Social media tips for marketers
Wow! A traffic jam. Hundreds. No. Thousands of people eager to reach my website. How did I do it? Social media. A platform for promoting your brand. And… a unique place where you can listen, engage, and build relationships. I’m gonna share my 23 social media tips with you…
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Is social media a chore? Tasked to your intern? Your boss about to pull the plug unless they see an ROI?
Do you have any clue as to how much time people spend on social media every day? Talking to friends. Sharing photos. Ranting at companies. Reviewing products. Posting funny videos. Reading the news. Looking for jobs. Promoting brands…
In 2018, the average time spent on social media was 135 minutes per day. Now? I’m guessing we’re up to about three hours. Three hours when you could be out there chatting with consumers. Building relationships. Helping solve problems. Selling your brand.
Talkwalker social media analytics - don't let your competitors steal your thunder.
Not participating in social media marketing means your content marketing is missing a key element. Your competitors will have more visibility than you. Use social well, and you’ll increase brand awareness, create leads, drive sales. Jump in without a plan, and you’ll lose time, money, and hair.
You have to understand how each platform works. The demographics of your audience. The tone of voice of each channel. The interests of your followers. And more. I’ve got a whole bunch of tips for social media marketing to share with you. Interested?
Read the whole post, for details and examples of each tip. Or, download my Social Media Tips Checklist...
Why use social media
- Facebook has 2.2 billion active users every month
- Pinterest? 150 million people are using this visual platform every month
- Instagram is the second biggest social media network
Benefits of a social media marketing strategy
- Increase brand awareness
- Increase audience and build communities
- Open comms with consumers
- Increase web traffic and conversions
- Generate more leads
- Inspire product development
- Generate more sales
- Increase revenue
- Have fun!
Key to social media success?
Don’t give up.
It takes time. Lots and lots of time. The endless challenge of trying to increase your followers, create great content, and build engagement.
Too often, brands quit social media after a few months. Bad move. It can take up to a year to figure out what works. To realize what resonates with consumers. To identify and avoid what makes their blood boil. To reap the benefits.
Best way to market on social media? Start with planning. Follow these 23 social media tips and tricks to create a rocking social media strategy and a beefed up ROI. Include your content plan, goals, audience persona, tone of voice, influencer campaign, competitor analysis, and more.
23 Social media tips
- Employ a savvy social media manager
- Perform a social media audit
- Spy on your competitors
- Define your goals and objectives
- Identify your audience
- How to choose your social media platforms
- Social media specs by platform
- How to find your social media voice and tone
- SEO and social media
- Humanize your brand
- Engage with your audience
- What to share on social media
- How to use visuals on social media
- How to use video on social media
- Cultivate influencers
- Deliver consistently
- Don’t cross-post on your social profiles
- Be prepared for a social media crisis
- How not to use hashtags
- Don’t buy followers
- How to respond to negative comments
- Measuring social media results
- Stay ahead of the social media trends
- Frequently asked questions
- Free social media tips checklist
Employ a savvy social media manager
Who should your social media manager be?
“Hey, that guy in marketing doesn’t have much work on…” “Let’s use the intern…“ “As long as they’re Gen Y…”
NO. NO. NO.
Your social media manager - regardless of age, gender, salary - needs to fill many roles...
- Project manager - determine goals, create and manage a plan to achieve them
- Support engineer - able to answer customer questions in a knowledgeable way
- Copywriter - able to convey their message in a limited characters, error free
- Strategist - understand how to build a post, choose content, engage with followers
- Branding expert - understand the company brand, voice, and tone
- Data analyst - find social data to identify what’s working and what’s not, and prove ROI
Perform a social media audit
To keep your social media presence relevant, first thing you have to do is a social media audit. To identify what’s working, make improvements, and find any issues that may have arisen.
With the right social media analytics tool, it’s an easy task. First up, choose your reporting timeframes. Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, campaign related. You’ll find that it makes sense to report some metrics more often than others.
Check out my step by step guide to creating your social media audit report. It details the why and how to report your social media results, along with examples of the kind of automated reports you can create with Talkwalker Analytics.
Talkwalker Analytics simulated social reporting template.
Competing brands demonstrating strategy across social media networks.
Spy on your competitors
Not spy, exactly... be inspired.
Obvs, you don’t want to copy them, but it pays to keep an eye on what they’re doing. What’s working and what isn’t. How they’re engaging with their customers and followers. Are they following any trends? Are they starting trends?
Tesla competitive intelligence report - Twitter channel comparison (simulated report).
Take a look at my Competitor Analysis Guide to learn how to monitor and analyze their successes and failures, and fine-tune your social media marketing strategy.
Define your goals and objectives
Your goals will be the driving force behind your social media marketing strategy. Make them SMART.
