While most marketers are focused on getting content into the news feeds of the world, it's important to remember the less obvious functions and marketing applications of social channels.
Although many networks have emerged as valuable tools and merit discussion, I am choosing to focus on Facebook and Twitter as they are the most advanced in paid capabilities and therefore, beginning to be overlooked in other areas.
Since Facebook has become known for its pay-to-play positioning and the decline of organic reach, brands and businesses are hesitant to invest resources in the channel beyond advertising and creative development. This is understandable, but it's important to remember some of the less visible parts of a page that impact a visitor experience, such as the 'About' section.
Many pages do a poor job of filling out their information in the 'About' section despite it taking a brief effort. Yes, the section may not be seen by many, but it allows for a few key inclusions:
These measures are necessary to avoid any legal concerns and cover off with visitors on what may be assumed points by brands. These assumptions are possibly backed up by Facebook's own terms of service and usage, but by stating them explicitly, brand pages are helping to educate consumers and build stronger trust with users.
The inputs of hours, location, price range, parking, etc. are crucial for small businesses and shops. As Facebook continues to compete with Yelp and increase is sizeable mobile user-base, this information needs to be up-front and easily accessible for users that find a page through search or other discovery methods.
While a minor concern for most pages, the information section does allow for linking to websites and/or additional social presences. It is important to use all opportunities to drive interest across channels and give visitors a simple way to get there. Additionally, posts themselves should be occasionally dedicated to promoting other digital and social presences. Many brands are hesitant to do this if they do not believe their audience is present on other channels. This is a fair concern, but I don't believe you can truly answer that question without testing a few posts first to see if they come along.
As Twitter continues to refine its identity in the fast-moving social space, it is still known as a more personal, participatory channel than most. It is also often considered the channel most representative of our digital culture's rapidly increasing ADD. Beyond catchy headlines and other forms of "disruptive" content, there are a few areas brands and business should be sure to utilize to help gain attention.
The short 160 character description is often taken for granted, but is more powerful than many give it credit for. To illustrate this, we need to look at how users are notified of a new follower.
Whenever any profile follows someone, the user just followed receives a few signals depending on where they are. At a minimum, the user who was followed will receive an alert in the notifications section letting them know of who just followed their activity. This alone may extend to a real-time notification if the user is currently logged-in and active on the web version of Twitter or a mobile notification depending on their device settings. Additionally, many users receive email notifications when they have been followed. A colleague of mine recently referred to these emails as 'mini business cards' and it is an apt description.
The bio is a key factor in making a first impression on a user and if it is not used to succinctly sum up who you are or what your business is about, the chances of expanding your audience decrease exponentially.
Speaking of first impressions, the ability to pin a tweet at the top of a timeline should always be used when considering first-time profile visitors. If there is a key message or evergreen welcoming/brand statement that is valuable to your business, it makes sense to have this be the first thing a new visitor or follower sees.
In addition to following, favoriting, retweeting and replying there is one more, as-of-late overlooked, method of engagement with users on Twitter: lists. Lists are a great way to show users you respect their online relevance, authority and/or general interest as it relates to a specific group or topic. Adding users to a list creates a more personal connection and, of course, delivers an additional notification encouraging them to check out what you have to offer.
These functions are just a piece of the puzzle when it comes to social media marketing and I am not suggesting that they should be prioritized over other tactics. Every business and audience is different, but surely these additional layers are deserving of consideration and eventual implementation.
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