that you should have no more than three Instagram posts per day. That is a max, not a minimum. You want to keep your accounts looking up-to-date, but followers do not have to see your account handle several times a day. Oftentimes that will look like a scam, or maybe that the account has been hacked.

Twitter leaves some room for more posting, but unless you have diehard news for your followers, Twitter does not need to be filled with your tweets all day long. Consistency is important. You need to keep your followers thinking about you, but not annoyed by your account.

9. Planning

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Tarra Rotstein

Planning, planning, planning—did I mention planning? Planning is so important. It ties in all of these tips together. I personally take an hour or two out of every Sunday to plan all of my tweets (praise Tweetdeck), Instagram, and Facebook posts. Tweetdeck allows me to not be using my phone at the wrong times. This allows you to get yourself organized and keeps you from scrambling around all week to find things to post.

It also maintains consistency in the voice, picture quality, and frequency. This also can allow you time to think of better captions for the Instagram posts if you know what the picture will be already. If you plan out your posts, it allows you to have a second look at the posts and caption to make sure they are politically and grammatically correctly.

If you are now controlling your club’s, work's, or a professional social media account, you have some insights and tips. Don't forget that Google can be your best friend in all of this crazy social media marketing mess.