It’s funny to think that not all that long ago social media was just a half baked idea. Facebook Profiles and Insta-stories weren’t common lingo – or even a social expectation. Over the past decade, the landscape of social media has changed, and it’s made an indelible mark on the world at large.
So it’s no surprise, the way brands and organizations interact with their audiences, the way they market themselves, and the channels they’re utilizing to make an impact have changed significantly. It was the dawn of digital marketing.
Seven years ago, before ‘Social Media Specialist’ seemed like a legitimate job, I was in charge of posting for my family’s business and populating their Facebook, Blog and Twitter with relevant content, funny updates, and photos of my choosing.
Someone told me I could get paid for that kind of thing – but I brushed it off. There was no way someone could get paid just to hang around on social media all day , posting, cruising, commenting and engaging.
I didn’t think it was a skill people paid for. Social networks are one of the fastest growing industries in the world, with a project 25% annual growth over the next 5 years according to GrowthGurus.com Joke was on me.
In 2017, it’s almost essential that brands leverage the power of social media. Large brands like LUSH Cosmetics and BEST BUY have whole teams dedicated to their social media presence and engagement.
And it’s definitely not just a matter of posting, cruising, and hanging out on social media channels all the live long day, lollygagging. It takes time, energy and strategy in order to really perform well and make a difference.
The Key Players:
Mark Zuckerburg’s brain baby continues to dominate as the most powerful social network in the world. With over 1.55 billion active users every month, it’s hard to push Facebook to the back of the stove. It’s highly recommended that all businesses – whether a startup or a global brand – are on Facebook and acti engaging their community there.
Twitter is the ultimate ‘in the moment’ platform. Quick, concise and the homeland of the hashtag phenomenon – Twitter came on the scene to give instant updates and became the preferred medium of journalists and media outlets alike. 255 million active monthly members can’t lie.
More than just a flourishing resource of babely selfies, and ground zero of the “social media influencer’ trend, everyone’s clucking about Instagram as it’s steadily made its rise to total social media goliath. This visual platform has built a massive following by being a perfect example of the adage ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’
LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Google+, and Foursquare. More on those another day!
Making the Most of Your Social Media Channels
When it comes to making the most of your social media channels, there is one word you’ll hear repeated time and time again: Engagement. It’s common knowledge that you get what you give, and such is precisely the case when speaking to social media. Being active on and interacting with your audience is key.
The tricky thing is, every social media channel has its own unique user behaviours. Therefore, if you’ve got an excellent strategy for social media, what might drive big results on Facebook, won’t earn the same return on, say, Twitter. And to complicate things further, each has optimal positings times. To really stand apart from the crowd, you need to invest in a plan that caters to each medium.
Let’s Talk Facebook Engagement:
When it comes to Facebook, better engagement and building a strong community around the your brand begins with showing your personality. This relies heavily on projecting a consistent voice. Using consistent entertaining and/or valuable content you can showcase your brand identity.
Asking followers questions, and using fill-in-the-blank posts is another way to encourage followers to engage actively. While almost painfully obvious, asking for Likes can be effective effective.
Love your followers, recognize your loyal brand followers, tag them and share their content. Sharing is an effective way to build relationships with influencers and fans. If it is not Metrin related, but is useful content for your community, you can share it to provide more value to your audience.
Sunday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the best times to post content, with engagement between 18-32% higher on those days utilizing optimal posting times. Alternatively, 3pm is also a good time for posts for Monday – Wednesday.
Engagement is generally 3.5% lower between Monday and Wednesday, so try to ensure your favourite content and favourite photos align with the the optimal days for posting to increase reach.
3pm typically generates the most clicks, while 1pm is more likely to garner shares. Source: CoSchedule
Let’s Talk Twitter Engagement:
Twitter is another matter. To increase engagement on Twitter, it is important to be consistent with posting and create social opportunities to answer questions from your audience. Asking your audience a brand related question, and replying with your expertise creates instant value for your Twitter audience.
Retweet your loyal brand followers, and other users posting positive tweets about you. Follow people by searching relevant hashtags to your brand. You can also, similar to Facebook, retweet relevant and valuable information from influencers and other brands that will provide value to your audience.
B2C businesses perform 17% better on weekends. Optimal times for postings are altered for the Twitter platform. Twitter users are 181% more likely to be on Twitter during their commute, and are more prone to be active on Twitter during lunch breaks at noon. Source: CoSchedule
Let’s Talk Instagram Engagement:
To increase engagement on Instagram, you can take advantage of popular hashtags. Make a habit of searching for people who are mentioning your brand and use the Repost app to re-gram your brand mentions, and ensure they are tagged in your post.
You can increase your visibility by liking and commenting on prospective customers that align with your target market. Comments are more likely to get noticed and is most effective in getting users to check your account and follow, so take some time each day to reach out and engage the greater Instagram community. One comment a day can work wonders. Like and engage with your existing audience consistently.
You can connect with businesses and influencers by using the location feature on each post, as well as geo-tags. Make sure you tag your models, as this will spread the reach of the post and encourage their networks to follow.
Instagram audiences are more engaged throughout the week, with Mondays showing a boost in attention. Mondays and Thursdays are the optimal posting days, and best times to post are 8-9am and 5pm. Content should be posted during off-work hours during the work day, aside from peak times. If you are posting video content, interactions are 34% more likely. Source: CoSchedule
It Ain’t Easy Making Friends
We believe that any brand or organization can use social media to their benefit. However, it looks deceptively fun but it is often hard work. You’ll need a couple hours a day dedicated to your social media channels depending on your goals. But it will definitely pay off if you have a good strategy in place and stay consistent.
There is no insta-cheat to take you from 100 followers to 100,000 followers. The onus is on you to make your page, channels and feeds a home for your audience. You’ve got to give them what they want, and make your brand worth caring about.
A great place to start is exploring some of the social media tools that will make the workflow so much smoother. Hootsuite and Buffer are two prime examples that can take the edge off of scheduling your posts for prime time, so you don’t need to rely on someone to have their cell phone handy at any given time.
Planning makes perfect – if you want to get started on the right foot and are just at the beginning of making the most of your social networks, create an editorial calendar that will outline what you’re posting and when. That allows you some freedom to create content ahead of time, and easily organize it into a posting tool like Hootsuite.
We do Social Media Training, Communications Plans, and all that jazz. You can come hang out, sit down, and learn some great tips. We’re here if you need us.
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