With all the tweets, posts, and new platforms popping up every three months, social media may appear intimidating. But if you want to take charge of your personal brand’s and/or company’s marketing strategy, you’ve got to sift through all the buzzwords and jargon and figure out what social media platform and practices are right for you.
Facebook or Twitter? To hashtag or not to hashtag? The answers to these questions may seem daunting and out of reach, but with these five tips you’ll have a solid social media foundation.
1. Social Media Platforms – Which ones serve your needs the best?
Now it may be tempting to jump in and sign up for all the profiles at once, but you need to first know the demographic you want to reach. This will greatly inform the platform you will use. When you know your target demographic, take some time to fine-tune your social media voice. Will it be humorous, witty and culturally relevant? Or will it be more informational? Whatever style you choose, just make sure that it comes naturally (or hire someone to make it sound natural) and that it’s a voice that people will know is your brands’/company’s before they look at the Twitter handle or Facebook fan page title. Find a niche and stick with it. Brand recognition is your best friend.
2. When to Tweet – that is the question
If you’re using Twitter, it’s best to tweet every 2 – 4 hours. A great way to figure out the most optimal time for your tweets is by posting tweets through applications like Buffer or Social Media Manager Pro, because they figure out the most impactful time for your tweets for you. Yet social media is not a science. A lot of it is trial and error and figuring out what works for you. Tweet too much and you’re annoying, and tweet too little and people forget about you. For Facebook, experts say to post between five to ten times a week for the best engagement. For some brands the best time to post on Facebook are 10am and 6pm. It all depends on when your “fans” are logging on. Posting and tweeting multiple times a week might seem overwhelming, luckily, there are applications that schedules post for most social media profiles like TweetDeck, Hootsuite and Buffer. Make use of them.
3. Time to get Hashtag savvy
So you have your profiles set up and you know when to post, now you need to know how to engage your “fans” and “followers.” Make a practice of tweeting at (Twitter) or tagging (Facebook) someone when sharing a link, article or anything promoting you or your company. This increases your social media visibility. If you can’t come up with good hashtags or want to increase your Twitter followers, use a trending hashtag shown on the side of your Twitter profile. A great and simple hashtag to use for Twitter and Facebook is #ThrowbackThursday. It’s used when you post something vintage. So for your company, you could tweet or post a picture of the first dollar you ever made with the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday. Now the people looking through that hashtag are exposed to your company.
Pro tip: If you want a conversation to be seen by everyone on Twitter use a “.” in front of the Twitter handle. Example: .@NerdWallet I love your articles! If a tweet begins with @<name, it is only visible to those followers who follow you and @<name>.
4. Define your brand’s message
Right now you may be thinking, “Should I be using lesser-known platforms like Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Tumblr?” Yes and no. Yes, if they fit your brand’s message and demographics and no if they don’t. Google+ is great for expanding personal brands. Look at Pete Cashmore’s, the CEO of Mashable.com, Google + profile for inspiration. Pinterest is optimal for visual brands and/or companies. Consider the methods of the three businesses that rock Pinterest. LinkedIn is like Facebook with a tie, a useful tool for budding professionals. It can help you establish your authority on a given subject through forums and/or find work by allowing you to track desirable companies. Tumblr should be used if your brand is artistic and your aim is to reach fellow young artists. Be sure to tap into the various Tumblr communities to expand your artistic network.
5. When it comes to social media, the motto is: analytics, analytics, and analytics
What good is using all these platforms if you have no idea what your reach is? As previously mentioned, social media is all about trial and error. And you are only going to know what works and what doesn’t if you are tracking what kinds of tweets get retweeted and what kind of Facebook posts have the most reach (answer: Facebook posts that use photos). However with some brilliant analytics tools on the web, analysis on which channels yield best results and how to predict better lead generation or engagement is becoming easier by the day.
The important thing to remember when using social media as a marketing tool is to not use it as a marketing tool. Sound confusing? The best brands using social media are not focusing on selling products. They are making authentic connections to their consumers, resulting in greater brand loyalty which tends to result in sales. Because people like to be listened to and social media gives your consumers a voice. And no matter how you look at it, that’s great for business.
What do you say or add to this list as a must-know when launching an online marketing strategy using social media platforms? Pls share in comments below.