While social media has proven to be an ever-changing platform, one aspect remains consistent through it all – what works well for one network won’t necessarily translate to another. A tweet that garners thousands of retweets and high audience engagement likely won’t have the same impact on Facebook, just as a photo posted to Pinterest may fall flat when shared on Instagram. Each network’s unique format means content is consumed differently by its users, and that marketers must carefully consider their social media strategies to ensure they are making the most of these valuable opportunities to connect with consumers. That’s not to say that fresh and unique content needs to be developed in a silo for each individual network. Instead, brands should make the most of their content by repurposing it to fit the preferences of each network’s audience.
From when to utilize photography and video assets to how to determine the appropriate tone of voice depending on the network – communicating via social media requires a strategy that takes into account the consumption habits of each network’s audience. Resist the urge to take a “one-size-fits-all” approach in the interest of saving time and energy in favor of crafting posts, tweets and pins that help your brand stand out in a landscape that is becoming increasingly cluttered and competitive. Here’s how to ensure you’re making the most of your presence on the top social media networks:
Each day, 1,500 possible stories are filtered through an average Facebook user’s News Feed. However, due to the algorithm Facebook has implemented, only 20 percent of them actually end up making it into a user feed. Consider that fact serious motivation to craft posts that grab the attention of your fans and their individual networks.
Facebook is forcing brands to be more aware of their target audience and to create content that is relevant to their interests. As a result, there is more pressure on you to understand why fans are even following you on social media in the first place. More often than not, consumers choose to follow brands that can offer tips, insight or deals they find valuable and useful. Those who follow service providers, such as pest control companies, are likely looking for content related to the overall services provided and the expert opinion or advice the company can share.
Once you define what is relevant for your audience, it’s time to create or choose content accordingly, and find a way to make it memorable and engaging. Posts that incorporate quality visuals, such as photos, videos and link previews, are known to achieve higher levels of engagement than those without visual accompaniments – they are also given more weight by Facebook when being filtered for the newsfeed. After landing on the perfect asset to share, put just as much thought into the words that appear beside it. Recent research has found that Facebook posts with more than 80 words achieve greater engagement than those with less, but be sure to remain succinct and choose your words – and punctuation – carefully. When appropriate, don’t be afraid to use exclamation points and inject humor or prompts for interaction, such as questions that inspire your fans to respond. In fact, posts that ask questions garner 23 percent more engagement on average.
Finally, take the time to understand when your audience is active on Facebook to maximize your chances of making it into their news feeds. Posts published after work hours typically experience higher rates of engagement than those posted during or before the workday. And, while not every business is posting on the weekends, posts shared on Sundays have been known to garner more interaction than those posted midweek.
On average, 500 million tweets are sent each day by Twitter’s base of 232 million monthly active users. That enormous traffic and activity creates intense competition for brands fighting to achieve consumer engagement on the hugely popular network. In addition, making the most of the 140-character limit, and finding creative and useful hashtags to incorporate into tweets may seem daunting to marketers who have become comfortable with the typically longer Facebook post format. However, custom content need not be crafted for each social network, and there’s nothing wrong with taking a post that was created for Facebook and shortening it for use on Twitter.
An easy first step in repurposing content is trimming the post to fit within Twitter’s aforementioned 140-character limit. Even better, find a way to come in just under that limit with a tweet that clocks in at 100 characters in length, as research has found that those tweets achieve a 17 percent higher engagement rate. While keeping things short and sweet might prove challenging, keep in mind the large number of your followers who are likely rapidly scrolling through their Twitter feeds from their smart phones. Use the same restraint when selecting hashtags to incorporate, and limit yourself to no more than two per tweet – a good rule of thumb across all social media platforms. Whichever hashtags you choose, make sure they reinforce the theme of your overall message, and while it may be tempting to use a popular or trending hashtag, don’t force it if it isn’t appropriate or going to resonate with followers.
As with Facebook, incorporate photography into tweets for a better chance of achieving click-throughs from busy, highly visual followers. And as with all social media networks, carefully consider your posting calendar to capitalize on the most active Twitter times. Data has shown that the highest number of clicks appear between 1pm and 3pm during the week, and the best time for retweets is from 4pm to 5pm on Fridays.
While it’s becoming increasingly clear across all social media networks that the incorporation of visual assets is a critical part of the overall strategy, this is perhaps most true for Instagram. The photo-sharing site is based entirely around unique and authentic imagery and video posted by brands and individuals alike. As of December 2014, Instagram had a reported 300 million monthly users, and it continues to grow in popularity as the network has begun to allow select brands to test out new advertising options. Although it’s true that the content generated by some industries, such as hospitality and food, lends itself toward interaction on Instagram more than others, hundreds of brands outside of those markets are also finding success on the network.
One of the keys to establishing a following, in addition to engaging with and retaining those followers, lies in developing a library of images that are aesthetically pleasing and interesting.
Again, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to sharing imagery on Instagram, since a successful social strategy will mean you are already incorporating those visuals on your other networks. Instead, repurpose photography and video assets and craft accompanying captions that jive with the messages you’ve already posted and tweeted. Utilize the same hashtags you’ve used on Facebook and Twitter, and consider length and punctuation choices for maximum engagement. Just as with Facebook, find ways to get your users to comment and like your posts by asking questions and encouraging responses. Successful brands post up to two times a day on Instagram, so develop a calendar that allows your audience a chance to interact with your posts on a daily basis.
When it comes time to develop a social media strategy for your brand, consider starting with Facebook and adapting your content and calendar to fit each additional network. Avoid the urge to copy and paste the same content across the board, and instead take the time to carefully craft posts and tweets that will make the biggest impact on your followers. The time investment will pay off in increased engagement and brand awareness.