Choose goals for social media strategy - be SMART.
Don’t restrict yourself to likes and retweets. Think about sales and lead generation, conversion rates, referrals, increased website traffic, brand awareness, etc. Use numbers, deadlines, and make sure your goals are aligned with your marketing strategy.
Let’s use brand awareness as an example…
- Specific - increase brand awareness on your LinkedIn account throughout Europe
- Measurable - increase followers by 20%, link clicks on posts by 15%
- Achievable - yes, within a reasonable time frame
- Relevant - boost account with paid ads - $10 per post, targeting Europe
- Timely - over the next 4 months
Identify your audience
Get my free buyer persona template!
Find your ideal customer.
Developing a high quality social media marketing strategy starts with creating your buyer persona. If you don’t know who you’re targeting, how can you write messaging that resonates? That hits its target?
Look at your happy customers
If they’re happy, you’re doing the right thing. You’re targeting the relevant audience. Study their demographics. What industries are they working in? Jump into conversations on forums where your target audience hangs out. Respond to comments. Chat. Have fun.
What pain points does your product address?
How does your product make consumers’ lives easier? What questions does your service answer? Demonstrate the benefits to consumers.
Quiz your customer-facing teams
Your customer support team are talking with consumers every day. What are the most frequent questions? Are there issues that you’re unaware of?
Meet with your sales team and find out why prospects or customers are going to your competitors? Identify the features that are missing from your products. You can then steer your content in a direction that engages and meets consumers’ needs. The feedback you gather will also benefit your product development.
If you understand your audience, you’re fully equipped to help them. To talk to them in their language, and give them exactly what they want. Consumers are looking to engage with a brand that’s listened. A brand that cares.
Identify age, gender, location, average income, etc. to create your ideal audience persona.
How to choose your social media platforms
It’s not how many social media accounts you run, it’s the quality of the content you share on them. You’ll need to understand the mission of each platform. For instance…
- LinkedIn is the professional network for B2B audiences. Also now considered a place to job hunt.
- Instagram is the place for visual products - luxury, cars, cosmetics, fashion.
- Facebook is good for news and entertainment content. With changes to the algorithm, the performance of pages dropped. But, Facebook Groups has proved to be an efficient way of connecting with your target audience.
Facebook Group - Social Media Professors Community Group - for professors teaching/using social media in the classroom.
Don’t go crazy! If you try to manage too many social channels, you’ll be overwhelmed. Choose your channels by focusing on…
Who’s going to want your product?
What you’re selling and who you’re selling to, should steer your choice of social media channels.
- B2C, a Facebook page works well
- If your target audience is a young demographic, Snapchat and Instagram Stories are the places to be seen
- LinkedIn is a more corporate platform, and works well for B2B brands
- Equally, if your product is a looker - cosmetics, fashion, flashy cars - Instagram is the perfect image-based platform
Flashy enough for you?
Which channels work best for your brand and are popular with your target audience?
Where’s your competition?
If you’re competing with them, then you have to be in the same place. Which social channels are they using? What are they posting? Who are their followers? If they’re on a social platform and they’ve got heaps of followers and engagement, get in there!
If you’re starting up, choose a couple of channels and concentrate on them. Choose too many, and you’ll struggle to stay on top of them.
Social media specs by platform
The world’s most popular social media network, with more than 2 billion monthly active users. Facebook is currently the biggest social media platform based on global reach and total active users, sending more website referral traffic than other social channels.
It’s informal. Engaging. Friendly. Use varied content - blogs, video, images, GIFs, memes, competitions, polls, etc. - that’s relevant to your target audience.
Facebook image dimensions
- Profile picture - 180 x 180px - upload will appear at 160 x 160px
- Cover photo - 851 x 315px - profile and page
- Link image - 1200 x 628px - displayed as 484 x 252px
- Image post - 1200 x 900px
- Video - 1280 x 720px
- Ad image - 1280 x 628px
- Event image - 1920 x 1080px
- Facebook Story ad - 1080 x 1920px
News platform and social media network with 330 million monthly active users. It’s the ideal platform to share blog posts, social ads, curated content.
Interaction is a biggie. Include images, polls, GIFs, hashtags, emoji, questions, answers. Engage with people and encourage retweets, likes, and comments. Twitter is known for edgy content and a proliferation of GIFs.
If I see another Friends GIF, I’ll scream.
Twitter image dimensions
- Profile picture - 150 x 150px
- Header image - 1500 x 500px
- Post image - 1024 x 512px
- Video - square 720 x 720px, portrait 720 x 1280px, landscape 1280 x 720px
- Ad image - 1200 x 675px
- Ad video - square 720 x 720px, portrait 720 x 1280px, landscape 1280 x 720px
Image-based social media network, boasting 1 billion monthly active users. It’s the ideal platform for visually pleasing brands - luxury, fashion, cosmetics, etc. - to collaborate with and tag influencers.
