The world of marketing and advertising has gone through countless changes just in the past few years. As more devices are constantly connected to the internet, and as more people start using the web than ever have before, internet marketing has quickly become one of the most cost-efficient ways to promote yourself and your business.
Social media marketing is just the latest iteration of those countless changes: another new tool for your marketing toolbox, another venue to deliver your message to potential customers. All this new technology has come about so quickly, it’s tough for many business owners to wrap their heads around just how to use it all.
Here are a few tips and lessons that will let you get the most out of social media marketing for your business.
When Using Twitter, Pay Attention to Letter Count, Content, and Even the Time of Day
Users on Twitter don’t necessarily want to be sold something directly all the time. Marketing content is more easily tolerated on Twitter, though, because of the speed of users’ timelines. For basic social marketing strategies, you should use the 70/30 rule: 70% of your posts are unique, curated and shared content, or interaction with your followers; and 30% of your posts should be actual marketing materials. This way, you provide both a platform through which to deliver your message, as well as a source of value and entertainment for your followers.
According to recent market research from Buddy Media, there are all kinds of advanced factors that play a part in your marketing efforts on Twitter. The date and time you post a tweet can severely impact its reach, and you should engage followers through Twitter during times that make sense for consumer behaviors within your business. The study showed that brand engagement happens most over the weekend, while brands largely post tweets during the weekday—exactly the opposite of what they should be doing. Twitter users are much more active and busy, so posts throughout the workday are more likely to attract engagement, as well.
The content of a tweet affects how much engagement your Tweet sees, as well. Shorter tweets under 100 characters, and tweets that include links or a couple of hashtags all enjoy a higher engagement rating overall. Tweets that include images see a shocking 200% engagement increase over regular tweets.
On Facebook, Evaluate Your Competition, Focus Locally and Optimize For Your Fans
Facebook is a different platform entirely, and even though you can publish content directly to both Twitter and Facebook with one click, it may be a better idea to customize your message for Facebook—especially if you plan on posting frequently. Once you’ve established your business page on Facebook and you start to attract fans, you’ll need to know how to keep them interested and engaged.
If you’re a small business with a physical location, or you’re targeting a particular region, you need to think locally. Put location specifics in your About section, and if you have multiple regional locations, consider making multiple Facebook pages for each region. This way, Facebook can help you get exposure for your specifically targeted customers by pointing them your way based on local results.
Localizing can be skipped if you’re online-only, but you have to do the next step thoroughly: investigate your competition. Cruise around on Facebook looking for your known competitors, and look at their content publishing strategy. How often do they post? Do they get a lot of engagement from their fans? Do they have many fans at all?? Sizing up your competition will set the bar for what you’ll be expected to provide. If the bar is low, really wow your competitors’ fans as well as your own with stellar content.
Most importantly, you should “optimize for your fans” by making your posts simple, share-worthy and easy to engage with. Buddy Media has a Facebook effectiveness study much like their Twitter statistics report, and their insights may surprise even seasoned Facebook users. Part of making your posts easy to engage with means you should post content during peak engagement hours, which are generally 9 am to 8pm daily. Thursday and Friday’s engagement rates are 18% higher than the average, so be sure to post something then.
There are plenty of other social networks, but none are nearly as unique or as massively popular as Facebook and Twitter. Understanding how to use these two valuable assets effectively will help your small business succeed online in social spaces.