Hey Socially Stephanie,
I'm managing the Facebook page of an American health and fitness website that sells e-books on various health and beauty problems. Half of our followers are based in the US and the other half is based in Europe, which makes posting tricky due to time zone constraints. How do we keep our posts active in both time zones while maintaining engagement during these times?
Dear Going Global,
When it comes to social media, the world is flat. You know this inherently and now you're experiencing it as well. Luckily for you, I have a great strategy to help manage your time as well as increase your engagement while you're sleeping. Let's get to it, shall we?
The first thing I want you to do is take a good hard look at your Facebook Analytics. This is going to be your golden ticket to finding the absolute best times for reaching your audience. Remember, social media is all about sending the right message at the right time, to the right audience. But you already knew that.
When you get in there and dig deep, you may be surprised to see that there's an overlap in the time of day that your European audience and your American audience is online. Yes, you can let out that sigh of relief. The majority of your fans are going to be active during the same time throughout the day.
This is when I want you to post your most important updates. This timeframe is likely going to be during the same hours that you're awake and active, so the engagement should be no problem for you to manage.
Most popular time to post? Check. Now, let's look at the second most popular time to post. This is going to be the time of day that you're likely not around perusing the social web. You may be sleeping, you may be out to dinner, or you may be taking a shower. This is the time I want you to schedule your second post. The tricky part is engaging with the audience that responds to that message. Luckily, you have a few options here.
The first option is to let it lag and respond when you are back in social media community management action. While you may run into some issues here and lose some of the typical "virality" that happens when you respond to comments happening in real time, you can capture that hot lead at the time of interest, which may come later. The other option is to engage in a little brand ambassadorship. This is the best option.
You have brand ambassadors. You know, the people who are super fans. Your Influencers, brand ambassadors and super fans are the ones who eat up all your content, share your stories, and buy everything they can get their hands on. Got a good idea of who those people might be? Good. You're going to engage them and give them a job within your community. Because you're likely to have a few European Ambassadors in addition to your American ones, you'll be able to reach that European audience from a familiar voice—the European voice—during the time they're active. Make this super fan a moderator and assign them the very special job of responding and engaging with your audience while you're away.
There are a few things to be wary of though. This person has to be trustworthy. This person also has to be compensated in some way in order to make this program really work. Some products and recognition might do the trick, or you might have to pay them for their time. Regardless of how you choose to compensate your new engaging super fan, the benefits are going to be huge.
Okay, now that you have the two different time zones taken care of, it's time for a little engagement boosting. It's not a secret that engagement on Facebook has been dropping off like flies. Yes, be cautious. But this little trick I'm about to share with you is your answer to boosting posts without paying for advertising. It's worth a million dollars so pay attention. This technique is what I like to call "Story Boosting."
The Facebook News Feed works as follows:
When someone engages with the content you share, its reach will increase. The goal is to get as much engagement on one post as possible so that the reach goes beyond fans, to friends of fans, and friends of friends of fans. One great way to reignite a Facebook post is to comment on it or share it after it's lost steam. I want you to comment on and re-share the American posts during European times, and comment on and re-share the European content during American times. This way, your audience will be able to see what was shared while they were away and it will resurface back to the news feed. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
Well, there you have it! A global strategy for a domestic business. Good luck! I'll be watching.
Do you have a question for Socially Stephanie?
Please email SociallyStephanie@socialmediatoday.com and let Stephanie help you solve your social quandaries, queries, and boondoggles. (Questions may be edited for length and clarity.)
Illustration by Jesse Wells