Even if your brand isn’t pretty, you can use Instagram to share behind-the-scenes images of your business - team building events, office parties, conferences, etc.
Instagram image dimensions
- Profile picture - 180 x 180px
- Photo - square 1080 x 1080px, portrait 1080 x 1350px, landscape 1080 x 566px
- Video - square 600 x 600px, portrait 600 x 750px, landscape 600 x 315px
- Stories - 1080 x 1920px
- Ad image - 500px wide
This is a more formal channel. Business like. It has over 300 million monthly active users and is the place for connecting with professionals. Sell your business, rather than your product. It’s also the world’s largest careers’ network.
Improve your brand identity by publishing content that helps people do their job better, answers their pain points, and offers thought leadership.
Share industry posts, webinars, and events. Avoid memes and GIFs, but you’ll get away with hashtags and emoji.
You won’t find any Friends GIFs here, thankfully.
LinkedIn image dimensions
- Logo - 300 x 300px
- Cover image - 1536 x 768px
- Dynamic ad - 100 x 100px - logo
- Sponsored content image - 1200 x 628px
- Profile picture - 400 x 400px
- Background photo - 1584 x 396px
- Post image - desktop 1200 x 1200px, mobile 1200 x 628px
- Link post - 1200 x 628px
- Video - min 256 x 144px, max 4096 x 2304px
This image-driven platform is unique, and it’s the users that make it so. It boasts over 50 billion pins and 1 billion boards. Pinterest is the third most popular social platform among adults, and the second largest search engine.
It’s where people go for inspiration. A visual search engine. If your product can be displayed in an aesthetically pleasing way… PIN IT! It’s also a great place to share infographics.
Saturday has proved to be the best day for sharing, between 8pm and 11pm. With original pins bringing more engagement than re-pins. To increase your reach and community, include a Pinterest sharing button on your images.
Pinterest image dimensions
- Profile - homepage 165 x 165px, elsewhere 32 x 32px
- Board display - large thumbnails 222 x 150px, small thumbnails 55 x 55px
- Pins displayed at 236px wide - height will scale proportionately
- Expanded pins - minimum width 600px
Globally, video will make up 80% of all online traffic by 2021. You on board?
83% of digital marketers think video marketing brings them good ROI, with 91% using video as a key part of their strategy. With 66% more qualified leads per year, it’s no surprise.
To encourage viewers that aren’t following your YouTube channel, include end cards. These will point them towards more of your videos.
YouTube image dimensions
- Profile - 800 x 800px
- Cover image - 2560 x 1440px
For cross-platform compatibility, cover image should be optimized to display at…- Desktop - 2560 x 423px
- Mobile - 1564 x 423px
- Tablet - 1855 x 423px
- TV - 2560 x 1440px
- Optimal resolution for uploads - 1280 x 720px - 16:9 aspect ratio
- Minimum resolution for HD resolution - 1280 x 720px
- Highest quality video - 1920 x 1080px
Temporary and ephemeral. Snapchat - Snap to its friends - was designed to encourage a more natural flow of interaction. It’s purpose? Instant communication through your mobile. It has almost 2 million active daily users.
You send a photo or video. Recipient opens. It disappears. Forever.
I say forever…
Send short videos, live video chatting, messaging, chronological stories. If targeting a younger demographic is your goal - Gen Y and Gen Z - Snapchat is a great source of engagement. While it won’t suit all industries - finance, healthcare - brands wanting to stay relevant with younger audiences, should give it a go.
Snapchat image dimensions
- Ads image - 1080 x 1920px - 9:16 aspect ratio - PNG or JPEG - max 5MB
- Geofilters - 1080 x 1920px
- Video - .mp4, .mov, and H.264 encoded - max 1GB
These social media channel image dimensions, were correct at time of publishing.
How to find your social media voice and tone
No two social platforms are the same. Different crowd. Different characteristics. Different spec.
Meaning… you need to treat each platform, as an individual.
Writing for social media is a skill. To find your voice. To cut through the noise. To engage your followers. Download my social messaging checklist bundle, for best practices.
Get your bundle of social media checklists!
Don't wing it on social! Download my social media checklist now.
Although visual elements in your brand guidelines will remain the same - logo, font, colors, etc. - your tone should change slightly, according to social platform. To do this successfully, a full understanding of your branding is essential, so that while adapting to each platform, you remain cohesive.
You’re singing from the same song sheet, but... Twitter’s the soprano, Facebook’s the tenor, LinkedIn’s the bass.
What’s the difference between voice and tone?
Your voice remains the same, while your tone changes according to who you’re talking to, and the emotion involved.
