Just about everyone is aware of the vice-like grip social media has on the digital world. Everyone is connected, even your 96-year-old aunt who once asked you which end of the floppy disk to insert into her computer if she wanted to hook up that internet she’s heard so much about.
With billions of users worldwide, social media presents a great way to connect with your target audience. A good social media campaign can even provide an important signal to search engines for ranking your site on their results pages.
But just because you live on Facebook and Twitter, that doesn’t mean you’re automatically an expert on using those channels to market your business.
Maybe you’re not getting the shares or retweets you’re after. Perhaps your website traffic is down. In any case, there are some surefire signs that your content isn’t working. Let’s take a look at them and see if we can cure what ails you.
1. You’re Paying Attention to Vanity Numbers
Why are you on social media in the first place? You probably want to improve traffic or drive sales, right? Then it’s time to stop treating social media like a numbers game.
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Social media is different from traditional advertising because, well, there’s a social aspect to it. It is better to have 1,000 engaged followers than 100,000 who aren’t listening.
You need to talk with your audience, not at them. Build valuable connections by responding to comments and commenting on others’ posts. Answer customer questions. Retweet a famous person and include your own personal comment in the post. Tag followers in posts that you think will interest them. Publicly thank a local hero. Be witty and make people laugh.
In other words, engage with people.
One company that does a great job with its social media campaign is DiGiorno. If you follow their Twitter feed, you’ll probably engage, and you’ll definitely laugh. Most of their tweets are about pizza but without the hard sell. And boy, do they get comments and audience engagement.
Here’s a tweet playing off the uproar over IHOP’s recent decision to change its name.
And another where they retweeted a customer’s adorable dog with a pizza box in his mouth, and it made use of their tagline too. (Good boy!)
When you engage with customers, you build valuable connections. Your followers are much more likely to share, like, comment, and hopefully BUY when they feel engaged. So stop playing the numbers game, and focus on nurturing relationships instead.
Before you get started with a social media campaign, be sure you’ve got enough to say. One way to manage this is to put together a content calendar. Spend an hour every week planning what to post on social media. There are also a number of online planning tools that will allow you to schedule your posts in advance, which can be a huge time saver.
Consistency is key here, and if you’re planning on building an audience, you need to make sure they have something to consume. Here are a few ideas for social media posts:
- Post reminders for company events.
- Inform followers of industry milestones or anniversaries.
- Break up blog posts into digestible chunks of information.
- Create a poll about a common concern in your industry. (And then post the results on your blog!)
- Share your thoughts on a popular trend.
- Post a humorous or inspiring quote from an industry legend.
- Generate comments with a fill-in-the-blank. (ie. “If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would go to _________________.”)
- Share “behind the scenes” photos of your office or workspace.
- Ask simple questions that your followers can answer quickly (Then post a round-up on your blog!)
- Share photos of your products.
- Share interesting data related to your niche.
There is no shortage of ideas for social media content.
3. Your Posts Are Way Too Long
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn aren’t the right places for your long-winded explanations of industry topics or an in-depth how-to guide. A good social media campaign should instead create brand awareness and drive traffic to your website. And the best way to do that is with short, interesting, and shareable posts.
Here’s a brief guide to effective posts on the biggest social media sites:
- Posts should be positive and friendly.
- Include some information, but don’t give it all away. You want followers to have to click!
- Include either an image or a link in each post.
- Keep it mobile-friendly with simple images. 80-85% of Facebook views are on mobile devices.
- Best time to post: Mon-Fri from Noon-3:00 PM.
- Respond to your comments and encourage customer engagement.
- Tweet questions and statistics to engage followers.
- Shorten URLs using bit.ly. Not only will this give you more characters to work within your tweet, but shortened URLs generate the most clicks and retweets.
- @ Mention and retweet influencers and celebrities to encourage them to comment.
- Avoid all caps, and only use abbreviations if they are well-known to your follower community.
- Use trending #hashtags. If you type the # and begin writing a common industry term, Twitter will suggest popular hashtags that include that word.
- Add an image or link to catch the eye.
- Status updates should be informative and up-to-date, with no more than 50 characters.
- Add a link to get the post noticed.
- Edit the link’s description text with concise, to-the-point language.
- Engage with your audience by responding to comments and asking more questions.
- Use portrait-style, vertically oriented photos.
- Photos should have a clean background that takes up less than 40% of the image.
- Human faces are a no-no in Pinterest photos, but bold colors like red, dark green, orange and pink get lots of likes and repins.
Sometimes, business owner hears that they “have to” be on social media to market their brand, so they log on and create an account. But too often, they do it without first thinking about the goals or strategy of their social media campaign.
Just like anything else in business, you’re more likely to be successful with social media if you know why you’re doing it. So what are your goals?
Are you a new, relatively unknown business? Perhaps you want to use social media to create brand recognition.
Are you a semi-well-known brand but struggling to get customers to your website? Then your social media posts can focus on getting people to click on your links.
Do you have a large following already? Focus on increasing conversion rates or funneling social media followers to your email list.
Whatever your goals, your social media campaign should include a directive or call to action. Post links that encourage visitors to “sign up today” or “join our mailing list.” Put those calls to action in your profile or page description, but also include them in a status update or tweet every now and then. Make sure your customers know how to patronize you!
You should also measure your success with data. There are a number of online tools that can tell you exactly where your website visits are coming from. Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, and RJ Metrics are a few examples.
5. You’re Ignoring LinkedIn (If You’re Doing B2B)
LinkedIn is an important tool for making and engaging with professional connections. Unfortunately, many marketers ignore this site. LinkedIn provides a platform where you can chat about industry trends, niche topics, and networking issues. What’s more, your fellow B2B nerds are all there, and they actually find this stuff interesting!
In addition, LinkedIn users can join groups geared toward a particular industry. This makes it a lot easier to find your perfect target audience.
While it’s true you can target specific groups on Facebook and Instagram as well, LinkedIn is a hub of serious content from thought leaders, CEOs, and professionals across all kinds of industries. Another plus: you don’t need to create viral photos to stand out. Substance matters here. From SEO to Social, White Peak is Here to Help If you’re looking for some guidance on your social media campaign, you’ve come to the right place. White Peak offers consulting services to help you craft the perfect strategy for marketing your business on social media. Or if you’d prefer, we can design a campaign for you. We’ll put together a comprehensive social strategy, generate content, and execute the final product flawlessly.
Contact us today, and let’s discuss the future of your brand.
Tim Woda is the CEO and founder of White Peak Marketing. He has been on the founding team of five successful start-ups and his digital marketing campaigns have acquired more than 800 million customers for his start-ups and White Peak’s client companies. Tim has been featured by The New York Times, Fox News, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and more. Under Tim’s direction, White Peak was selected as one of America’s Top Digital Marketing Agencies for 2021 by MarTech Outlook magazine.