Social media. We know it’s important. We know our brands need it. But what else do we know? You’d be surprised by what you find. Case in point: I recently spoke with a sales manager who couldn’t wrap his head around how to “twitter at someone.”

The reality is yes, social media is still a major challenge for businesses today. Knowing the basics of each platform’s use is only a fraction of the battle. The real trial comes in knowing how to intuitively use each platform to achieve your organization’s wide-ranging goals. How can you maximize social media to bolster brand reputability? How often should you post so that you can increase your number of qualified leads quarter-over-quarter? How can you better understand the ROI of social media to justify time and effort spent?

Above all, how do you use social media to deliver real customer value? To solve real customer issues? To truly engage and nurture relationships?

It’s a tall order, but I believe it’s possible to address every burning question about social media in one post. After all, the goal is to avoid extensive research across multiple different sources. So, let’s get started…

Q: How often should you post on social media?

Research suggests the following for the best traction:

  • Pinterest: 5 posts per day
  • Twitter: 3 posts per day
  • Google+: 3 posts per day
  • Facebook: 2 posts per day

Q: What platforms should you use?

This is a layered question. The social platform you use will be determined by many factors, some which are constantly evolving. For example:

  • Snapchat: 60 percent of Snapchat users in the U.S. are under the age of 24. Seeing how the platform is made up of 100 million users consuming 30 minutes of content every day, Snapchat is ideal for businesses targeting millennials.
  • Facebook: American adults between the ages of 25 and 54 make up over 70 percent of Facebook users. Only 9 percent of users are between the ages of 18 to 24 (crazy how things change, huh?) If you’re targeting a slightly older market or want to make use of Facebook’s professional advertising features (click here for a complete step-by-step guide for getting started), this could be the platform for you.
  • Twitter: About half of people today use Twitter to quickly get news. For your company, this could be news about new products or services, mergers and acquisitions, exciting milestones, etc. Twitter is more so about the delivery of the content verses the subject matter. Condensing your content into 160 characters or less challenges you to write in a way that’s equally creative and concise.
  • LinkedIn: A cool thing about LinkedIn is that it guarantees your content will be seen by those people who follow your brand. By publishing a post on LinkedIn (in the same way you would publish a blog on a Web hosting platform like WordPress), all your followers/connections will be immediately notified that you have published a new piece of content (click here for a better breakdown of how this works, as well as other LinkedIn publishing options).

Q: What should you share?

Again, a pretty layered question. This really depends on the specifics of your company. No two social media posts should look the same, and no two companies should be sharing the same content. It’s all about constantly reinventing the wheel and discovering new ways to start conversations.

For example, if you’re a one-person company (like an independent consultant), consider “Day in the Life” posts that document in real-time what you’re up to in your business. For larger organizations, there are a few go-to ideas:

  • Number-driven posts (these work across the board. Consider tweeting a statistic from a relevant industry report/study. You can even plug it into a graphic design app like Ripl to make it really pop)
  • “Did you know?” facts
  • Images (honestly, these should be included with every post you publish across any platform)
  • Quotes
  • Links to relevant content from reputable (non-competitive) third-party sites
  • Questions/comments of your own
  • Quirky holiday posts: find a holiday that relates to your business and capitalize on it (here’s the 2017-2018 calendar)

Tip: When posting to Twitter, be sure to use Buffer to shorten standard links so you can fit more content in.

Q: How do you get more followers?

Here are just a few of many ways, courtesy of Buffer:

  • Post great content
  • Write a professional bio
  • Use hashtags
  • Place a Facebook/Twitter/Instagram logo on your blog
  • Engage with others on the social platforms
  • Make sure your content is shareable
  • Re-share other people’s content
  • Reach out to influencers
  • Stay active
  • Follow other users

You can also click here and here for stellar insights from people who have destroyed the follower game.

Q: When are the best times to post on social media?

Again, Buffer to the rescue with some AMAZING research on this.

  • Facebook: The platform’s constantly changing algorithms can make it hard to keep up, but research currently suggests Thursdays and Fridays (engagement rates are 18 percent higher on these days). In terms of time, research suggests early afternoon is best.
  • Twitter: Weekends are where it’s at! Specifically, Twitter engagement for brands is 17 percent higher on Saturdays and Sundays. In terms of time, research suggests later in the day (retweets tend to spike around 5 PM).

Remember: you can use a program like Hootsuite to automatically schedule and manage social media posts.

Q: How do you prove the ROI of social?

I want to be completely upfront with you here: your return will largely depend on the amount of time, money and resources you put towards social media marketing.

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, social media ROI is all about how much you estimate your social media goals are worth, and how that compares to the amount of money you spend on your social media marketing efforts. The worth of your goals will drastically vary depending on your overall strategy (i.e. posting at the best times, promoting the right content). Need inspiration? Click here to explore some awesome social media campaigns that really hit the mark.

Q: What are the best ways to track performance?

The best way to quickly and effectively measure the performance of your social media campaign is with Google Analytics. Not sure how to get started? Here’s a good beginner’s guide.

 

Want more social media tips? Check out these blogs:

What’s New with Instagram: Everything You Need to Know

Make the Most of Facebook by Using These New Features

15 Social Media Statistics Every Company Needs to Know

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