Out for lunch with a friend, you’d use a different tone compared to a meeting with your boss. Having a laugh with a colleague, you’d use a more appropriate tone if you were consoling a teammate who’s goldfish had died.
Brand voice on social
Try to stick with an active voice rather than passive.
- Active - Sam killed the goldfish
- Passive - the goldfish was killed by Sam
Walk in your consumers’ shoes...
- Avoid techie jargon and acronyms
- Teach without patronizing
- Depending channel and your brand, use humor
Keep it chatty. Keep it genuine. Keep it human.
Brand tone on social
Yes, keep it informal. But remember, clarity is more important than cracking jokes.
Keep the consumers’ shoes on, and find out what they’re thinking. What they need. Are they confused and need help? Are they angry and need pacifying? Adjust your tone of voice, according to the emotion displayed by the consumer.
Choose your words carefully
Getting your message across effectively, will change according to which channel you’re sharing on…
- Use copywriting techniques when writing headlines. Keep them useful, unique, urgent, specific
- Talk to your audience, not at them
- Keep it sharp, funny, teasing
- Use varying content types - blog posts, GIFs, videos, questions, quizzes, etc.
Break language and cultural barriers with emoji. Symbols that communicate universally in a nonverbal way, allowing you to convey euphemisms, sarcasm, emotions…
But take care. Make sure you know what the emoji means. And, what it means on the street…
🍆 Aubergine/eggplant/brinjal - it’s a yummy vegetable, popular in ratatouille, moussaka, and curry.
Let’s not be coy... the aubergine emoji, along with the banana 🍌 and the taco 🌮 are used to represent… I think you get where I’m coming from.
❄️ Snowflake - represents the obvious - white stuff falling from the sky.
Along with the maple leaf 🍁, the snowflake is also used to represent drugs.
Now also used as a disparaging term to label young people who are easily offended and over sensitive, when compared to older generations.
Download my bundle of social media assets for the lowdown on this global language...
Get your social media checklists!
Speaking in tongues, winks, facepalms, hugs, smiley faces, angry faces. I'm talking emoji.
SEO and social media
Do social media signals have a direct impact on search engine rankings?
Social media is a way to get your content in front of a larger audience. You’ll earn more backlinks, more visibility, more brand awareness…
- Drive traffic - a major ranking factor in SERPs. More people sharing your content with their followers, means more traffic to your website.
- Increase content reach - larger audience. Remember? In search engines, users find content by using keywords. On social media, your content appears in front of people without them looking.
- Social media = search engine - we’re using social media as search engines. Use your hashtags wisely.
- Social profiles rank in SERPs - often the first page - you’ll increase visibility and drive traffic.
Twitter - page 1, position 2. Facebook - position 4.
Humanize your brand
For me, one of the brands that rocks this is MoonPie.
Sometimes I like to take the packaging off first https://t.co/WYqZWYS0Sg— MoonPie (@MoonPie) November 12, 2019
MoonPie has given its Twitter voice a human persona.
Eat them or not, it's a great example of a humanized brand.
Treat others as you would like to be treated. Be kind. Be honest. Be genuine. Be respectful. Be funny. Consumers won’t engage with automated messages. If you don’t sound as though you care - no personalization - you won’t be liked. You’re talking to an individual, in front of a huge audience. Behave.
On Twitter, I follow marketing experts, writers, influencers, colleagues, politicians... and a handful of brands. Not because I want to buy their products, but because they’ve mastered social media. They’ve created a personality that I want to get to know. They make me laugh. They’re human.
Sometimes Anna's cat gets stuck in the sofa. pic.twitter.com/3TcemfpZ5D— innocent drinks (@innocent) December 6, 2019
November 11, 2019
Which brands do you follow on social media? Why?
Engage with your audience
Obvious? Yes. But you’d be surprised…
If you share a deluge of brand-promoting content with your followers, be ready to watch them disappear.
86% of social media users follow brands on social, looking for relevant content, while 60% of social media users dislike too much promotion. Only 1 in 10 social messages get a response from brands!!!
To build strong relationships with your target audience, you have to interact. Speak to consumers directly and ask questions. What do they think of your product and business? What are their goals? What are their pain points? Chat with them and help them.
Don’t ignore them...
- Reply - always - do it personally. Answer their questions. Solve their problems. Comment on relevant posts. Share content that interests. Join Twitter chats and Facebook groups.
- Links - steer your followers towards your blog, your website, your newsletter, your case studies, etc. If you don’t show them, they won’t know what action to take.
- Tags - when you publish content, tag the followers you know will find it interesting. Tag influencers that talk about the same topic. Personalizing your content in this way, shows that you care.
