You know you should be using social media to establish your brand and engage your audience. But do you know which channels will best support your content or what type of results you should be looking for from each platform? Maybe that amazing infographic you posted on Facebook isn’t being shared as much as you expected. Perhaps a quote you tweeted isn’t sending you much web traffic. Are these even the type of results you should be looking for?
Figuring out where to publish your content is key to defining your brand’s image and engaging more of your audience. But to accomplish your marketing objectives, you’ll need to first clarify what those should be on each social platform.
First, Determine Your Objectives
If you’re not clear about your marketing objectives, you’re shooting in the dark. You need to know which platforms suit your image, which will broaden your reach and where your target audience spends most of their time. You’ll then be able to determine which channels to spend your time on.
Here we’ll look at the six major social platforms, focusing on which channels suit different marketing objectives, what type of content suits each platform and how to use each channel more effectively.
With more than 70 percent of Internet users on Facebook, and around 70 percent of these using the site daily, it’s still considered by many to be the most popular social network. However, it’s important to remember that, like traditional mediums, there are some forms of content that will drive engagements, and others that will likely only collect tumbleweeds.
Facebook is best suited to B2C companies looking to increase brand awareness and engagement, especially for local audiences. It has a very broad demographic and companies can leverage giveaways or promotions to generate a lot of buzz and follows.
Brands that can associate themselves with personal, emotional stories, testimonials and community involvement also tend to see a larger spike in social interaction than those that don’t. To build loyalty, focus on creating conversations based on what interests your target market and don’t be afraid to ask them for feedback!
Top tips for Facebook success:
- Post more visual content – 93 percent of posts with the most engagement are photos.
- Using emoticons will get your posts more likes.
- Thursdays and Fridays have 18 percent more engagement than other days.
- Question posts have twice the engagement of non-question posts.
- Use Facebook’s advertising program for paid support and greater reach.
Probably the best social network for public relations, Twitter is ideal for quickly delivering company news and information to consumers. It’s also ideal as a customer service platform, giving you the opportunity to learn about your customers via honest feedback and respond to customer questions in real time.
With no simple way to target different audience sectors (unless you use relevant hashtags or start paying for ads), it can sometimes feel like you’re throwing content into the wind. Nonetheless, if you’re targeting millennials (those born around 1980 to 2000), Twitter is a good place to reach them. Bear in mind, though, that many users who follow brands on Twitter are looking for exclusive offers.
Apart from promoting deals, use Twitter to keep people informed about developments in your industry and link to content that highlights your expertise.
Top tips for Twitter success:
- Tweets with images and hashtags can double engagement.
- Post statistics, quotes and links to reports and blog posts that are relevant to your audience.
- Tweet two to five times daily using a scheduling tool like Buffer. Don’t be afraid to tweet content from other influential people or brands if they support your content strategy.
- Show your personality! No-one wants to engage in a conversation with a Twitter robot.
- Experiment with paid support in the form of twitter cards or a sponsored tweet.
The go-to social network for professionals and B2B businesses, LinkedIn has over 350 million members. It’s one of the best networks for recruiting new employees and sharing business ideas and tips, but it can also be a great vehicle for generating new leads.
Around 80 percent of LinkedIn users are aged 35 and above, and they’re mainly looking for useful business information and advice in the form of long-form posts. Pulse, LinkedIn’s publishing platform, is a great new outlet for publishing long-form content aimed at executives, entrepreneurs, workers and people about to retire.
- Each post should focus on a specific topic that shows your unique expertise.
- Write interesting headlines, including industry keywords.
- Add pictures, videos, presentations and documents to your posts.
- Use the status update on your homepage to post shorter articles, images, documents and questions. You can also use the publish feature to post longer blog articles.
- Engage with those who respond to your content.
- Consider investing in paid support through LinkedIn’s sponsored ad program.
Although Google Plus has far fewer users than Facebook, being linked to the biggest search engine in the world offers outstanding SEO benefits. It’s also easy to publish various types of content and target specific audience segments. These two factors make it especially useful for local businesses, but it’s good for any business that wants to increase brand awareness, engagement and positive sentiment.
Around 67 percent of its users are male, with an average age of 28, and it’s popular with technically-oriented users like engineers, designers, marketers and IT professionals. The most popular forms of content are animated gifs (product gifs are popular), educational articles, images, quotes and questions.
Top tips for Google Plus success:
- Segment your audience using the circles feature.
- Write compelling, keyword-rich headlines for every post.
- To increase engagement, post videos related to your business.
- Link your blog or website to your Google Plus page and vice-versa.
If you’re selling physical products, especially for the food, fashion, home furnishings and DIY industries, you should use Pinterest. With around 100 million users, shoppers referred by Pinterest are 10% more likely to make a purchase than visitors who arrive from other social networks, making it an excellent P2P (person-to-person) platform for commercial gain.
Almost half of all women who are active online have a Pinterest account. In fact, around 85 percent of Pinterest users are female, aged around 30 to 50 years old. Seventy percent of users visit for shopping inspiration, and each pin results in, on average, two website visits and six page views. Also, 27 percent of users have purchased a product after seeing it on someone else’s pinboard.
As the platform is visually-oriented, posting attractive images is a must, but you can also post content from your blog, digital assets from your website (like guides and whitepapers) as well as infographics and videos. So you can show your products, but also demonstrate your knowledge – whatever is appropriate to your marketing goals.
Top tips for Pinterest success:
- Add text to images.
- Write keyword-rich descriptions and boards.
- Add a link to your pin descriptions.
- Don’t just show your product; show what people can do with your product.
- Post client testimonials.
- Share tips and inside knowledge.
- Tell your company’s story in pictures.
- Experiment with paid support through Pinterest’s promoted pins.
Like Pinterest, Instagram is for visual content. Accordingly, it’s ideal for showing the more fun and creative side of your business and interacting with customers. Because it’s an image and video based platform, food, fashion, design, technology and lifestyle industries are the perfect fit. Popular among younger users, 43 percent of mobile owners aged 18 to 29 are on the site, and over half of users access the site on a daily basis.
As well as showcasing your products, use Instagram to show people the less serious side of your business like behind-the-scenes photos and topical images. You can also boost engagement by holding photo contests.
Top tips for Instagram success:
- Spend time creating more interesting images to boost engagement.
- Use hashtags, and don’t be afraid to use a lot!
- Try Instagram photo contests – user-generated content is more popular.
- Use images that support your brand’s philosophy.
- Post on weekday afternoons and weekends for more exposure.
- Using a small budget to start, try boosting engagement through Instagram’s new advertising platform.
Like most online marketing strategies, it takes time to see positive results on social media, but it’s worth the effort. Once you’ve figured out the channels that best suit your marketing goals, plan your content strategy for each channel, and spend time listening to and interacting with your audience – it’s not called “social” media for nothing.
Instead of signing up to every platform, start with a select few that you can easily manage and build from there. For your first “push,” leverage your employees, top customers and your own personal network. As you get to know your audience more and better understand what drives engagements, you’ll have a much better chance at creating consumer advocates and achieving ultimate social media success!
Did we miss something? Leave us a comment on your top social tips!