Nearly all marketers agree on the importance of social media marketing for business growth. And considering that 33 percent of millennials today say social media is one of their preferred channels for communicating with businesses, I expect it will become even more important over time.
That said, a lot of brands still don’t know how to use social media to engage audiences and help their own bottom line. There is, however, a right – and wrong – way businesses can share their content on social media.
Right: Selecting the right channels
The average social media user maintains five accounts, but that doesn’t mean you should also. Businesses should share their content on the platforms where their target audience spends the most time. I recommend you do some research into the demographics of different platforms to make this decision.
You may use several social platforms to promote your content, but don’t stretch yourself too thin. One or two active social accounts will look better to your audience than six abandoned brand accounts.
Wrong: Not optimizing for platforms
Even if you have the same end-goal for your content across social media, you should optimize it for each platform’s characteristics and strengths.
For example: Videos tend to outperform images on Facebook. Twitter posts, while no more than 140 characters, should be even shorter if you’re including an image. (Luckily, that should be changing soon.) LinkedIn doesn’t support hashtags, so don’t use them. For Twitter and Instagram, hashtags are a necessity. Each platform also has ideal image dimensions.
Take the time to format your post’s elements to each social platform you share on. In my experience, it has a big impact.
Right: Using visuals
Visuals can help your social posts on any platform, so there’s no reason not to use them. Sixty-five percent of senior marketing executives believe that visual assets (photos, video, illustrations and infographics) are core to how their brand story is communicated. Moreover, visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.
Many marketers fail to take advantage of all the different visual assets available on social media, especially Twitter cards. There are five types of Twitter cards that allow you to include unique visual assets with your tweets: Summary Card, Summary Card with Large Image, App Card, Player Card and Lead Generation Card.
Use them to drive more engagement for your organic posts, and be on the lookout for other unique visual assets you can use (e.g. Carousel ads on Facebook and Instagram).
Wrong: Not varying your content
Consumers say the three most important characteristics of a brand’s social posts are (in order): the brand shares new content; the content is relevant to the brand; and the brand engages with followers.
And they mean it. Fifty-six percent of people unfollow brands on social media because their content is “boring.”
Here are some best practices to vary your content and avoid being boring:
- Follow the 70/20/10 rule: 70 percent informative, 20 percent other people’s posts, 10 percent sales
- Show a personable side to your business
- Offer value with helpful “how to” posts
- Run social contests and giveaways
- Be a comedian
- Take a stand on polarizing issues (seriously)
If you need some inspiration on how to vary your content and keep followers engaged, I recommend checking out General Electric, Cisco, Oracle or Siemens on social media. They are all traditionally “boring” brands sharing great social content.
Right: Sharing at optimum times
With the rise of paid social options, it’s no surprise that organic reach has become more difficult for brands. But you can still get the most out of your organic posts by sharing them at optimum times, which tend to vary by platform. According to experts, it's 1 to 4PM in Facebook; 1 to 3PM, Mondays to Thursdays in Twitter; and Tuesdays to Thursdays in LinkedIn.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by Entrepreneur.com.ph