It’s the worldwide phenomenon that can’t be ignored. Social media is here to stay and it’s a viable marketing tool; if you know how to use it right. According to Sensis data from last year, 79% of people use social media. More importantly, 64% of consumers said they are more likely to trust a brand that interacts positively on social media. So how can you effectively use social media? Here’s the top 9 things you should know.
Timing is everything
Have you ever wondered why your breakfast bowl got more likes than your afternoon snack? It’s not because your 3pm muffin wasn’t mouth-watering. It’s because there are peak times when everyone is using social media. First thing in the morning, on their lunch break, after dinner and straight before bed are popular times when most people check their socials. You want to take advantage of this spike in activity so posting during these times is going to mean you get more views and hopefully more likes too.
Use a management tool
It’s hardly feasible to sit around waiting for the right moment to send your post live. But you don’t have too! Social media management tools are a must for businesses that are serious about using socials for marketing. It takes the pressure off logging into your accounts all day long by allowing you to schedule posts for a later date or time. You could use an individual manager such as Schedugram (for Insta) or a comprehensive tool that brings together multiple platforms, like Sprout Social or Buffer.
Always post an image
If a picture speaks 1000 words, then why aren’t you posting one? Most people are skimming through their news feed and you have to grab their attention. A striking image is the best way to get them to stop, look and listen. Image posts also frequently get more shares than text-only posts. Even if it’s a link to your recent blog post, include the header image in your post to give people a reason to stop scrolling.
Find your niche
If you think all social platforms are the same then you’ve made a fundamental mistake. You can’t simply create one post and share it across all platforms equally. From Facebook to Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and LinkedIn - they all have different demographics. Figure out which one has the most users you’re looking for and turn that into your primary social feed. Prioritise the next best platform for reaching new audiences for your brand and use that to increase exposure. Social posting should be fun so it also helps to choose the platform that you enjoy creating content for. If arranging flat lay photos is a secret passion of yours then use it to your advantage with a curated Instagram account.
Vary your content
How much do you like the person who only posts baby/dog/food photos to their Facebook? Having one type of content is going to become boring. Mix it up with text, videos, images, podcasts and anything else you can think of.
Interact with followers
If you think about why people use social media then you’ll realise they’re not looking for more ads in their day. They’re wanting to connect with friends, family and the world. If you start up a branded page that doesn’t connect with them back then you’re missing the point. It only takes an hour or so of your day to reply to comments and messages. Plus, the more you engage with other brands and build a brand personality the more interest you’ll gather. The Wendy’s Twitter account is by far the best recent example. Using cheeky replies and retweets they’ve found a way to the top of the competitive fast food chain pyramid; at least in Internet brand awareness.
Social media is a fickle and competitive place. Search home decor on Instagram and you’ll be bombarded with options. The most liked and followed pages are the ones people trust to give them quality content. But when you’re just starting out how do you build a following? By pairing up with an established influencer. If you go to one of the big players you’re likely to incur a fee to have them feature your products/services. But many micro-influencers (i.e. 5,000 and under) are focused on genuine engagement and recommendations. If you get in touch and offer a free trial/product giveaway they’re often happy to provide social coverage in return. Getting those first thousand followers will speed up in no time.
Use hashtags properly
Those funny little symbols and words after your carefully curated caption are more important than people think. Even though #bobsyouruncle might be hilarious, it is probably off-topic and has very few people searching it daily. Find out the most searched hashtags from the web and use those on your posts to increase traffic and likes. If you want to avoid a spammy social post then put the 3 most relevant hashtags in your caption and follow up with as many as you want in the first comment on your post.
Don’t be afraid to include promotional material
It’s an age-old marketing question; do you gain more likes for organic material or promo posts? Clearly, you’re in the marketing game to get your brand noticed. But if you focus too much on promotional posting you’ll find people disengage. So, what is the right ratio? There’s no hard and fast rule, but a 75-25 split for organic-promo is a good place to start. The organic material will bring user engagement, while the promo is getting them to read your messages. If you overdo the promo to start you’ll lose followers quickly. But if you don’t have enough they’ll be confused about the purpose of your page.
Social media has taken the marketing world by storm and anyone can get in on the action. If you understand the tricks of the trade you’ll be a social posting pro in no time.
Julia Hammond is an Australian lifestyle blogger working in content marketing for MyDeal.com.au, the one stop shop for all your favourite brands at the best prices. With over a hundred articles to her name, she understands the power
of the right word at the right moment and that bringing value to readers is the most important thing.