So, you want to post more on Social Media? Well, you’re not alone!
As a marketer and general 21st century busy person, like most of you, finding the time to update your social media can be daunting. It just feels impossible.
In my case, I find myself sorting out everyone else’s online presence, which is a lot of fun, however, it leaves my own stuff on the back burner.
That’s why for 2020 I have decided to post more and if you want to join me in this challenge then I’m here to help!
Today we’re going to dive into the following:
- What is the aim of us posting? We’ll look at finding a topic, a customer persona and some additional tips.
- When is the best time to post? (and should you care)?
- Where are the best platforms to post? We’ll also look into additional platform-specific tips.
- How are you going to ensure that you complete the plan? The most fun bit about a plan is creating the plan, the worst bit is executing it. I want to dive into some tips to help you ensure that you follow through with your plan.
Now, without further ado, let’s jump right into those topics!
THE AIM OF POSTING
First things first, and I cannot stress this enough, please do NOT go in with a sales pitch. If you get just one thing at all from this post, please let it be that. Why? Because nobody wants to be sold to.
Let’s stay on this topic for a second but it’s really the factor that makes everyone’s efforts go down the drain.
What do you do when there’s an ad on YouTube? Watch it the whole way through? NOPE. You skip that thing as soon as the 5 seconds are up, and if its one that plays after the ad then you just click it over and over until eventually its gets you onto the video that you wanted to watch.
What about when you see a Promoted post on Twitter. Do you like it, retweet it or comment? NOPE. You slide past that sucker with no remorse or a second thought.
If this is the case, why on earth would you expect someone to engage with your sales pitch?
We come to Social Media to catch up, to gain value and to engage with people. Not to be sold to.
Now, you might just think this is me preaching, however, there’s a more serious effect of this constant sales pitch and that’s lack of engagement and where does lack of engagement get you? It gets you to no man’s land, meaning that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc will not show your posts.
The algorithm is geared towards keeping you on the app, and they do that by pushing out the most engaged with the content and hiding the content that is not being engaged with (makes sense, I know).
If you don’t provide value then you’re essentially wasting your time. It would hurt you less if you just didn’t post at all.
You need to really think your content through, what do you think that people might want to see? What can help them? For instance, I think that sharing tips about posting more on Social Media might help someone out there and that’s why you’re reading this right now. I don’t want anything monetary from it and there’s no sales pitch at the end. I’m just trying to provide some value in return for your attention and engagement.
On that note, what are some of the topics you could share? To get to that answer we’re going to do a bit of an exercise. We’re going to create a Customer Persona. (If you already have a customer persona, then you can skip this bit).
Before we dive into forming our customer persona, we need to know what one is:
A persona, in user-centred design and marketing is a fictional character created to represent a user type that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way. Marketers may use personas together with market segmentation, where the qualitative personas are constructed to be representative of specific segments. Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persona_(user_experience)
Your customer persona is extremely valuable in all marketing. There is usually quite a lot that goes into it. Just note that this isn’t, unfortunately, a 5-minute job. A lot of it is based on research but I would also really implore you to use your intuition (if it’s usually good).
Step 1: Audience Research
Take a look at your customer base. You can usually download these stats from your CRM or similar software. You want to gather data like age, gender, location, buying behaviour, interests and any other information that you may find valuable.
If you have analytics on your website, take a look at your user analytics there and also dig into your social media analytics.
Hoot Suite has a complete Target Market Blog if you’d like to take a more in-depth look. https://blog.hootsuite.com/target-market/
Step 2: What do they want? What are their pain points?
The whole reason that any business exists is to ease your customer’s pain points.
Things to think of are:
- What are the barriers that they face?
- Do they have any financial pain points?
- Are they looking for convenience or productivity?
- Is there anything that your competitor is easing that you aren’t?
- Do they have any concerns? i.e privacy, environment etc.
You can again, fill these out on intuition for the time being, as your starting point. However, I’d definitely recommend some survey’s that you can send to your customers.
Step 3: Do they have any goals? If so, what are they?
This may not be something that is directly related to you, however, they can give you a well-rounded idea of who your customer is, what they care about and where they’re going in the future.
Step 4: Bring them to life.
We want to connect with our customer persona, as cheesy as that may sound. Ways to do this are:
- Give your customer persona a name.
- Write down their hobbies and interests.
- Write down an age bracket.
- Write a bio of your customer.
- Create a quote that they would say.
- Add any additional relevant data to their profile.
Now that we’ve got our customer persona all set up (remember you can always tweak it), then we can move onto our topics.