- Hashtags - use them - they help people find what they’re looking for. Your brand should have a predetermined list of hashtags that relate to you industry, product, brand.
Talkwalker Analytics - hashtag word cloud.
Listen. Don’t hard-sell. Users expect brands to respond to customer support questions. Help solve issues. Run a comprehensive social media strategy, and you’ll be busy. Well busy. You’ll receive hugs and shrugs. You’ll find inspiration for content and product development. User-generated content will be there for the plucking.
Talking of user-generated content. Here’s a happy customer tweeting about Hilton Hotels. The savvy social media manager at the hotel, jumped into action and personally responded to the customer and others who joined the conversation.
I have asked for this about 15 times.— Mark Nagi (@MarkNagi) July 11, 2018
Well... finally, it happened. Well done, @HiltonHotels... pic.twitter.com/q6gnSRhGrR
Hilton Hotels ticked all the boxes.
Social media doesn’t have to be difficult. Focus on creating customer success stories, positive content… your followers will do the rest.
What to share on social media
First rule of social media marketing?
Don’t let marketing rule your social media.
Back in the day, hard-sell marketing was the thing. These days, consumers are tired - total understatement - of being bombarded with promotional content. Marketing needs to push engagement, trust, and community. Yes, you can still promote your product. But to avoid in your face marketing, share other stuff…
Your followers are following you.
Bear with me.
It means that they’re interested in your brand, product, industry. Share content that relates to your business. Your industry. For instance… you’re a sportswear brand. Consider posting content about upcoming sporting events - football games, tennis tournaments, etc.
Social media tips, tricks, and how tos
Make consumers’ lives easier, and you’ll have a fan for life. Posts that demonstrate how to get the best out of your product. Content that explains how to perform tasks that are relevant to their life or job - PR crisis guide, how to create a marketing strategy, etc.
Late nights. Pizza on speed dial. Launching your latest social media campaign was full on.— Talkwalker (@Talkwalker) April 4, 2021
You know it's a winner, but how do you present results to your boss?
A social media report will highlight your goals, your results, your wins. Here's how... https://t.co/xugdM7cV32
Join the chat
Use social listening to find conversations that you can jump in and share ideas, advice, help. Use Twitter Chats relevant to your brand, to do some soft selling and brand awareness.
Expose behind the scenes
Consumers are interested in the culture and community behind brands. Sharing updates from team building events, new partnerships, the Christmas party, a charity event, humanizes your brand and increases trust.
Talkwalker and new partner, Khoros, launch their Social Media Trends 2023 report.
Funny stuff/Off topic
This is going to depend on your business and customer base. It’s not appropriate for every brand. Finance and funeral homes, spring to mind.
If you do decide, make sure that you’re not going to offend anyone.
Can someone who is good at photoshop make a picture of a MoonPie next to a bunch of money I need it for a private reason— MoonPie (@MoonPie) July 12, 2019
MoonPie doesn't try to convince you that it's the best.
Instead, it portrays itself as a human, pining for someone called Linda.
Sometimes the 1st bite of MoonPie is the best bite other times it may be the 2nd bite anyway Linda if you’re listening I’m sorry please tell me what I did wrong— MoonPie (@MoonPie) January 4, 2018
How to use visuals on social media
Instagram might be the leading image-based social media platform. But, visuals are recommended for all social channels.
Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text.
With so much written content being shared on social media, the only way to stand out is to use visuals that wow - photos, graphs, infographics, GIFs, memes, videos. Create original visuals, rather than stock images. A unique infographic will get 3 x more shares than other types of content.
80% of people remember what they see, compared to 10% of what they hear and 20% of what they read.
Use a visual on social media and you’ll reap the benefits...
- Facebook - 37% higher engagement
- Twitter - 150% more retweets
How to use video on social media
Video will make up 80% of all global online traffic by 2021.
Way back in 2017, we were going crazy for video with nearly 5 billion YouTube videos viewed every day. 100 million hours of video watched on Facebook.
Realizing this, digital marketers have jumped onboard and are now grabbing 66% more qualified leads per year.
Video best practices include…
- Tell a story - stir up viewers emotions
- Instructional videos - how to use your product, solve pain points
- Keep it short - not sure about you, but I get distracted easily
- Quality over quantity - I’m not prepared to watch fuzzy vids
- Make it fun - with a limited budget and an F-bomb dropping CEO, the Dollar Shave Club struck gold with its YouTube ad. The idea? To create a stir, sit back, wait for people to spread the word…
And they did.
- Use subtitles - consider non-native English speakers, hearing impaired, people in offices
- Choose the best social media platform - each channel has its own specs
- Don’t forget a CTA - what do you want viewers to do next? Download, sign up, etc.
