Looking to get more social media savvy? Here's ten top tips on how to get your content seen online.
1. Know your channel
Rule number one on social is know your channel. Content doesn’t translate from one platform to another. And there’s a special place in hell for those that confuse LinkedIn with Facebook on a daily basis. Tailor your content to your channels, and tailor your channels to your audience.
2. Use video
Video is the most popular form of content among social media users. From livestreaming apps such as Periscope and Facebook Live to Instagram’s recently unveiled rival to YouTube IGTV, video has exploded on social media in recent years. But attention spans are short. The average eight-second human attention span online supposedly decreases to just three seconds on social media. If you want to create thumb-stopping content, keep it brief with short clips tailored for mobile devices.
3. Get tagging
With more than three billion users globally, social media is more saturated than ever. So how can you make sure your content reaches the right people? Tagging key accounts in photo uploads is a pretty good place to start. Twitter allows you to insert up to ten image tags, and Instagram up to thirty, helping to boost reach and place your content right under the noses (or rather the notifications) of key users.
4. Don’t just shorten links, track them
A good chunk of social media users shorten weblinks to save on characters, but few take advantage of the tracking capabilities of link management platforms such as Bitly and Rebrandly. These apps allow you to create personalised links and gain valuable audience insights including number of clicks, user locations and top referrers. No brainer.
5. Share a mix of content
There are a number of guidelines on what content to share on social media but the simplest and most practical is the ‘rule of thirds’. As a workshop host once aptly put it, 'don’t be the friend that always talks about themselves'. Aim for one third promotional content (shouting about your brand or product), added value content (anything that informs, entertains or inspires users - think tutorials or news from your industry) and one third engaging with social media communities (customer service, audience polls or general chit-chat).
6. Engage with your audience
Social media is a two-way street, so don’t use it as a broadcasting platform. Join professional groups on LinkedIn, get to know Instagram communities and take part in Twitter chats. Engaging with your audience not only helps to build brand reputation but also harnesses social media as an invaluable resource in learning about consumer behaviours.
7. Do your homework
In the same vein, research what’s popular among your audience base. What content do they engage with? When are they most active on social media? How long do they typically spend online? There are a stack of tools out there to help, from stakeholder mapping and content research from the likes of Buzzsumo to social media monitoring tools like Sprout Social. Use real-time data to inform what you post and where you post it.
8. Develop tone of voice
On social media, it’s not just what you post but how you post it. Without a recognisable tone of voice, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. This doesn't mean we all have to be Innocent-style zany, but it's important to bring out brand personality in a way that’s authentic – informed by values, sector and, most importantly, audience. Is it formal or informal? Serious or tongue in cheek? Innocuous or controversial? Develop a style guide to ensure consistency and ask the big questions of your brand – to emoji or not to emoji?
9. Schedule posts
Finding it difficult to post regularly? Use scheduling tools such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck to timetable content and keep your social media channels ticking over. But don’t over-rely on these platforms. Preparing social media content in advance restricts functionalities such as image tagging. Scheduled posts are also easy to spot and have the potential to go horribly wrong à la McDonalds on Black Friday.
Often forgotten but easily the most important point on this list, evaluate. But beware of easily manipulable metrics such as likes, shares and impressions. Bots and paid-for followers are now part-and-parcel of the social media landscape. Good evaluation always relates to business objectives rather than vanity metrics. If you’re trying to improve customer service, measure response time and seek customer feedback directly through audience polls. If you’re looking to drive traffic to your website, use analytics tools to track backlinks and identify your top referrers... You get the picture.