By Aaron Aquilina | December 17 2018
Eighty-two per cent of SMEs are using social media to grow their business. But many marketers are still unsure of best practices for creating engaging posts that perform.
It’s not just SMEs that are using social media to grow their businesses. In my previous job at international academic publisher Taylor and Francis, we used Twitter and Facebook to drive our marketing’s success. As you can imagine, we turned to different channels for different subject areas, but the campaign results were always the same: improved social engagement with specified target audiences and increased traffic to the main site.
With over 3 billion users around the world, social media is pretty much the most popular thing since sliced bread. From selfies and food to career moves and marketing posts, absolutely everything has been documented across the broad array of popular networks. It’s also the only place where a green leaf salad can attract more attention than your wedding photos. #oops
So what has that lettuce leaf got that your marketing posts haven’t? Whether you’re posting company updates to Twitter or marketing posts on LinkedIn, the success of a post isn’t always down to its subject but also the tricks you use to optimise it.
Related read: Promoting Your Content to the Prospects You Haven’t Met Yet.
Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are all quick, simple to use, and a great way to interact with your customers. But rather than filling your character limits with just plain text, there are a number of ways to adapt posts:
#Hashtags. These enhance your content by highlighting keywords, resulting in increased discoverability when people search for the keyword in the built-in search bar. Keep the hashtag simple and relevant to the post topic, but also make it unique as opposed to ‘#marketing’ or ‘#content’, which will gather far greater competition from other tweets during the day. Restrict your post to one or two hashtags at most, as too many can become overpowering. On average, Twitter posts that include hashtags receive 16% more retweets.
Images. Use imagery to make your post more eye-catching and unique. Choose an image relevant to the topic. If you haven’t taken it yourself, it’s vital to use freely sourced images or paid images — you don’t want to be done for copyright. Using yearly subscription accounts like Canva allows you to create your own image in any way, shape, or form you wish, adding a touch of personalisation to the post. Typically, Facebook posts including photos receive 39% more interaction, whilst on Twitter, an image accompanying post receives 35% more retweets.
Emojis are a fun and modern addition to all posts. I find using emojis alongside your text makes it more human, but it’s important to make sure they’re suitable for the platform and purpose you’re using them for. (Probably not one for LinkedIn…) With hundreds of emojis to choose from, you can really express your feelings towards the topic in question. Again, don’t overload your post and, of course, make sure they’re suitable for work. (I’m looking at you, aubergine.) An article published back in 2013 showed that comments increased by 33% on Facebook posts including an emoji — that deserves a :)
Opinion polls. From personal experience, these give the greatest engagement rates. A source of direct communication with your customers, it allows them to voice their opinions and feel valued in the feedback they provide. You can choose the question, answers, and even the expiry date of the poll. Live statistics also show the current status for each answer(s) and provide a stepping stone for your audience to interact with each other. At Taylor and Francis, opinion polls worked very well for my Philosophy account; after all, philosophy is all about opinions.
Tagging increases circulation and a chance to gain traffic to your site from customers who are not necessarily using your services. Tagging other businesses relevant to the topic will broaden the reach of your post, and hopefully, that business will share your post too. For example, if you’re a small IT firm and have an interesting post about Microsoft, tagging the technology giants could lead to a greater audience from whoever is reading their posts. Obviously, avoid tagging competitors.
With social distribution key to content promotion, it’s no secret that social media is central to an effective inbound marketing strategy. Your buyer persona research can be helpful for informing your social media targeting and which platform to use, while a closer look at the buyer’s journey can really shape the messaging you put out with each post.
But as we start to look more and more at delighting and retaining our customers, it’s important to recognise that your social channels can also be an awesome way of managing and improving customer satisfaction.
71% of consumers recommend a brand after having a good social media service experience with them, highlighting your Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn channel’s potential for reaffirming your brand as one your prospects and customers alike love to engage with and buy from.
Social media activity is fundamental to inbound marketing success, but making sure your team stays on top of it can be time-consuming. With this in mind, there’s a whole range of tools you can get on board with to really drive your campaign’s social media performance.
If you’re watching the department’s pennies, Hootsuite offers a free trial allowing you to test their social scheduling capabilities, allowing you to line up a series of posts across channels, in effect tackling all your social media for a given period of time at once. (Hello, efficiency.) By scheduling posts for future publication, you can better target specific customers within different regional time zones, too.
As a HubSpot Diamond Certified partner, we’d be remiss not to recommend sales and marketing platform HubSpot’s social media tools. Alongside its inbound marketing capabilities, HubSpot Marketing Hub enables you to ‘monitor brand mentions and relevant conversations, track engagements automatically, and schedule your social posts to be published when the right people will see them.’ You can then monitor all activity via one central hub of results using the analytics dashboard included in the software.
So there we have it: just a few tips and tricks I find useful when optimising my social media posts. Relevant, minimalistic, and target market are the three terms you need to think about when planning your posts, but once triggered, you can sit back, relax, and watch the engagement flow in. Goodbye green salad, hello green notes.
Learn more about the crucial role social media plays in inbound success by downloading our free guide to content strategy and implementation — click the image below for your free copy.
Content writer by day, football writer by night.
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