- Facebook live videos - reach out to your followers in an authentic way. Interaction in a Q&A format, demonstrates that there’s a person behind the brand. Facebook states that you’ll get 6 times the engagement with live video.
GET MY FREE VIDEO MARKETING strategy TEMPLATE!
Videos will make up 80% of all online traffic by 2021. Spitting distance, guys! You ready?
Influencer marketing delivers 11 x higher ROI than traditional forms of marketing.
- Mega-influencer - Christiano Ronaldo, Kim Kardashian
- Macro-influencer - follower count between 100,000 and 1 million - made their name via the Internet, blogging, vlogging, etc. Often covers several topics. Influencing is their job, but authenticity can be questioned.
- Micro-influencer - follower count between 1000 and 100,000 - focussing on a niche subject, considered industry experts, thought-leaders. Non-celebs, but with a loyal fan-base. They tell stories to an established audience that trusts them, bringing a greater ROI, while reducing marketing spend.
- Nano-influencers - about 1000 followers - regular people who share intimate and personalized messages with their community. Although their reach is limited, they boast a high level of authority and engagement rates. Engaging up to 8.7% of their audience, compared with celebs engaging at 1.7%.
- Virtual influencers - an Instagram phenomenon - granting the benefits of working with an influencer - reach, engagement, etc. - without the fear of them going rogue.
1.5M followers with only 394 posts.
Have a read of How to Find the Best Instagram Influencer for your Brand. You'll love it!
Due to some iffy influencer behavior - buying followers, nondisclosure - mega and macro-influencer marketing took a bit of a nose dive. This is why the smaller influencers are now coming into their own. They’re more engaged, and trusted by consumers.
Almost 50% of consumers trust influencer recommendations to decide which products to purchase. We’ve seen these influencers prove their credibility, therefore we believe what they say.
Find the experts for your products, and create an influencer marketing social media strategy…
- Reach out, and build relationships to reach a wider audience and share your brand message
- Be prepared to play swapsies. What’s in it for the influencer? Guest post, speaking slot, link swaps, etc.
- Monitor your influencers to ensure they stay on brand, and stick to your messaging
Earlier this year, Arianna Renee - Instagram influencer - failed to sell 36 T-shirts, to her 2M+ followers. Many were surprised by this big fail, incorrectly assuming that a large follower base guarantees riches.
What did she do wrong? Her fans claimed that the T-shirts didn’t fit with her image, and with little promotion, they forgot to buy. Having failed to sell the required 36 garments, the supplying company discontinued the line. This meant that the handful of followers who had placed an order, had to be refunded.
Ironically, when she told her sorry tale on Instagram, the post went viral.
Post since deleted.
Running a social media strategy is a full-time job. You can’t simply share a blog post on Tuesday, and walk away for a week.
Your followers expect regular updates, interesting stories, engagement…
- Post content that educates and entertains your targeted buyer
- Share curated content relevant to your audience - industry updates, influencer posts, etc.
- Avoid posting too much hard-sell content promoting your product
Optimize post frequency
Somewhere in the world, someone is tweeting, pinning, snapchatting… every second of every day.
To connect with your targeted audience, you need to know not only what interests them, but when they’re online. How often should you post per day? Per channel? What time of day for each channel?
I can give you a starting point - publish as often as you think your content is useful. But, the best solution for your brand, will be found through tests, analysis, and experience.
Here are some best practices that you should test for your brand, and modify accordingly...
- Spread throughout the day
- 3 to 30 times per day
- Monday to Friday
- Once per day
- Minimum 3 times per week
- Thursday & Friday
- Once per day, no more than 3 per day
- Early morning, early evening
- Monday & Thursday
- Twice a week, no more than one per working day
- Post in the morning
- Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
Obvs, time zones must play a part in your scheduling.
Download Dan’s easy to use spreadsheet - The Best Time to Post on Social Media - to identify the optimum timing for your audience.
Don’t cross-post on your social profiles
Seriously... stop posting the same message across your social media channels.
Oh, I know it’s tempting. Write a message for Twitter, then bang it out on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, ad infinitum. Saves so much time, no?
It’s lazy and self-defeating.
Each platform has its own language, personality, and formatting. Take the lazy route and you’re in danger of clipping your message, tagging users in platforms they’re not on, distorting your images… generally, looking unprofessional.
Bad news, folks…
You should also avoid posting the same message over and over again on a single platform or multiple accounts. You wrote a cracking tweet and your followers loved it. That doesn’t mean you can post it again, and again, and again.
It’s boring for your followers, and social media platforms have wised up to this game. Twitter - in its ongoing attack against bots and spam - is limiting automation and identical content across accounts. Result? Bored followers and potentially, your account temporarily frozen.
The good news is that you can cross-promote your social channels by including a link in your bio to your other social media accounts.
