Social Media Marketing networks allow businesses to communicate 24/7/365 with up to the minute updates from customers or fans. As advertisers we seek to optimize this new venue of consumer access it whenever they can.
But we’re not all Pepsi. We’re not all large corporations with social media marketing experts on hand to assure that our public image is as up-to-date and hip and relevant as can possibly be. We’re people. We’re small businessmen, bands, movie producers, and so on and so on. There are all sorts of things being plugged all the time on Facebook. But posting a status that is just a link to “Pepsi.com” once a month isn’t nearly enough, and putting up a post every half hour decrying the flaws of your competitors is way too much. How much is too much? What’s the right stuff to be putting up?
Quantity and Quality
It’s a good rule of thumb to post once a day. If there’s big news, twice can do, but you really want your news to be news. If you post too often, you risk becoming white noise and being removed from fans’ feeds. And if don’t post often enough, well, you vanish.
It’s not just about the proper quantity of posts, though. It’s about putting up the right posts. It’s about wording things correctly and with proper style. You want to put your best foot forward, always, even online. Clunky, long links look amateurish and flat out bad. Use link shortening services. They not only clean your posts up, but some link shortening services, like Bit.Ly and goo.gl offer analytics that show how many clicks your links are getting and from where and at what time. This information can help you know when your clients are using social media and, in turn, what the best times are for you to be posting. When possible, use brand-specific link-shorteners so that users running across your links know where they’re going. The internet is a scary place. It’s not as scary when you know where you’re going.
You also want to be sure your posts match your company’s intended voice and style. If you’re a car dealership, don’t say the word “farts” in your posts. If you’re a school of repute, don’t arbitrarily replace “s’s” with “z’s.” Equally perilous is eliminating the “g” from all gerunds. Be sure you’re including enough information in the posts to make them worth the viewer’s time. For instance, back to the car dealership example, if you’re putting up a post about a new shipment of cars that has just come in, mention specifically what kind of cars–not just make, but model and year. Include details on price. Back to the school example, include graduation rates, or dates for registration. Vague appeals for business don’t say very much about your business to set it apart from your competitors. As far as language goes in your posts, imagine you’re sitting across from a prospective client every time you post. If you wouldn’t say it face to face in a pitch, you shouldn’t include it in a post.
Another detail to consider is the word count of your posts. How many words should you use? It’s almost universally understood that the more concise an idea is communicated, the easier it will be to understand. The magic figure for online posts is around 100 characters. You can use services like wordcounter.net to save yourself some time figuring out when you’ve reached 100 characters.
The Scoring System
And all this plays into something called EdgeRank. EdgeRank is the algorithm Facebook uses to decide what goes in your feed and where. They use a number of parameters for this, such as pages liked in common with your friends, pages liked by people who like your pages, pages related to things that you like. It’s all very neat and very space-age. If you start losing followers, though, those connections between your followers and other followers and other companies become severed, and the odds of you coming up in someone’s feed drops, diminishing your reach, making you useless, feeble, ineffectual as an infant or an invalid.
Own the Stage
Facebook and Twitter have opened up an entirely new avenue to reach consumers. Just like television did and then radio before that, social networks have changed the way companies reach out. Facebook has over 300 million users in the states. That’s a lot of eyes. And if you’re going to set yourself apart, you’ll have to do more than the other guy when it comes to posting. You’ll have to take your posts seriously, even when they’re not serious. So: Post regularly, but not too often, make your posts to-the-point, make your posts informative, and make sure that you’re wording your posts with your audience in mind.
Before we get too carried away pitching countless coupons and new product lineups, let’s remember one thing: your audience are people more than they are consumers. It is social media, so be be social. Be fun, be exciting, or be super silly. Whatever fits with your brand and culture, people will respond to the element of humanity much better than simply posting sales and discounts. Even better, Facebook rewards your future posts with more reach should your previous content receive good engagement (i.e. comments, likes, clicks of the picture, etc.).
Know Your Audience
Every smart marketer knows how to speak to an audience. When you know your audience, you know how to receive the best engagement. Your main audience who understands you is already in on the jokes, the culture, the wording – everything. If you’re writing to a younger audience, you may want to use popular wordage used among them, or bring up topics they are concerned about. I know you’re thinking, “Clint Eastwood is timeless!”, but unfortunately teens will miss out on the joke or reference. And if your audience is new to your brand, they will need some training or more story telling to have them understand who you are.
As companies and consumers adapt to this new medium of communication, change in standards is imminent. And while it is imperative that companies roll with these changes to an extent, it’s important to not forget who your company is–to not lose the brand you’ve worked so hard to create. So use these standards as tools to cultivate that image. What do you do to ensure your social media posts reflect your brand?