Back in the good old days of the Mad Men era, advertising lived and died by television, radio, newspaper, and billboards. You simply had your creative directors, account managers, artists, and so on. Not even the great Don Draper or Peggy Olsen could have predicted that one day, newspapers and magazines would be struggling to make ends meet with printed editions. The words digital strategist, graphic design, and social media marketing were unheard of. Now, advertising lives online. Why? Because we live online. In fact, people check their social media accounts about 17 times per day. This number might seem ridiculous at first, but it actually makes total sense.
Let’s Talk Numbers
Take a moment and think about all of your different social media accounts. Immediately, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter pop into your head. Oh yeah, and now that you think of it, you also love to go on Pinterest and YouTube from time to time. According to a Global Web Index Social Report, the average social media accounts per user sits at 5.54. As far as daily active engagement, people are on an average of 2.82 platforms. Of course, in the older age range, these numbers decrease slightly, while younger age ranges increase slightly.
With these numbers in mind, it’s important to realize that when brands play in this space, they need to be cohesive with the environment. Even it’s called “social media marketing”, users don’t want to feel like they are being marketed to. Lately, engagement on social media, making it imperative that your brand’s content stands out. Follow these best practices when it comes to different platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to help your brand gain popularity with users.
Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags. Make sure hashtags are relevant and specific to the brand. For instance, if you’re writing a post for a wedding cake from Charlotte Bakery, don’t just put #cake. This makes it very difficult to track the brand’s performance. Instead, try #CharlotteWeddingCakes. This unique hashtag makes it easy to measure how the campaign is doing.
Capitalization within hashtags with multiple words is also key. By capitalizing each word, users can read and understand the hashtag with ease. Isn’t #ReadingWithCapitals easier than #readingalllowercase?
Quality photos and videos are winners. Make sure the brand’s images are taken with high quality cameras. Instagram is all about filters, so make sure the brand’s posts utilize the different styles- just like other users! It’s also important to properly size images according to the specific platform. This infographic from Social Times highlights the appropriate image sizes for Instagram and other prominent social media platforms.
Interact with users when called to do so! Creating enticing content is important, but retaining brand followers cannot be left out.Social media marketing doesn’t end when you hit “post”. Make sure you’re reading comments and checking out what the brand has been tagged in. Respond to comments from users with the brand’s voice in a timely fashion. Thank users for their feedback (whether positive or negative). To initiate interactions, ask followers to answer open ended questions and respond to what they have to say. Keeping a high level of engagement with Instagram users and followers of the brand fosters a meaningful relationship that would not otherwise exist.
Business pages are a fantastic resource for consumers on Facebook. Branded profiles bear a striking resemblance to individual Facebook profiles, which allows brands to be seen as more humanistic. A business page should always have complete and updated information about the company. If the page is for a brick and mortar restaurant, it is imperative that the page prominently feature information such as the location, hours of operation, contact phone number, a link to the website, etc. It is extremely frustrating for users when this information is missing or inaccurate. For a brand such as Oreo, the page needs to update users with exciting information that pertains to them. While those that follow Oreo may not care about where an Oreo plant is located, they do care about interesting new flavors of Oreo cookies. Make sure the content within the business page caters to the users needs and reflects the brand’s image.
Time posts well to ensure the most interaction. Users tend to check Facebook frequently throughout the day, so be sure to post when the brand’s target audience is most active. Do research and test posting at different times to see what times are most effective. You may think posting after business hours on week days is the way to go, however you could find that you’re missing out on weekend activity. Don’t want to worry about branded social media posts on the weekend? Tools like Hootsuite can help you schedule out posts ahead of time so you don’t have to do so manually.
Take advantage of Facebook live video for a new, exciting way to engage with users. Live video is already immensely popular within the Facebook community. If something is happening to the brand that fans would be interested in, start streaming! It won’t be long before streaming becomes a key player within social media marketing. If you’re looking for tips and tricks on how to get involved with Facebook live video, there are many resources already available.
Be concise in order to get the brand’s message across clearly. You may be thinking, “I’m only allowed 140 characters, doesn’t that make my message concise?”. Not necessarily. It’s surprising how often brands try to cram multiple messages into 140 characters. That’s why it’s a good rule of thumb to stick to one clear idea per post. This allows followers to quickly consume and understand the brand’s message.
Keep track of trending hashtags and utilize them when they are relevant to the brand. Checking out the trending hashtags is a great way to stay on top of what users are excited about on Twitter. Thankfully, Twitter has a whole section devoted to trends, making it easy to see what’s hot in real time. If there is a trend that is highly relevant to the brand, jump in! However, if the brand appears like it’s reaching to be a part of something, users may react negatively.
Use images and videos frequently to entice engagement from followers. Twitter posts with an image or video are about 3 times more likely to receive engagement. Retweeting images and videos about the brand from fans is also highly encouraged. This builds stronger relationships with fans while creating brand awareness among other Twitter users.
Keep Yourself Educated on Social Media Marketing
When it comes to social media marketing, there are always new updates, tools, and processes popping up. That’s why it is so important to stay up to speed when it comes to marketing through social media. Get more wins by being proactive rather than reactive with social media marketing. Your followers will take notice.