Social media can be one of the easiest, cheapest, quickest, most effective tools in your marketing arsenal. There are many different platforms to choose from, depending on your product or service, and the customers you are targeting. It’s not necessary to try to juggle them all, but rather understand which platform(s) best reaches your audience and focus your efforts on doing it well. You don’t want to waste your time and energy on a platform that won’t reach your customers.
So, who are you trying to reach? Where are they spending their time on social media? What are their needs? (Whitneyssocial.com has a helpful infographic of social media demographics for 2020, shown to the left)
Once you’ve determined which platform to devote your attention to, you can get started.
What content to post.
First and foremost – do your research! Know your audience and their needs, and tailor your content to meet their needs and interests. Be relevant and make sure you are reflecting your brand. Ask open-ended questions to get to know your followers better and encourage engagement. Be consistent. Follow the 80/20 rule: your social media is one of the cheapest, simplest ways to build personal relationships with your customers and followers. To stay personable, try to keep promotional posts to only about 20%. The other 80% should be fun, personal posts (behind the scenes, featuring stories or highlighting people), helpful resources and information about your industry, etc. Share your story (or someone else’s), behind-the-scenes, tips and tools, tutorials, advice, memes, inspirational quotes, milestones, achievements, positive reviews from customers, blog posts, live updates of events, launch a product or service, share company announcements, etc. The possibilities are endless!
Take advantage of keywords to improve your SEO by using hashtags in your social media posts. Keep them simple, consistent, and relevant. Don’t hashtag every word in your post. Research and find out what hashtags are trending – beware your posts getting lost in the sauce when a hashtag becomes too popular. Keep an eye on the competition and number of posts per hashtag. Use different hashtags during the week to compare which do better.
Hashtags are especially valuable for using Instagram. They provide free advertising and bring potential customers to your page. Referencing the funnel (shown left from Thepreviewapp.com), it’s beneficial to use a good mix:
- Industry: general, high competition tags
- Niche: specialty, less competitive
- Brand: good way to make connections/get featured
- Community: low-to-medium competition, engage
- Location: great for local businesses/travel
- Event/Celebration: low-to-high competition, news-based
All that said, avoid using too many hashtags (especially the high competitive kind or repeating the same tags over and over) or your posts will look spammy.
The most effective post.
Your content should also be specific to the platform you are posting on. Posts shouldn’t look identical across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Facebook posts should include a call-to-action, at least one image or video, use 1-2 hashtags, and tag people, locations, or pages.
Instagram is a visual platform, so posts are about the photo. Make sure each image flows well and makes sense on your page, be consistent. Use hashtags and tag locations to gain traffic, but don’t #hashtag #every #word or try to replace quality content with them. They should supplement your post, not take over. Use your stories and highlights features and keep them organized.
Twitter is fast-paced, news-driven, and limits how many characters you can use, so keep tweets brief, use hashtags, and posts with an image tend to get more traffic.
LinkedIn is used by businesses, recruiters, and professionals, so naturally it’s busiest during work hours mid-week. Posts should be simple, with proper grammar and spelling, and the content should position your company as thought leaders. Use keywords, post regularly, and look professional. Plan out updates, articles, insights, and posts to share based on what is trending in your industry.
The best times to post on social media.
Not all times are created equal. Your posts will get more traffic and more engagement if you take advantage of prime time:
Facebook: 1-3 pm Thursday and Friday and 8-10 pm Saturday
Instagram: 3-4 pm Monday
Twitter: 12-6 pm Monday – Friday, lunchtime is best
Pinterest: 8-11 pm Saturday – Sunday
LinkedIn: 7-9 am & 10-11 am Tuesday – Thursday
Google: 10 am Monday – Friday
You should also be tracking your own content and review periodically to see what days and times work best for your posts.
Don’t spam your audience! You don’t want to burn your audience out and have them hit “unfollow” because you’re posting too often. You also want to post often enough that you stay relevant and fresh on followers’ minds. There’s a sweet spot to hit that falls somewhere along these lines:
1-3 times/day on Facebook. 10-20 times daily on Twitter. 10-30 times daily on Pinterest. Once a day for LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google (Source:the30MinuteOnlineMarketer.com)
Schedule content & use a calendar.
Create realistic monthly goals and plan content based on the goals you want to achieve. Don’t waste your time on what isn’t working or helping you achieve your goals. Create a calendar template or use a spreadsheet – there are lots of free options for templates out there using sites like Pinterest and Canva. Research, write your posts, design your content and images and share accordingly. Use your calendar to track what & when you have published on each social channel, and track engagement. This will help you plan future content that resonates with your followers.
To keep up with posting regularly or on multiple platforms, consider using a scheduling tool (like HootSuite). There, you can create your content and schedule ahead of time to take advantage of prime posting times.
The work’s not over: Respond & Engage.
Be social! Once you’ve published content, you’ll need to monitor your social media accounts to interact with your followers. Check your mentions, reply to comments and messages in a timely manner (even if just to say “Thanks for the mention/add!”). Talk to people and be personable. Your social media accounts become an extension of your customer service, so it’s imperative that you respond and take any complaints offline with, “I’d be happy to help resolve this for you! Please send us a private message so we can look into this issue further.”
Share others’ content, follow back, comment and like posts from your peers, partners, followers, and influencers and build those relationships!!
Monitor your analytics.
Analytics lets you know how you’re doing and helps you find what works best and what doesn’t using measurable data. Some things to pay attention to: impressions, reach, likes and dislikes, shares, clicks, reposts and retweets, new followers, inquiries, page views, website visits, mentions, organic clicks, top posts, and downloads. You can typically find your analytics or insights on each platform (as long as you’re using a business page/manager) or using your scheduling tool.
Audit your social media pages.
Social media is rapidly growing and changing. What works this week may not work next week, so it’s important to keep up with your metrics and make adjustments when necessary.
Ask for help.
We get it – managing your social media can get overwhelming. Maybe you don’t know where to start. Maybe you have too many platforms to juggle and you’re not sure where to best invest your limited time and resources. Maybe you’d just like to have help creating content or getting your followers to engage more. Maybe you’re not sure how to claim or set up your pages or read your analytics. Whatever you’re struggling with, we can help! To learn more, reach out to the Martin & Company team via our Contact Us form at Martincoadvertising.com or call our office at 615.876.1822.