Thanks to social, today’s marketing pros have the power to shape a virtual identity. Social media is the convenient meet-up for both personal and professional networking needs. It offers information sharing and personal connection.
Unfortunately, too many brands are fumbling their way through social without a strategy or a purpose. Whether you’re perfecting a company image, or your own personal brand, there are ways to be more relatable, and likeable, on social.
Below are three tips to make your efforts more focused, strategic and brand-centric.
1. Strike a Content Balance.
Finding the right mix of shares is not just about frequency. The most critical detail is your content blend. Because, in reality, people just want to talk to other real people on social networks. They don't respond to messages that seem automated.
Picture this: You’re conversing with new contacts at a local conference or event. Does that bright, brilliant personality translate to your social profiles? (The same goes for brands on social media.)
No business or person is one-dimensional, so your social profile shouldn't be either. When it comes to your shares, find the balance between the personal and professional. Spotlight your industry interests, as well as personal passions. Start by making a list of key traits that define you, or your company, and find articles that relate and agree with your values.
Another aspect to consider: Content type. Just like your blog, make sure you’re finding ways to share visual content as much as possible. Because in today’s social sphere, people want multi-media. In fact, visual social networks are growing at an astounding rate. Forbes recently reported (based on a valuation) that Pinterest is among the top four most successful social networks, following behind LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. And, according to GlobalWebIndex, "Instagram is growing the fastest of all social media sites worldwide."
A few experts doing it right on Twitter:
- Mitch Joel (@mitchjoel), Twist Image
- Lee Odden (@leeodden), TopRank Online Marketing
- Jay Baer (@jaybaer), Convince & Convert
- Sean Gardner (@2morrowknight), Forbes Social Media Power Influencer
- Scott Brinker (@chiefmartec), Ion Interactive
- Neil Patel (@neilpatel), CrazyEgg, KISSMetrics
- Paul Roetzer (@paulroetzer), Ready North (formerly PR 20/20)
2. Find the Right Time.
When’s the right time to post social updates?
Unfortunately, I can’t provide one precise answer because—here’s the frustrating part—there is no universal answer.
Studies are sometimes conflicting:
- Po.st found that social engagement is higher on weekdays (49% higher).
- SumAll.com suggested posting to Twitter between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., Facebook between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., Tumblr between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., Instagram between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., Pinterest between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., and Google+ between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. (These are based on Eastern Standard Time.)
- Fannit.com said to share on Facebook on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., or 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. They also found that Twitter use is best on weekends. (This information is “a general guideline for U.S. time zones.”)
- Addthis.com said the best time to share on Facebook is on Thursday between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. For Twitter, it’s Friday between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
The good news? You can still generalize based on aggregated data. Daytime hours are best for Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn, while visual sites like Instagram and Pinterest are more active during the evening. Note: Make sure you take time zone into account, especially for those businesses looking to reach international audiences.
But, to find a more technical answer, take matters into your own hands and track engagement with your own unique audience. Make note of those that perform best (i.e. most likes, clicks, comments), and the time at which they were posted.
From there, you can create your own custom schedule that fits perfectly into that of your followers and connections.
3. Connect with the Right People.
Last, but most definitely not least, make sure you’re reaching a targeted audience. If followers are wildly out of touch with your buyer personas, or industry influencers, then you’re probably sharing the wrong content at the wrong time.
Below are just a few ways to find (and be found by) the right people on social:
- Create or follow relevant lists on Twitter. Engage, respond and share pieces of content that come through these specific feeds.
- Use targeted keywords in your shares.
- Search popular hashtags to see who’s tweeting about your industry or topic at hand. (Hashtagify is a cool tool to pinpoint top hashtags, too.)
- Share popular, relevant articles and tag the author, or HT the person who shared it before you.
If you do it right, time spent on social media is valuable and impactful.
People care what their friends and family have to say when it comes to product and service recommendations, and social media has become the go-to place for brand chatter. “Digital word-of-mouth marketing is social media marketing,” according to Social Media Today.
And, a recent study from ShareThis and The Paley Center for Media found, “Positive online recommendations can boost the price consumers are willing to pay by an average 9.5 percent.”
Just imagine what that positive recommendation or buzz can do for your own personal profile. Not to be cliché, but the possibilities really are endless.