It’s no secret that social media is taking over the world! Ok, we may be exaggerating there…but in 2021, the global average time spent on social media per day was 142 minutes. Back in 2012 it was only 90, and now people have easy access to it on mobile phones the temptation to check those notifications is only exacerbated. So it would be foolish of businesses to ignore the sheer power and reach of being active on social media in some way. If you’re scared, or just don’t know the best place to start, here are Brand Monkey’s 10 ways to make the most out of social media marketing.
1. Start small
Tempting as it is to set up an account on every social platform going, try to resist. It will only end up being overwhelming and take up a lot more of your time than you anticipated. Plus it’s important to remember that not every platform will work for every business.
The main thing to consider when choosing which direction to go in is the type of audience that particular platform attracts. For example, Tiktok is primarily targeted towards a younger generation, with roughly 50% being under the age of 34. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is focussed more towards business professionals and B2B marketing. Consider who your target audience is and whether that social platform is the one that will be the most beneficial for you and your business.
You should also think about the type of work you produce. If your brand doesn’t have a lot of pictures that would work for marketing, Instagram probably isn’t the platform for you. If you have a service that benefits businesses, perhaps LinkedIn or Twitter would be a good choice?
To help you out a little, here’s a list of the current social media platforms and their demographics (source: sprout social):
- Tiktok – 1 billion users with 50% being under 34
- Instagram – 1 billion users with 33.1% aged 25-34
- Facebook – 2.7 billion users with 26.3% aged 25-34
- Twitter – 187 million users with 44% aged 30-49 with 68% male users
- LinkedIn – 738 million users with the largest group aged 46-55
- Snapchat – 265 million users with 75% aged 13-34
- YouTube – 2 billion users with largest age group aged 15-25
- Pinterest – 400 million users with largest age group aged 30-49 and 78% female users
The best thing to do is start with 1 or 2 social media platforms and focus on doing those well. It’s the old saying – quality, not quantity.
2. Remember to post
You may laugh but we see it happen all the time. When businesses first start their social media marketing bonanza, they go in all guns blazing with the best intentions. Then over time they may forget to post one day…or they’re too busy…or too tired…then before they know it 2 weeks have gone by and they haven’t checked their account at all. Social media is often the last thing on their minds when they’re trying to run a business. But that’s not the best way to make the most out of these free marketing tools.
A few things happen when people forget to post. Mostly, customers will draw their own conclusions from an unused social media page. They’ll presume perhaps the company isn’t in business anymore. Silly, we know, but it happens!
The other thing is the platform’s algorithms kick in. They want users to interact with their site regularly, so will absolutely promote the accounts that garner that interaction they crave. When you haven’t posted for a while, the platform presumes the same as the customers, and will promote the posts you do manage to write less and less. Infuriating, yes, but a clever move to get businesses to use their platform every day.
3. One post a day keeps the algorithms at bay
Remembering to post is one thing, but there is such a thing as too many posts. More than 2 a day is sacrilege.
Ok, we’re being a little dramatic, but one post a day is plenty. It’s enough for the bots to see you’re a regular contributor to the platform and enough for the consumers to see that you have something to say without bombarding them. If you start over-posting, the platform’s algorithms will begin hiding your posts. They don’t want their users getting annoyed and leaving the platform to head to another one. It’s even recommended that Instagram could be just 3 or 4 each week.
The same doesn’t apply to the stories features on these social platforms. You can post as much as you like using these features. It’s the perfect chance to show behind the scenes content and a bit more personality that you perhaps don’t want to be featured on your feed.
4. Don’t ignore video marketing
Video marketing can feel quite daunting at first but the facts speak for themselves. Video is 7.5 times more likely to get clicks than a still image and they’re twice as likely to get shared by users on their various social media accounts. Because of the sheer increase in interaction, social media platforms and search engines absolutely push video content above anything else.
The preferred length of a video differs from platform to platform and can change frequently, so it’s important to keep up to date on the latest changes. For example, Tiktok recently, despite having a standard 15 second video length, were promoting 7 second videos more than others. What followed were then a series of people attempting to increase their views by simply staring at the camera for 7 seconds. Not the most interesting…but it worked!
Instagram introduced IGTV, Instagram Live and Reels in the last couple of years in a bid to compete with Tiktok, and it’s certainly a marketing tool to consider if you’re using this platform. At the moment they’re pushing reels and live videos above anything else, so it’s a great opportunity to jump on for your social media marketing.
5. Use hashtags
Everyone’s favourite, right? You may roll your eyes, but you don’t have to bombard your posts with as many hashtags as possible. Although they allow you to add around 30 hashtags per caption, you probably shouldn’t put that many in. It can look too promotional and spammy from a customer perspective which can be off-putting. We want to be sold to without realising we’re being sold to. Plus the social media bots are a picky bunch. Too many hashtags and they think it looks too salesy so they ignore your post and promote it less. Why they then allow you to add that many is beyond me, but I guess they’re trialling things as much as we are!
Be selective. Hootsuite have a pretty nifty guide on best hashtag practises, but generally up to 5 is usually plenty, especially visually. For Twitter, no more than 2 – you’ve only got 280 characters after all, why waste them with loads of hashtags?
Use a mixture of niche hashtags and popular ones. Remember with ones like #love and #happy, although they may be popular, there’s always the chance your post will get lost in the hundreds of others that get posted at the same time. It’s all about trial and error.
