In today’s world, if you are not on social media, you are simply out of the loop. Social media is the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to connect with your target market (depending on your business, your business goals, etc.), and yet, it is often the most overlooked and misused tool. Frequently, brands leave social media management to a secretary, a friend or our favorite response yet, “my team member who really enjoys Snapchat.” And while these people may be perfectly capable of posting to your social channels, an intentional and impactful social media strategy takes commitment, not just basic smartphone know-how.
Know Your Networks
There are over 200 active social media networks, and that number is growing every day. But don’t worry, we aren’t suggesting you make an Elftown account and begin acting like a mythical woodland creature (unless you are into that sort of thing). There are ten major players in the social media world, and knowing which ones your target audience is engaged with will save you a lot of wasted time and energy. Of those ten major players, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are leading the way in terms of active users. Meanwhile, LinkedIn rules the business-to-business market, and Twitter has become the political news network—so choose your platform wisely.
Walking a Fine Line Between Under-sharing and Over-sharing
Posting content frequently and consistently is important to stay relevant and remain top of mind, but over-sharing may turn people off, depending on your target audience, goals and objectives. So, how do you find that delicate balance between being irrelevant and spamming your audience? Based on a study conducted by CoSchedule.com, we recommend that all businesses post at least three times per week, and at most, twice daily.
Take our Client and friends at Florida Skin Center, for example. They follow this social media routine for services, events, specials and more. As a result, traffic has steadily increased at all of their locations, and organic social media has complemented a paid strategy quite nicely, in terms of website conversions and online store sales.
Posting too many times per day can look “spammy” and cause people to unfollow your brand — except in extreme situations. For example, during Hurricane Irma, the American Red Cross posted 25 times per day, and its target audience appreciated this necessary content regarding a pressing matter.
The time of day you share content will also impact the amount of people you reach and the engagement your posts will receive. Depending on your business model, you may address different target audiences by posting at different times of the day. Utilize available resources within your social media channels to determine audience insights, as well as track reach and engagement. Take these audience habits into consideration to schedule future posts at optimal times. If you are lost, each of the aforementioned channels provide various analytics tools to help narrow your audience and better your message.
So, although there are guidelines that businesses can follow, those guidelines depend on the content itself and the context of that content. But the key is to keep the content schedule consistent, so that target audiences can begin to expect that schedule and rely on your business. And most importantly — know your business, despite platform differentiations. Twitter may recommend 15 tweets per day, because each one is short-lived, but that rate may not be realistic for a small company. As long as you convey that to your target audience via consistency, your business has every opportunity to thrive on social media.
Getting the Most Out of What You Post
According to Adweek, you have between 1.7 and 2.5 seconds to grab the attention of users as they are scrolling or “thumbing” through their newsfeed. This means your content needs to stop users in their tracks. Here are a few suggestions to make your shared content eye-catching, relevant, valuable and engaging:
- Images and videos should follow your brand’s style guide, so that your content is recognizable and memorable. Imagery should contain little to no text, be sized according to the platform and be relevant to the message. Videos receive a great amount of engagement on social media and should be used whenever possible and appropriate. In case you were wondering, HubSpot defines a style guide as a rule book for the composition, design and general thematic look and feel of brand collateral. This includes the logo, fonts and color schemes, as well as the tone and manner of accompanying copy.
- Do not only talk about yourself! Provide value to your audience by sharing a good mix of industry-related articles, helpful tips and light-hearted content, along with business-branded and promotional content. What you find funny, others may not, so be careful.
- Take note of what your audience is responding to and guide your strategy based on results. Post engagement builds upon itself and allows you to reach more people. This is where the aforementioned analytics tools come in.
- Utilize relevant hashtags and tag people or pages mentioned within your post, when appropriate. These in-content tags allow users outside of your page audience to find your content when it relates to their interests, expanding reach and existing audience numbers. Remember, a hashtag is a metadata tag used to identify content relevant to a topic and find additional content related to a specific interest.
- Encourage engagement through thought-provoking questions and clear calls to action. People love talking about themselves (especially on social media, even when it comes to posts that refer to your business), and you can use this to your advantage by asking users to share their thoughts, images and experiences that relate to your content. Create clear and direct calls to action in your content by providing a click-through link, phone number or additional contact information.
Do not just post content for the sake of filling a newsfeed. Always share content that has an intentional purpose and will provide value to your audience.
Still need help navigating the rough social media waters? Connect with Spiro & Associates to develop your social media strategy or manage your social media presence on a full-time basis.
Patricia Crump is our social media/digital marketing specialist at Spiro & Associates. She leads a team of social media gurus and has a diverse digital marketing background. She and her team develop, execute and monitor social media, digital campaigns and ads across all platforms for the Agency and its Clients. Their primary platforms include, but are not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn.