Social Media: A Brand's Best Friend
Social media, when used properly, has the potential to be a brand's best friend! But, on the other hand, when a social media page or profile is left unmonitored or forgotten it can quickly turn into a company's worst nightmare.
Why Is Social Media So Important?
Social media has been gaining momentum and popularity for many years but in 2014, we saw activity on social media hit an all time high.
Users on Social Media by Channel:
- Twitter: 284 million active users with 500,000 tweets shared daily!
- Facebook: 1.35 million active users with approximately 83% of them using mobile devices.
- Pinterest: 40 million active users with 15 billion pins shared in the first six months of this year.
- Instagram: 300 million active monthly users with 60 million photos being shared daily.
- Google+: 540 million active monthly users but the average user only spends 7 minutes in platform each month.
- LinkedIn: 330 million total registered users with 47% of unique visitors using mobile devices.
Beyond the number of users social media platforms have, the engagement level of users has continued to rise. According to Marketing Land and Shareaholic, social media drove more referral traffic twice in 2014 than search, and the momentum shift is clearly in favor of social media! So what does that actually mean? It means that more people navigated to websites by clicking on links they found in social media rather than links they reached in search engines. That is a BIG deal for digital marketers!
If more people are finding their daily content within their social media platforms instead of directly searching what they are looking for in Google, Bing or other search engines; digital marketers need to make sure their content is not only optimized for SEO but for maximum sharability, virility and audience engagement. This means content needs to provide the information people are looking for while also including short and compelling key takeaways that encourage people to share and interact with the piece on social media.
Why Is It Important For Brands to Be on Social Media?
In case the vast amount of users regularly using social media was not enough to compel a brand to see the value in social media; Hubspot reported earlier this year that 80% of markers indicated their social media efforts increased traffic. They also noted that 92% of all marketers indicated their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their business.
In the digital world we live in, a brand has to figure out which platforms their target audience occupies and make sure they are engaging there. Consumers expect marketers to come to them! So don't miss out on the opportunity to reach your audience.
How often should companies be posting on their social pages?
Of course, there is no easy answer to this question. For starters, the answer varies based on which social channel the marketer is utilizing, as well as the industry the business is in. When deciding the best schedule for you, always start by looking at what content is currently working and what is underperforming.
It is also important to keep in mind that social media is a pay-to-play world. For example, it is currently estimated that approximately only 2-5% of a pages fans will see organic content. So, brands have the flexibility of posting multiple times daily, without overwhelming their users. That being said there is such a thing as too many posts! We recommend testing out multiple posting schedules on the various platforms to decipher the best number of posts for you.
On Facebook we recommend posting fresh content at least three times a week, but in order for your audience to notice the content and consider the page to be actively posting, try to post one to three times daily. This does not need to be strictly content from your website; this can also include sharing relevant news for your industry or a human interest post about individuals in the office.
On Twitter users news feeds are updated with new content by the minute, allowing brands to post more frequently than other platforms without badgering their users. We would not recommend posting more than once an hour unless there was a particular event that you were live tweeting or updating your followers on. We also do not recommend tweeting more than eight times a day unless you are aiming to reach an international audience where you will be posting on a 24-hour schedule.
Since LinkedIn is a more professional platform that sees the most activity Monday through Friday, we recommend only posting on weekdays. Since the content shared on LinkedIn is different than many of the other platforms keep your posts professional and only post once or twice daily in an attempt to not overwhelm the individuals following you.
Pinterest is a very different platform than the others, as there are no strict rules for how often to use the platform. One thing we do recommend is including a variety of content from other relevant, reliable and credible sources. Do not just put your website content and blogs out on Pinterest. Take the time to share content that pertains to your field and that you find that is consistent with your messaging and quality of content.
Since many brands are still finding their way to Instagram, it is easier to annoy followers on the platform. We recommend staying active by posting multiple times a week but not posting more than two or three times a day. When posting on Instagram as a business it is very important to have a balance of content based pieces and fun images!
Keep in mind these are general guidelines and vary from industry to industry, the best way to find out what is best for your particular profile and audience is to A/B test. Once you have decided what has been working and hasn't been working for you in the past play around with the schedule you use. Keep in mind if you are thinking about testing yet this year to set a schedule for 2015 the upcoming holidays will dramatically skew your results!
How to Make or Break Your Social Presence!
Beyond just posting and sharing content, it is important for brands to interact with their users. This involves more than just liking their positive comments on posts! When a user asks a question, it is important for them to receive an answer in a timely fashion. When a user posts a negative review or comment, it is crucial that a brand replies to that negative feedback and shows that they are doing what they can to make it right in the eyes of that customer. Often taking the time to follow up with the disgruntled individual, finding a resolution and showing that someone from the company cares is enough to turn them into a happy and loyal customer.
Individuals use social media as a way to connect with their friends and family. When brands move into that space they need to be prepared to provide those human interactions and connections with the users taking time to interact with them! It is more important for brands to engage with the comments, reviews, tweets, tags and posts of their audience than to constantly push out content.
When this engagement and personal touch is overlooked is when a seemingly harmless social media page can turn into a full blown disaster! Be sure to show your audience you are present and appreciate their feedback both positive and negative - it is how your company can grow and learn.