You could also see what’s trending at the moment and see if you can create a post around that hashtag. Don’t just chuck one in for the sake of it because it’s trending, make sure it relates to your post. It only gets annoying for people looking at that hashtag as it looks like you’ve just jumped on the bandwagon.
You could even create your own hashtag. Brands are doing it all the time. Weetabix created a storm this time last year with their baked beans tweet. With the brand’s unique hashtag #HaveYouHadYourWeetabix, they didn’t need anything else to become viral.
— Weetabix (@weetabix) February 9, 2021
6. The 80/20 social media marketing rule
It’s been a bit of a golden rule for a few years that only 20% of your posts should be sales-driven or promotional, whilst the remaining 80% should be entertaining. Having a good balance where you’re not just churning out sales after sales posts is important for engagement. It can feel a bit pushy if all the audience sees is self-promotion.
That doesn’t mean your other posts don’t have to have anything to do with your brand. For example, if you’re a food shop, you could post recipe ideas, pictures of members of the team, behind the scenes content. Or you could go completely off the wall and do an Innocent Smoothie.
They have their branding strategy and voice down to a T. Just look at their Twitter. Even their bio says, ‘We make healthy drinks. Please buy one so we don’t get fired.’ They create sales posts without them coming across like they’re selling – perfect for the modern consumer!
We just need to make sure there aren't any robots buying our drinks. Particularly robots who don't know what the colour blue is. pic.twitter.com/lrrKO5SZIF
— innocent drinks (@innocent) February 8, 2022
The best thing to do is try different things. You’ll find certain types of posts get more interaction than others. Memes and quotes are usually great for better engagement, as are posts that ask people questions or opinions on something. Create posts that invoke an immediate reaction from them, be that laughter, horror or sadness.
You’ll also find how well a certain type of post does can vary week to week. It’s infuriating, but try not to get hung up on the numbers. Keep an eye on your insights to get a better idea of what your audience are engaging with and try different things. Social media and what’s trending is ever changing, so don’t worry too much about fitting in.
7. Show your personality
Depending on the type of voice you want your brand to exude, social media is a great place for you to show off some personality. Innocent Smoothie of course trumps all, but Waterstones Swansea are another great example of a unique brand strategy.
It’s not just about making it funny – it’s really just about showing that you’re a human being. Creating an emotional connection to the audience makes them feel more connected to you. We’re all human after all, and customers like to see that there’s a face behind the brand. They want to feel like they are interacting with an actual human being.
Being consistent across the platforms is certainly a great way to solidify your overall branding, but depending on which platforms you use, it’s also a good idea to consider adapting to suit the platform and its audience.
Using the stories features on the platforms are a great tool to show off a bit more of your personality. Lots of people like to have a consistent aesthetic on their profile page, so using the stories means you can show off extra content and keep your profile free of any clutter.
8. Interact with your audience
The thing that makes these big brands work is that they don’t ignore their audiences. Replying to comments not only shows that you’re listening and engaging with them, potentially making them more likely to look at your work again, but social media platforms love it! They boost posts that get more comments as opposed to just likes as they’re more meaningful, and the way you get more comments is by interacting with them yourself.
9. It’s not about the numbers
Please do not pay for followers. These ‘get thousands of followers overnight’ campaigns are a waste of your time. You may indeed jump from 100 followers to 3000, but just think, how many of them will actually use your business? How many of them are spam or fake accounts? It’s so much more effective and rewarding to take it slow and end up with genuine followers interested in what you have to say.
We’d even say don’t bother paying to advertise or boost posts on social media. It’s been proven time and again that you don’t need to pay for a post to go viral. Getting hung up on the number of likes you get is a dangerous game for your mental health, plus it’s a game that you cannot win.
Sites like Facebook of course will favour those who pay to play, so if you decide you do want to run an advert, make sure you tailor it thoroughly. Use all of the targeting tools at your disposal so you reach the right audience, demographic and location. It’s not ridiculously expensive to run a campaign on social media, and you can usually adapt them during the campaign if you need to. It’s all about trial and error and seeing what works for you.
10. Plan ahead…sometimes
If you’re a busy person and want to relieve the pressure of having to remember to post every day, there are ways of scheduling posts. It means you can come up with a whole strategy for your posts and social media marketing in advance, including planning for specific times of the year like the change of seasons, Christmas or Valentines to name a few.
Hootsuite is a popular choice as you can put all your accounts in one place. Alternatively, if you’re only using Facebook and Instagram you can download the Business Suite to access all these extra tools.
Facebook have recently done an update on the Business Suite (yes, another one!) so you can actually schedule Instagram posts as well. It took them long enough! Plus it now allows you to post to both platforms at once with the option to edit the caption and tailor it to the platform it’s going out on.
One thing we would mention is that although scheduling in advance is a handy tool if you’re busy, the social media algorithms prefer when people post directly onto the platform in real time. Creating a social post doesn’t have to take a long time, so if you can do it on the day it would probably be better for engagement.
This is just a snippet of how you can make the most out of your social media marketing. If you find that you just simply don’t have the time, knowledge or patience to keep on top of your social media marketing, you can always ask for help. You can find companies, like us, who deal with digital marketing on the daily, or there are plenty of freelancers out there who can give you a hand for decent price. Your marketing budget for the year can include paying for a social media manager. Although sometimes seeing the direct income you gain from socials isn’t obvious, it’s definitely a worthy investment just for the brand awareness you can achieve.
For more details on perfecting your digital marketing strategy, why not get in touch with us for a chat!