Be prepared for a social media crisis
Your brand getting caught up in a crisis is bad enough, without a loudspeaker a.k.a. social media.
The likelihood of a PR crisis hitting your brand has increased.
Wait. I’m not saying it’s your fault.
We live in an age where the minute we’re unhappy with a product or service, we’re calling out the brand on social media. We’re bombarded with fake news and defamatory rumors.
Talkwalker Analytics - sentiment analysis.
While avoiding a social media crisis is difficult, being prepared is easy. My PR Crisis Management Guide explains how to be locked and loaded.
- Plan ahead - understand the risks, draft responses, create a crisis response team and assign roles, role play scenarios.
- Accept responsibility - monitor, update, analyze, learn. Be prepared to give more statements, interviews, answers, etc. Do a post-crisis review - how your team performed, improvements, avoidance tactics.
- Minimize risk - implement rules for content - write social media guidelines and implement a social media policy.
Thinking it won’t happen to your brand is naive, shortsighted, pure fantasy. Be prepared with my crisis management templates.
DOWNLOAD FREE CRISIS MANAGEMENT TEMPLATES
Identify potential risks. Determine severity level. Escalate.
Listen. Empathize. Be transparent. Apologize.
How not to use hashtags
how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?— Chris Messina (@chrismessina) August 23, 2007
Birth of the hashtag.
Hashtags are great. A system for information collection. Helping social media users to find relevant topics.
- Using too many
- Not researching the hashtag context
- Not considering the response you’ll get
- Not checking your acronyms
- Jumping on a disaster hashtag to sell your product
- Combining words. Read it. Read it again
#susanalbumparty - British singer’s invitation to album release party. Caps could have saved the day - #SusanAlbumParty.
#MyNYPD - an invitation to the public to share pics of themselves with police offers, resulted in a deluge of photos of police brutality.
#WTFF - Burger King - What The French Fry - overlooked what the rest of the world think this hashtag means.
#LesboCages = Les Bocages. #PowerGenitalia = Powergen Italia. #BlackHateBook = Black Hat eBook. All went viral!
#Aurora - a fashion retailer jumped on this trending hashtag to promote its dress named Aurora. Why was it trending? A mass shooting in the town of Aurora, Colorado.
#WhyIStayed You had pizza. Swift backlash when a pizza brand jumped on a hashtag being used to discuss domestic violence.
The tweet was deleted - quickly - and an apology posted...
A million apologies. Did not read what the hashtag was about before posting.— DiGiorno (@DiGiorno) September 9, 2014
Brilliant for organizing your social media posts. Great for users searching for posts discussing topics they’re interested in. A catastrophe if not handled wisely.
How many hashtags should you use? Look at the Twitter stats...
- Tweets with hashtags are 33% more likely to be retweeted
- Tweets with one hashtag are 69% more likely to get retweets than those with two
- Tweets with a hashtag with 11+ characters is 117% more likely to get retweeted than hashtags with 6-10 characters
Don’t buy followers
How to respond to negative comments
Be polite. Be honest. Be apologetic.
You should have prepared responses to negative comments. I don’t mean automated responses. I mean holding statements to cover predicted crises, that can be adapted. A bad response can damage your brand image. A good response can turn a negative into a positive.
Ignore negativity, and you’ll make it worse.
Here are some best practices on how to respond to negative comments…
I’m angry. Don’t ignore me!
Deal with an issue quickly, with a personalized response. Show them you care. Show other followers that you care.
The customer is always right.
Followers are watching to see how you react to a negative comment. Be professional. Be honest. Be humble.
Take the conversation offline
Don’t air your dirty laundry in public.
Respond to the public comment, but try to take it offline. A back and forth conversation between you and an angry customer, isn’t good publicity.
Don’t delete negative comments
How would you like it?
Delete my comment, and I’ll post it again. Only this time it will be worse, and I’ll tell everyone you deleted my message. Deal with it.
Obvs, there are exceptions. If it promotes violence, race hate, bigotry, etc., delete/block immediately.
Personalize your responses
I care about you.
Demonstrate that they’re not receiving an automated response. A cut and paste. Reference the information in their negative comment. Add your name, so they can see that they’re talking to a human. Don’t hide.
It’s free advertising.
Hey, they took the time to say how awesome your brand is. The least you can do is say thank you. Retweet their positive comments. 48% of consumers say user-generated content is a great way to find new products.
Stay on top of current events
Automating your social media messages saves time. No question. But, be prepared to delete inappropriate messages during a catastrophic event.
Measuring social media results
Social media platforms are constantly changing. This endless shifting of the goal posts makes monitoring your performance, a challenge. The biggest challenge being which metrics to measure, and how to analyze them. I'll give you an overview, but check out my Guide to Social Media Measurement. It explains how to track and measure your campaigns, social media measurement tools you’ll need, and how to report your results.
