Every brand has a story to tell, and social media is a great medium through which to tell it.
Take a look at a company like Wendy's, for example - they've got this sweet-faced, redheaded girl as their company logo, then you turn to their social media and you find undeniably attractive imagery:
A post shared by Wendy's (@wendys) on May 1, 2017 at 11:52am PDT
A fantastic sense of humor:
And a major case of sass:
.@McDonalds So you'll still use frozen beef in MOST of your burgers in ALL of your restaurants? Asking for a friend.- Wendy's (@Wendys) March 30, 2017
It's important to stop here and note that roasting the competition does seem to work for the Wendy's brand on social media, but that being said, it's not something most marketers would recommend companies do, as customers could interpret it as unprofessional.
So, unless your brand is as big as Wendy's, and can easily recover from an insensitive social media snafu, it's best not to roast the competition for the whole world to see.
Aside from Wendy's, there are loads of companies who are killing it on social media; each of which has found their own winning solution for social media marketing success. Part of that success comes from finding their groove - in other words, they've found a way to make their social media presence jive with the voice and image already established for the brand.
There are also a number of best practices that can ensure that the quality and quantity of your company's social media content hits that sweet spot with your target audience.
Curious to know the winning formula for your brand's success on social media? You've got to start with crafting the right posts - here are nine key tips to get you started.
1. Know your audience
Before beginning any sort of marketing strategy or campaign, you need to know your audience.
This means understanding what pains them, how your business' solutions or products ease that pain, and what the proper way is to connect with them.
For social media marketing, it's crucial that you identify where they're actually present.
Is your audience primarily active on Facebook? LinkedIn? Instagram?
Every demographic, and every brand's audience, is different, and it's important to hone in your efforts on the right platforms in order to maximize response.
Also, make sure your posts are written in a voice your target market understand and can relate to. If you run an assisted living facility, for example, and you're trying to engage with caretakers and family members of your potential customer base, emojis probably won't be the best way to go.
2. Keep it brief
People tend to use social media because it provides them with a quick respite from everything going on around them. So, rather than craft a lengthy post about what's happening at your company's event, or explaining your thoughts in a rambling post, keep it concise.
There's no definitive measure on this, but as an example, research has shown that the optimal tweet length is around 100 characters, while the perfect Facebook post sits between 40-80 characters. Probably shorter than you expected, right?
3. Cater to the platform's strengths
If you've spent enough time on social media, you know that each platform is geared towards delivering its own, unique user experience.
Twitter has its 140-character, bite-sized messages. Facebook has live video feeds and photo galleries. LinkedIn has a stream of thought leadership content.
Once you've identified which platforms work best for your audience, you need to also create posts that cater to each platform's strengths.
Here are some general guidelines for the most popular platforms for businesses:
- Twitter - Plain text posts. Links to content. Memes. Hashtags and handles (more on that below)
- Facebook - Photos. Memes. Videos (live and static). Links to content
- LinkedIn - Links to content. Some photos and videos are okay, so long as they remain professional in nature
4. Be original
If you're making the effort to use social media in your marketing, then don't copy anyone else's work. This means while it's fine to use your competitors as a comparative measure, you shouldn't use their posts to define your own approach.
Don't copy the title of an article and share it as your own post's message, for example, and always give credit where and when it's due (like if you share someone else's meme).
Your goal is to create posts that are compelling, useful, and unique. You want to grab your audience's attention and define your brand - you can't do that if you're using someone else's material. It needs to be true to your business and approach.
5. Don't focus on the me/we
People generally don't follow brands on social media so they can hear more about how awesome the company is.
People look to brands for deeper and more genuine engagement, that's why you'll notice many companies share content from others in their posts. This shows that they're knowledgeable about things outside their brand, and are interested in what others think and say.
In general, unless you have something really interesting to say about your customers' pain that doesn't involve you trying to sell your product or service, try to keep the 'me/we' out of it. That doesn't mean you can't share your own content or promote your site on social media, you just need to be strategic about it and focus on providing value ahead of self-promotion.
6. Make them want more
In terms of what, exactly, you should be posting, think about what would entice your audience to click through on your link, hit play on your video, or respond to that post.
Here are some ways you can do this:
- Ask questions or state an interesting fact, so that your readers can't help but feel the need to follow through for an answer or explanation.
- Create some mystery around your call-to- action. For example, "I really like #4 on this list, though I don't know how practical it is for small business owners."
- Use photos to inspire action. You can host photo contests (i.e. post your own and we'll award the best), caption this photo, or just share something that you know they'll want to share with friends, family, followers, etc.
7. Mix it up
It's okay to mix the personal with the professional on social media (at least on most platforms) - just make sure that the personal touches you leave are still in line with your brand's image.
For example, it's probably not helping your brand to post a rant about the U.S. government if you're in the business of selling fresh fruit subscription boxes.
8. Use the Right Keywords
Each social media platform has its own unique language.
For example, Twitter and Instagram utilize hashtags to help users find tweets, posts and content they're most interested in. Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ also provide hashtag linking functionality, though they're not really part of the natural writing style most people use on there. Instead, on these platforms, you'll want to use keywords that make sense for your brand as well as for your message.
Also, if you really want to optimize your posts to get noticed, pay attention to what's trending.
If your business has a local following, pay attention to what's happening around your area and use hashtags and keywords related to those events and news.
If your business is virtual, then take a look into what sorts of keywords are hot in your industry and see what you can do to weave them into your own posts.
9. Play Tag
When you know you're about to do wrong but it feels so right.- BarkBox (@barkbox) May 7, 2017
One of the best ways to get noticed by others on social media is by tagging other brands and individuals.
This works two-fold:
- If you regularly share content from a business or individual you admire and trust, and they notice your ongoing engagement with them, they'll be more likely to follow you on social and return the favor.
- If you share content from high-authority sources, your audience will take notice of what you're reading, who you follow, and make a correlation between you and them.
You can do this by using handles on Twitter (those are the names preceded by the "@" symbol) or tag the source of the content you share on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.
Include them when they're from reputable sources, companies or individuals that you want to build a partnership with, and also your loyal followers and customers.
At the end of the day, finding success on social media depends heavily on how well you build your content. Find your voice, use the right type of content for each platform, and always think about how your social media posts will ultimately help your target audience.