Social media is ever-changing and ever-growing. Of course, this is true of the internet in general, but even more so when talking about social media. Facebook, Google+, Twitter and countless others are constantly evolving and changing based on their users’ reading, browsing and posting habits. Of course, this is good news. It does mean that social media will continue to be relevant in the years to come.
It’s also a challenge, though. The landscape is continuously changing, and that’s a fact. Sometimes it can feel like you’re in sinking sand and don’t quite know what to do in order to keep your public engaged. Well, fret no more! This is an exciting time for social media users and brands alike. Old patterns of user-brand interaction are breaking down and new ones, better ones, are emerging.
“Too many brands treat social media as a one way, broadcast channel, rather than a two-way dialogue through which emotional storytelling can be transferred.” – Simon Mainwaring
What follows is an inside look into how you and your brand can keep ahead of all the changes and be as relevant as you can be. It will help you better engage with your target audience, make sure that your followers see your posts, and that they reflect a good image of you and your brand. And, on top of all that, we’ve made sure to break it down into a handy, bite-sized list of 15 tips. So, what are we doing still mucking about with the introduction? Let’s get started with #1, shall we?
1. Don’t Broadcast, Discuss!
This is one of the most important rules of social media. And still, it’s one of the most neglected ones, as advertisers and brands with experience in traditional, one-way media have taken to social media.
Don’t just tell your audience a bit of news and leave it at that. Instead, engage them by proposing topics for discussion and answer as many of the questions and comments as you can. Take in and absorb suggestions. Social media gives you a huge opportunity to know exactly what people think, what they want to know and what they want to see you doing. Make sure you don’t squander that chance by giving them dry, newspaper-ad like content.
Do a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything). More and more artists and business officials have taken to this format in order to bridge the gap between their audiences. It’s a great way to let your followers know that you’re an actual real person, rather than a cold impersonal brand, that is doing something you’re excited about and that you want to share this with the world.
2. Don’t Ever Post “Like vs. Share” Posts
There’s a very unsettling trend amongst big brands. This is the “Like if you X, share if you Y” type of post. It’s a transparent ploy to increase your posts’ reach and everyone can see through it. All it serves to do is alienate those who see the post and, while it does increase post reach, to what end?
If you look at some brand pages, they’re only posting this type of thing. It’s reach for the sake of reach. It will just get more people to see your next “Like vs. Share” post, which will only make you look like an attention-grabbing brand.
Instead, post things your viewers might actually like and share organically. It’s like White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO. Of the two, Black Hat usually has better results in the short term, but, in the long term, the only thing that can boost client interaction is White Hat: good content, updated frequently. Stay away from quick fixes for your reach and instead focus on posting quality content. It will, in the end, triumph. And, most importantly, it will do so without making you look condescending and soulless.
3. Hashtags Are Your Friends
Not only does Twitter and Google+ support hashtags, Facebook has recently implemented a searchable hashtag service. So make sure to add targeted hashtags to your posts in order to increase your visibility and enhance your online presence!
4. Facebook Replies
Another recently added Facebook feature is replies on pages. If someone writes a comment on one of the posts on your page, you, or another page follower can reply to that specific comment, creating a subthread for the discussion of that particular post. Use this feature to engage your users!
5. Twitter Trends
Twitter has introduced Twitter Trends for over 160 locations. This means that you can now see exactly what people in a certain area are talking about. This is a great tool to increase your visibility.You can now see what people in a particular area you’re interested in are talking about and you can generate some relevant content related in order to maximize your user interaction.
6. Re-post Your Content
When you’re linking to a blog post, an article on your site, a video you made or a product in your web store, make sure to re-post it from time to time. This makes sense, as it will increase the posts’ visibility and thus generate more traffic. It will make the post visible to more timezones (which can be an issue if yours is a global audience) and it will make sure it reaches new followers that weren’t around when you first shared it.
If your content is relevant (and it should be!), then, for the love of god, re-post it!
7. Post More on Sundays
Studies indicate that, while most people post on Thursdays, the best day to post new content is on a Sunday. As you can see from the graph below, the best day to post is, indeed, the last day of the week and the worst day to post new content is Friday. This makes sense, as people tend to stay in and check the internet more often on Sunday and tend to go out on Fridays. The rest of the week is pretty much even.
8. Keep It Short!
When writing for social media, brevity is key. Longer posts tend to perform badly. This is hardly news, as “tl;dr” has been a thing for years all over the internet and it’s obvious that once your followers see that “read more” button on any social network, they will probably skip over your post.
So keep your posts brief and engaging!
tl;dr: Nobody shares long-winded walls of text. What they do share is short, concise and interesting posts.
9. Share Content Throughout the Day
Studies have shown that the average life of a social media post is about 3 hours, out of which, the first one accounts for the most interaction. So don’t fuss about the best time to post new content. Just post frequently!
10. Twitter Keyword Targeting
Twitter has recently introduced keyword targeting to its ad platform. Now you have extra targeting at your disposal. For instance, if you’re posting an ad about, say, graphic design, people who post about graphic design will be more likely to see your ad. This helps maximize the impact of your ads.
11. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in the Social Media Basket
Social networking takes up about 20% of all the time people spend online. That does mean that you can’t ignore it as an advertiser or brand. Still, there’s another huge chunk that isn’t spent on social networks and you shouldn’t ignore that either. You need a website. Just relying on a social media profile is a bad move. So don’t make that mistake.
12. Get Your Followers to Recommend Your Brand
People trust recommendations from their friends more than they would an ad. That’s a fact. So what you want to do is get your followers to tell their friends about you. So you should probably spend less on ads and more on quality content.
13. Scheduled Posts & Tweets
Facebook and, more recently, Twitter, have introduced the scheduling of posts. This means that you can now plan a whole weeks’ worth of posts in a few hours. Don’t be afraid to use this great tool in order to maximize your impact.
14. Get a Verified Page
Facebook has now introduced a page verification system that allows users to discern the official page of your brand or public personality from the fake ones that are run by fans. You should use this feature in order to lend your page a little bit more authority. It will make a world of difference.
15. Twitter for Businesses
Twitter has recently introduced Twitter for Businesses. This is a website set up to help companies new to Twitter and ones that are already using it alike. It provides you with great tools that help you make sure that your social media practices are optimum and are generating as much visibility and user engagement as possible.
That pretty much wraps up our list of 15 tips. Now it’s your turn: what are your favorite social media practices and ground rules for social media content? Let us know in the comments section below!