Sure, content is the fuel you use to engage your key targets, but understand that it has a time and place. Force it down your audience’s throat and it’s sure to back up on you. Especially when embracing a strategy for social media, you must not appear too often—and not at all if you’re not bringing value to the table. People aren’t expecting you on their social media platforms. They want to hear from their friends and family, not get a sales pitch.
To make a positive impact, your content must be interesting and relevant—wherever it appears, but especially when it aims to be “social.”
For example, let’s say you sell pens. The value you share on social might be showing how your pens are enhancing the lives of school girls in Africa. These school girls might have no tools for writing if not for the pens you donated. This sparks in the viewer’s mind, afresh and anew, the power of a single pen to ignite learning and feed the imagination.
These same pens you sell might also be able to write when held upside-down. Share a clip of scientists in a non-gravity situation being amazed at this unique feature of your pen and how it supports their research activities.
Once in awhile, if you throw in a soft promotion, your (now) appreciative fans won’t be bothered too much. Some marketers recommend a 4-1-1 strategy, whereby for every four value-added posts you share, you are allowed one midlevel (solutions focused) promotion and one hard promotion (a demo, perhaps).
Setting your cadence
So, now you know not to post if you don’t have anything of value to share. Next, think about what you hope to accomplish with your social presence. Typically, objectives align with stages of the customer life cycle, so might include: increasing brand presence, establishing thought leadership, announcing new products, acquiring new customers and the like.
Within your organization, you might want to create an electronic form that anyone can use to request promotion of a particular event or announcement on your social platforms. The information would then automatically populate a document that the social team would review, and then be added, where appropriate, to an editorial calendar. Now you have a big picture view of upcoming posts and can set your cadence accordingly.
Thanks to research, the posting frequency for brands on various social platforms has been established: On Facebook, for instance, you can post twice per day before likes and comments begin to drop off. For Twitter, feel free to post more often; engagement decreases just slightly after three tweets. Companies that increase blogging from three to five times per month to six to eight times per month nearly double their leads.
Which social platform for your business?
Keep in mind audience expectations for the various social platforms.
Facebook is best for fun and entertaining content. You’ll need a mix of lighthearted, ungated (without a form as a barrier) content and more educational, gated content.
Twitter is used more for breaking news as well as for daily musings on pop-culture and industry news. It’s highly interactive, so maintaining a presence here is time-consuming, requiring continual “favorite”-ing, retweeting and responding to tweets.
LinkedIn is the premier professional networking site, so postings should share informative and educational articles; it’s also a great recruiting channel.
For social media platforms that rely heavily on images for communication, such as Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat, more posts are OK; test audience reaction to between three and seven posts per day.
You want to be where your users are, so do your due diligence to discover the social media sites that your key targets favor. Overall, a good number of consumers can be found on Facebook. In fact, Pew Research shows that 71 percent of adult Internet users are also Facebook users. Globally, there are more than 1.59 billion active users and 1.44 billion active mobile users on Facebook every month.
Twitter had 320 million monthly active users as of December 2015. Additionally, it drove 1 billion unique visits monthly to sites with embedded Tweets.
LinkedIn has more than 400 million members in over 200 countries and territories.
Many of these social media platforms have capabilities that overlap and will continue to evolve to improve the user experience. What’s most important is that they allow existing and potential customers to engage with your brand on a trusted, popular platform, and to see their network of friends and family interact with your business. This creates a scenario for building stronger, more authentic relationships with them.