It’s hard to think of any industry or vertical in 2018 (going on 2019) in which a business wouldn’t have some sort of social media presence, but it remains an area that is often under-utilised and regularly unoptimised in its usage. So, here’s five handy tips to ensure you’re getting the most out of your social media marketing efforts.
Don’t treat all social channels the same
One of the most important and perhaps misunderstood aspects of social media management is that not all social channels are the same, and if you treat them as such, it is likely your response rate and engagement levels are poor. For instance, if you’re using a scheduling tool to publish your social posts (and you should, see below!) you can post a single message across multiple platforms, and while this does increase your efficiency it’s not helping you maximise engagement with your different audiences.
You’ll also want to consider the different restrictions there are across channels. Twitter for example has a character limit on a tweet of 280 characters, a Facebook post can be 63,206 characters, while Instagram caps your caption at 2,200 characters and LinkedIn limits a company update at 700 characters. Then there are additional considerations such as how Instagram doesn’t allow you to post URLs, and the different ways the platforms display attached images. If you take all this into account when crafting a single message that meets all criteria, you’re limiting how effective your message will be.
None of this takes into account the different audiences and their usages for those channels. Facebook’s demographic places it as the social network of choice for more mature audiences but it’s not an overtly commercial platform – user intent typically isn’t a shopping mentality, its place for political soapboxing, humble brags and turn back time photos. LinkedIn on the other hand is your online CV and business networking platform, with a much more professional tone and users posting thought-leadership style content. Posting the same messaging to these two platforms is unlikely to have the desired effect because the audiences are quite different.
Focus on quality over quantity
A consistent stream of posts and updates is desirable, but you’ll be better served by focusing on quality rather than quantity when it comes to your social updates. If you follow more than a few hundred users on Twitter you’ll be aware how quickly your feed ticks over and fills with new tweets, which means the shelf life of your own messaging on the platform can be quite limited, making easy to fall into the trap of ‘spamming’ your message out there hoping to gain traction. Don’t do this. Instead, make sure the message you do craft is pertinent and to enable it to gain some traction of its own, use a relevant hashtag. It’s better to be found because someone was looking for #marketingtips than to be picked up by any Tom, Dick or Harry because you retweeted your message five times in the last two hours.
Use scheduling tools
Don’t get me wrong – it’s important to have channel and audience specific messages, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start the week by doing some bulk platform-specific scheduling. Social media management is a time-intensive role and stopping what you’re doing several times each day to send a message on LinkedIn or post an image to Instagram can really disrupt your workflow. Circumvent this by using a scheduling tool such as Hootsuite, Buffer, Twittimer or one of many others. Personally, I block out an hour or so each Monday to schedule a series of social messages across our different channels, and as and when I find new and interesting titbits during the week I can post them to supplement the scheduled activity.
Be active and engage others
To grow your reach and be successful on social you must actively engage others. This can take several forms – being proactive in responding to comments and @ mentions on your own posts, but also actively searching for conversations to join. One of the easiest ways to do this is to look for relevant hashtags, see what people have been saying and add your own thoughts. Equally, if you see something really interesting re-post it on your own account but namecheck and reference the original author.
It’s easy to let social become an echo chamber, so look for opportunities, groups or forums where your expertise can be of value to others and contribute.
Don’t expect conversions and an easily identifiable ROI
A common barrier to social adoption is that your MD or line manager needs to justify the investment of time and resource into social media marketing. They’ll ask you for an ROI (return on investment), or perhaps how many conversions the social activity has generated. If this is a problem for you, you’re not alone – 55% of social marketers acknowledge they struggle in providing an ROI for their social activities.
We’re not going to sugar coat this for you though – if you’re trying to generate conversions directly (and solely) from your social activity, you’re probably facing an uphill struggle. It’s unlikely that a potential customer seeing a social message of yours, their first interaction with the brand, will click and convert. However, a multi-touch approach in which your credentials and authority have been established over an extended period, which culminates in a social message promoting a conversion point, has a higher chance to resonate and deliver your desired outcome.
Your friend here is ‘expectation setting’ – identify and track micro conversions across from gaining likes or followers, to signing up for newsletters or video views – actions that denote increased levels of user engagement. If you’re able to assign those micro conversions a commercial value, even better, but the goal you’re looking to achieve here is being able to quantify social traffic behaviour against other website traffic sources such as organic, direct and paid. Being able to show improvements in the levels of engagement from social traffic, and/or that social traffic is more engaged than other channels, is the first step to quantifying its value to your boss.
So, there you have it – five considerations for you to maximise your effectiveness on social media. If you’d like to learn more about Fireworx’s social media marketing services, please contact Ross Miles on 01202 559559, or drop us a message.