Social media is the main way businesses engage with customers. That makes these platforms cluttered, competitive, and an uphill battle for your brand -- unless you know how to cut through the noise. With the right social media strategy, you can turn this necessary aspect of digital marketing into a sure-fire opportunity.
At the core of your social media strategy is the perfect social media post. This makes your customers stop and convert. But what goes into that ideal post to share on social media? Think about these marketing tips about what to post on social, and who to partner with to make it happen.
Know Your Platform
It's no secret there are multiple social media platforms, and different core demographics for each. But it's important to remember that your audience is likely using all of these platforms to some degree. Pew Research found that, in 2019, there was a significant number of users across at least nine social platforms -- from 11 percent that use Reddit to 73 percent who use YouTube. Pew's analysis includes Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, SnapChat and others. Remember, this was 2019 -- before most Americans had even heard of TikTok.
Tailor your social media post to the platform. You probably know the basics: Instagram relies on images, LinkedIn has more text. But there are other differences that are harder to spot. Hootsuite provides a great example: two apparently identical brand posts on Facebook and Instagram. The brand links to a website campaign page from Facebook, but directly to Instagram shopping from that platform. Think about the best post for the platform -- and what you want users to do in response to your social media message.
Go Beyond the Click
It's nice to get likes for what you share on social media. But that isn't enough. Have a conversion goal in mind. The brand example from Hootsuite is relevant here. Ask whether you want to 1) inform your audience; 2) boost your e-commerce; 3) increase SEO; or have other content marketing goals. Of course, you may want to mix things up. Hootsuite uses the 80/20 rule of thumb: 80 percent of posts should inform or entertain, 20 percent should mention your brand by name or sell products.
How do you inform or entertain? In partnership with a social media writer who can not only develop your social media posts, but blogs, articles, infographics and campaign pages that contribute to your overall digital marketing plan. With a full content ecosystem, your social media engagement can lead to increased customers and a boost to revenue. The best social media writers are pre-vetted, experienced, and available for freelance work on an as-needed basis -- no in-house training or onboarding required.
Aim to Stop the Scroll
Think about when you visit a social media site. Most people stop and read large blocks of text only occasionally. Images and brief phrases are the best way to grab attention. The lack of post engagement is not for lack of an audience. According to Smart Insights, in July 2020, among global internet users 43 percent were spending more time on social media because of the pandemic. That doesn't mean they are reading more -- but it may mean you have more opportunities to grab their attention.
Try to use original images -- a few snapshots your take around your small business might do the trick -- and aim for concise text. Typically, longer content that's essential for search engine optimization (SEO) is part 2 of the social media occasion. Get users to stop on your post first. Then move their eyes from a gripping photograph to a link to an e-commerce site, campaign page, blog post, or other in-depth content.
Embrace Infographics and Diagrams
Search Engine Journal put a number to something many already know: visual information sticks around longer than text-based information -- 65 percent longer. So your messaging has a longer shelf life if you present it in visual form. That's where the infographic comes in. Your social media posts are stronger if they look good and have something important to say -- two essential features of an infographic.
You don't have to come up with new infographic topics to get going. Your existing website probably already has engaging, relevant information you can translate into an infographic. Try working with an agency like Scripted to buy social media posts from qualified infographic writers who can turn a case study, research survey, or tip-based article into online diagrams that convert.
Tag Key Influencers
Some brands, in particular small business owners, may balk at the idea of "influencer." But this can actually turn into a powerful partnership. Hootsuite reported that in 2019 that 30 percent of retailers work with "micro-influencers." These are social media personalities with 5,000 to 25,000 followers. This may sound like a small number. But the key with the micro-influencer is hitting the right niche. It's better to work with an influencer who may have a few thousand followers who are engaged with your brand than a few million who are not.
It's a great idea to reach out personally to potential influencers. But to get the ball rolling, consider tagging one or two in your social media posts. They will see the tag and their followers may take note as well. It's just another way of broadening the reach of your social posts, beyond your own network.
Use the Hashtag
The hashtag is an easy way to make your social media post searchable among related content. But it also has the potential to clutter up your text, so your post loses much of its meaning. Stick with 1 or 2 hashtags. Try to link the tag to a search thread that connects with the audience you want to capture. Brainstorm a few hashtags and plug them into the search function of the social media platform. You'll know at once whether it's a good fit. Sometimes, what you think is perfect for your brand actually has a more common meaning on social media that doesn't go with your messaging.
You can also create an original brand slogan that you turn into an interactive hashtag. An interactive hashtag is one you want followers to use when they post their own content. Neil Patel uses the example of Red Bull's "#givesyouwings," and Coca-Cola's "#shareacoke." Both are deeply connected to brands, but also can take on a new life when everyday people attach the hashtag to their own social media shares.
The Power of Stories
There's no mystery to the compelling nature of the story. That goes for all of your website content. It's why case studies, customer testimonials, and brand videos are so important. But in terms of social media, don't forget Instagram stories and Facebook stories. These put your latest content in front of your followers. That's important when social posts sometimes get lost in news feeds or algorithm changes mean your potential customers don't see your posts even if they do follow you.
Stories only last for a limited amount of time, usually 24 hours. But they can be saved and posted elsewhere. Stories remind your followers of your product. They also let you post calls to actions like, "check out these deals," or "read our latest post." According to Sprout Social, you can include links with stories once you reach a threshold of at least 10,000 followers.
Keep it Current
Trending topics are synonymous with social media. That may seem irrelevant to your brand, but brands typically benefit when they stay up-to-date with what people are discussing on the platforms. Sometimes the mood of social media shifts, so it's not a good day to sell products or services -- but it may be a good day to show support for a community that is dealing with tragedy. Keeping it current is about going back to the roots of social media: forums for everyday people to discuss what's relevant to them, right now.
Staying current also means aligning your social media posts with the latest information on your brand. Your digital marketing team should stay on the same page with your company leadership when it comes to what's of greatest concern to your customers and what you have to offer. Social media is designed to be the latest, most up-to-date source of brand information.
Social Media Writers Support Your Brand Strategy
So, where do you start? These tips are supposed to help you think big picture about how to bolster your brand through social media. The next step is building the right team to put the pieces together. Scripted's roster of freelance writers are pre-vetted, highly qualified, and available for long-term, ongoing work or individual projects. Whether you are looking for social media post ideas or someone to bring your social media vision to life, Scripted writers can get it done.