What is the best way to leverage social media for your business?
I recently engaged in a few LinkedIn discussions inquiring how often a business should post to different social media outlets, and how much social media activity is too much. Social media is important for businesses, but it requires effort to properly utilize these platforms. Here is a roundup of some of the most compelling questions and insights I discovered in these discussions.
1Where should I invest time building a presence?
Simply put: where your audience hangs out. Before your audience will come to you, you must go to them. According to Social Media Examiner, the top social platforms used by marketers are:
- Facebook – The largest social media platform with more than 1 billion users. Generally more effective for for B2C than B2B.
- LinkedIn – Networking for professionals, excellent for building professional image, making and nurturing connections.
- Twitter – Short, sweet, micro-blogging platform for both B2B and B2C. Has predominately urban audience ages 18-29.
- YouTube – Diverse audience of more than 800 million users. Might explain why YouTube is now the #2 most popular search engine!
- GooglePlus – 348 million users and counting. Predominately male and tech-oriented audience.
1.5Would it be better to limit involvement in what is manageable?
Yes. Many companies struggle to allocate the resources needed to run an effective social media campaign. It is important to remember that an ignored social media presence is often worse than no presence at all; out of date content and and infrequent posts convey a lack of care and reflect poorly on an organization. To keep your social media presence active, consider these tips:
- Do your research, start slow, and grow! Start of with the one top platform that works for you and your audience. When you’ve got that down, explore a second platform.
- Dedicate one at least hour each day to social media efforts and content creation.
- Use social media management tools like HootSuite or TweetDeck to consolidate your social media efforts.
2How often should a business post on social networking sites?
Posting frequency depends on what you have to say that is interesting and poses value to your audience or the conversation. That said, in order to establish a consistent presence, it does help to set some guidelines. Here are some recommendations:
- LinkedIn – 1-3X weekly
- Twitter – 2-5X daily
- Facebook – 7-10X weekly
- GooglePlus – 2-5X weekly
As for times of day to post, take a look at this infographic from Business2Community that lays out peak traffic times per platform. Each platform is slightly different, but a good rule of thumb is not to post on weekends or after office hours (except for LinkedIn).
3Segment your content
Every social media platform is different and users engage differently on each. LinkedIn, for example, is more about building professional relationships and laser-targeting leads. Therefore, posts should offer more professional insight and convey your expertise. Twitter and Facebook are a bit more informal and open themselves up more for casual conversation.
Even if you want to share the same content across each platform, change things up a bit! Your audience doesn’t want to read the same exact sentence on 5 different feeds. Varying your tone & posting style will also help you gauge which posts best engage your audience.
4GooglePlus: the rising star
Although it might have been dismissed in its early days as a less appealing Facebook alternative, but GooglePlus is gaining traction in the social media world. A SocialMedia Examiner survey concluded that 61% of marketers want to learn more about using the platform to engage with their audiences.
- Helps with SEO
- Professional demographic
- Claim content with Google Authorship Markup
- Smaller reach: Although GooglePlus has 345 million users, it’s audience is still growing. Truthfully, many people are simply unsure how to use it.
GooglePlus still has a lot of room to grow in the social media atmosphere. But since the platform continues to establish itself as a power player, it a good idea to integrate into your social media efforts.
Though social media is ubiquitous in every industry’s marketing mix, there is no clear-cut rule for social media best practices. What works for you really depends on the nature of your industry, business, and audience. To refine and craft an effective strategy, I recommend testing out different ways and times to share content with your audience.