It’s the age-old question on every business owner’s lips…how do you create content that ranks? Is there a trick? Is there a knack?
Every business with a marketing campaign that strives for ultimate success needs to incorporate social media into their strategy. And part of a successful social media strategy is having a designated social media content strategy.
Facebook is by far the most utilised social media platform for business and, love it or hate it, for success in the public domain you really do need to have a Facebook profile for your business and brand. To ignore the Facebook juggernaut is to place the potential reach of your brand in peril.
To have a superior social media content strategy, you need to have a social media content plan. This includes set benchmarks for how often you post, what you post and how you post. Ideally, your content will be planned at least a week (but even better, longer than a week) ahead of time.
You need to be posting content that search engines will be encouraged to rank. This includes savvy use of appropriate search engine optimisation (SEO) keywords, links to your business website, links to a regular unique blog and other wisely considered factors. Engagement is a huge factor to consider – the more engagement your post receives, the better it will rank.
What do you, as a business owner and brand, need to incorporate into your social media content plan?
- Post a wide variety of content
This is the key to attracting and retaining your followers. Include a regular array of photos, press releases and links to blog posts, inspiring or funny memes and news updates, fun facts relating to your business or industry and even videos.
- Post content that appeals to your followers
Appealing content will be shared, engaged with and will ultimately rank well. Don’t simply self-promote or post constant sales pitches. Instead, provide information and content that will be valuable in some way to your follower base, whether it be informative, funny or inspiring. Doing so will build a stronger business/customer relationship.
- Post mindfully
The timing of your posts is critical. There are certain times to post that are much more valuable for your end game than others. There has actually been research done into this phenomenon and some basic rules to follow include:
- Don’t post a tsunami of content that will clog up the newsfeeds of your followers – 1-2 posts per day is enough.
- Post consistently.
- Publish posts at times in the time zone where the majority of your target audience resides.
- Publish a blog post between 8am and 1pm Monday to Thursday.
- Post on Facebook later in the week between 1 and 4pm.
- B2B (business to business) posts on Twitter are most effective on weekdays between 12noon and 6pm.
- B2C (business to consumer) posts on Twitter are more effective on Wednesdays and weekends.
- Pinterest has most activity on Saturday mornings.
Updating too often or not often enough on social media will quite likely alienate your follower base. The biggest reason people dump Facebook friends and unlike Facebook pages is that they are bombarded continuously with too many non-valuable posts. Make each and every post valuable to your followers.
By understanding your audience and when they are active on the platform, you can tailor your post timing to increase views, shares and links. Ask yourself, when are your followers likely to log on to social media? The most likely answer is when they are bored or relaxing.
FACEBOOK: Engagement has been shown to peak on Thursdays and Fridays. Posting after 8pm on any day results in fewer shares and click-throughs.
Hashtags on Facebook are far less popular than they are on Twitter or Instagram and can even have a detrimental effect to your social media content strategy. It has been shown the more hashtags attached to a Facebook post, the fewer interactions those posts will receive.
TWITTER: Followers are more likely to engage with the platform during school and work hours. Contrary to Facebook, Tweets with hashtags will garner higher levels of engagement, with the ideal number of hashtags per post being one or two only.
PINTEREST: If you use Pinterest for social media marketing, you will need to think a little differently. Business hours are the worst times to post on Pinterest; Pinterest activity peaks at 9pm and posting is best done between 8pm and 11pm. Any day works well.
LINKEDIN: Best utilised for posting between Tuesday and Thursday, during business hours. Mondays and Fridays are taboo – users are either busy at the beginning of the working week or focused on the weekend on a Friday.
- Include a call to action on every post
By including a call to action of some kind, even in the form of a question inviting a response, followers of your page will be much more inclined to interact with it and its content. By addressing them in a personal way, they will feel valued and respond in kind. People, by and large, are self-absorbed at least to a point, and as such respond very well to being addressed personally and given the opportunity to have their say.
- Invite two-way conversation
This is an extension of the above point. You can talk at your followers as much as you like, but if there is no facility for them to comment on your posts, and if you don’t respond to these comments, it’s like having a radio on and in the end it just turns into noise. Imagine talkback radio without the listener’s part of the conversation – it just would not work. Facebook and other social media platforms are social and this means both talking and listening. Allow for a dialogue with your followers, who will hopefully also be or become your customers.
BLOG: Are you making these social media mistakes? Check out the biggest social media mistakes businesses make here.
- Tailor your content to your platform
Don’t use a cookie-cutter approach and post the same content to Facebook as you do to Twitter. Get inventive and creative.
- Have a business blog
A regularly updated blog not only gives you content to link to your website, but also establishes you as an expert in your industry. It allows for SEO keyword use and as long as content is dynamic, Google will sit up and pay attention, ranking you more highly than it will if you have no blog at all. Posting a new blog article each week or fortnight is ideal.
- Make special offers and contests just that – SPECIAL.
Competitions and giveaways are great for consumer engagement, but use them wisely. They should be exciting and fun, and not something that happens too often. Something unusual carries an edge. Additionally, make sure when you run a competition or giveaway, you follow through on it. A giveaway that people must like, comment, and share to participate in will turn sour very quickly if the winner is never announced.
Make contests creative. Suggestions include photo, video or short poem competitions. For example,
- Funniest pet photos
- Caption this!
- Fill in the blank
- Tell your story
- Why should you win?
Follow these steps for your social media content plan. Think about what you would like to see from your brand if you were a consumer, then deliver that in your social posts. Track what gets a great response, what does not and modify your strategy to suit.
WANT MORE? Of course you do!
I’m always creating new content for you guys so you can stay up to date on everything that’s happening in the world of social media. So here are three blogs worth a read:
1 The power of persuasion: How to persuade and influence for success with social media marketing
2 Snapchat 101: Harness its power for marketing
3 16 tips: How to build your business with LinkedIn
Speaking of LinkedIn … Social media a great tool for raising awareness, generating leads and boosting your bottom line. If LinkedIn is your preferred social media channel, check out our free LinkedIn eCourse to help you get the most out of the platform for your business.
Meanwhile, if want to step up your social media efforts this year, now is the perfect time to get your social media strategy together. Intimate knowledge of social media advertising trends results in a successful social media marketing strategy. This translates to a broader advertising reach, exponential growth in your customer base, higher consumer interest, interaction and satisfaction, and, ultimately, greater profits for your business.
CHECK OUT OUR BLOG: Top social media trends for 2016