Let's check out the metrics...
The number of users who've interacted with your content. The KPIs to measure include...
The number of users your content has - potentially - been seen by. There are two types of reach...
- Actual - estimated number of people your post was displayed to over a period of time - but no guarantee that it was seen
- Potential - combines the number of followers you have with the number of followers your followers have - reacing out, then reaching further
How many times your content is displayed online. Similar to reach...
- Impressions - how many times your content was displayed
- Reach - the total number of users it was displayed to
Now you need to find out how many people are considering buying your product.
How many users landed on your website, via a link. Compared to the number of users who viewed your paid media containing a link.
Metrics per campaign
Campaign or event analytics with a clear start and finish.
The number of people who responded to your call to action - downloaded, subscribed, completed a form, purchased your product.
Social media measurement tool
Social media channels provide built in analytics tools, but having a single tool that can track all your channels simultaneously, is going to save you so much time.
Choosing your tool, ask the following questions...
- Where does the tool source its social media data?
- What's the quality of the sourced data?
- What are the relationships the tool has with the various social media channels?
- What level of customer support is provided?
- What new features are planned for the future?
- Does it include video analytics? Seriously, you need this if you want to accurately track your video marketing.
You'll need a tool that's flexible, and keeps up with the constant changes occurring on social media. Take a dive into Talkwalker social media analytics. It's the best!
Use Talkwalker's virality map to watch your content spread, as it happens.
Stay ahead of the social media trends
Social media is changing. Every day. Updated algorithms. New rules. New specs. New platforms.
To exploit social media fully, you have to understand the now, and the tomorrow. This means following the stats for each platform. The demographics of the followers. The latest language. The social media trends…
- The cookie finaly gets dunked
- Social media will meet a new social standard
- Decentralized social networks will be the next big thing
- Multi-sensory social media will provide content for all
- Social commerce will rise and fall
- And more
Frequently asked questions
Why is social media important for businesses?
Social media is one of the most popular marketing channels, allowing you to engage with audiences around the world. And, it's free. You can connect with consumers, customers, and influencers. You can use social media listening to understand consumers needs, sentiment, and pain points. You can manage customer support. You can generate brand awareness, leads, sales, and revenue. Social media is important.
What is a social media strategy?
A social media strategy is key to social media marketing. It's a detailed plan of your social media activities - ad campaigns, content, visuals, videos, curation, engagement, followers, influencers, sentiment, responses, and more. An outline of your social media goals, how you're going to meet them, and the metrics to track to measure your online performance.
Why a social media strategy is important?
A social media strategy will identify how your brand should use social media to achieve its goals. The platforms consumers are using to talk about your industry and products, and the language they are using. It'll help you target active and informed followers which you can move through the buying cycle and drive traffic to your website. Include competitor analysis to find gaps that you can exploit and to understand how consumers are engaging with them. A social media strategy will also help you maintain strong and consistent online branding.
Who is the target audience of social media?
Your social media target audience are consumers that you've identified as your buyer persona. The people you want to target and encourage to buy your product. It could be based on demographics that include income, job title, gender, age, education, behavior, location.
What are the best social media channels for brands?
Companies can use social media platforms to develop their brand voice, track competitors, and engage with consumers. It’s important to understand which social media networds work for your business. For instance, Instagram is perfect for brands that sell visually pleasing products such as fashion, automotive, cosmetics. While LinkedIn is a channel which suits educational content. You can download my social media messaging checklist to understand each channel in more detail.
The top channels to consider include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Quora, and Snapchat.
Hey, if you're interested in social media stats, we've a cracking post on Twitter stats. It even has an infographic...
Infographic - 40 Twitter stats.
Who is the target audience of social media?
Your social media target audience are consumers that you've identified as your buyer persona. The people you want to target and encourage to buy your product. It could be based on demographics that include income, job title, gender, age, education, behavior, location.
What are the benefits of social media marketing?
The most important benefits of social media marketing are...
- Increased brand awareness
- Improved brand loyalty
- Increased website traffic
- Promotion of products and services
- Increased conversion rates
- Improved SEO ranking
- Real-time customer support
- Improved customer satisfaction
- Identify industry insights
Free social media tips checklist
Social media is changing. Every day we're introduced to dozens of new features. Advertising options. New rules. Algorithm updates. Your job is to stay up to date. Ready to adapt. Be flexible. Then, you'll be sure that your brand is using social media to its full extent. Exploiting it for engagement, lead generation, conversions, profit.
To help you achieve your goals. To master this free marketing channel. I've shared 23 social media growth tips with you, along with several invaluable social media tools.
In the meantime, grab yourself my social media checklist of 23 tips and tricks. You can download it below...