It may sound obvious by finding things to write about can be hard, so, we want to focus on some key things:
- WWOCW? What would our customer want?
Pick your topics with your customer persona in mind. We don’t want topics that are going to be completely irrelevant to their wants and interests.
- Your expertise.
What can you talk about? What is the area that you can provide value in? What can you bring to the table to help out your customers via what you know?
- Current trends.
This could be called ‘news hijacking’. You look at current headlines and things that have a bit of traction, essentially, viral content and if it comes under your topic of expertise then you can comment on it, make a post about it or create a video explaining the topic.
SOME ADDITIONAL TIPS:
Although the main tip was the DO NOT SELL speech, please take notice of that, if not, read it again! Here are some tips that you can carry with you when posting on your chosen platform.
Don’t shy away from humour.
A lot of social media is for entertainment. You want to show your funny side a bit. Look at Wendy’s on Twitter for example. Most brand nowadays talks to their customers like they’re friends. Gone are the days of faceless, robotic brands.
Don’t be afraid to spend.
Social Media Marketing is by far the most effective for the price at the moment. More and more brands are utilising it in order to get in front of you. Without going deep into the technical side (that’s a post for another time) what you do want to note is that testing out the Ad’s platforms can be a great way to get your feet wet.
Just one favour, don’t boost your posts. Ever. And I mean it. Never. (We’ll get onto this another day).
Most people on Social Media in this era expect customer service to be flawless online. They want it to be simple, frictionless and convenient. Now, although you may be creating a personal brand, if you’re a business owner with a business presence, keep this in mind.
Optimise your social media profile.
There are many, many guides on how to do this and the platforms themselves give you the step by step.
You want to ensure that you’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s with your social media profile. Not only will it look a lot better but it will rank your page higher too.
Share your social media presence with the world!
Well, maybe you won’t get to the whole world but at least your world. Put your social media links in your email footer, have them on your website and make them public so that when people want to find more about you they can do so.
Ensure that you are active.
As you can imagine, a dead page is a page that no one wants to see. The platforms don’t like it and your followers don’t like it. Unless you’re doing the hard sales pitch, then they do like it and you should keep your page dead.
In all seriousness though, if you stay active, your followers can stay engaged and this is an indicator to the platforms that you’re posting on.
Pay attention to New Features
As we’ll mention a few times in this blog post the social media platforms want to keep you on the app. Well, what they also want to do is promote new features that come out. Meaning, that when a new feature comes out USE IT. They’ll push early adopters posts in order to promote the new feature on people’s feeds. Otherwise, no one will know about it.
WHEN DO YOU POST?
This topic, for me, is a hit or miss. In all honesty, I don’t believe there is a sweet spot for when and when not to post.
What I do believe in is engagement, which is why we focused on the customer persona and the topic first.
After all, you have people like Nathaniel Drew, who’s gaining a lot of traction on YouTube but doesn’t post nearly as much as to say, Gary Vee who is posting over 100 pieces of content every day over 11 platforms and is also gaining a huge amount of traction.
However, for those of you that want a ballpark figure, mainly for motivation, then you can find some blogs about it here:
BEST PLATFORMS AND TIPS
Thinking about which platforms you want to post on is important. After all, platform mentality exists (more on that another day) and your audience may not be on one platform but maybe more prevalent on another.
For this section what we’re going to do is list the most popular platforms, write a bit about them and along with some tips you can utilise on your chosen social media channel.
User amount: 2.37 billion monthly active users
Like most social media platforms, after a certain point, they start to ‘age-up’ meaning that there demographic gets older. This is what has happened with Facebook and you’ll usually find the demographic being of the older generation rather than the majority being millennials as with a lot of social media platforms.
Due to the Facebook algorithm being so mature you’ll find that the organic engagement on pages aren’t what they used to be. This is due to the fact that there are a lot of content creators and not enough space on the News Feed for everyone.
The algorithm is set to show you things that you like, for instance, I really love cats, so guess what’s on my timeline the majority of the time? You guessed it, cats.
You may even find that some of your friends have ‘disappeared’ from your News Feed and this isn’t by magic, it’s usually due to you not engaging with their posts and therefore, Facebook taking it as a sign that you’re not interested in what they have to say.
Utilise Facebook Ads
If you have the budget for it, the biggest gain to get from Facebook is definitely the ads. They’re very targeted and can gain you a significant amount of reach based on how you fine-tune it.
I’ll be posting a blog on what you can specifically target on Facebook soon so stay tuned for that.
Facebook has been pushing Facebook Watch for a while now and has also been pushing video in general. The reason for this is
- To take your eyeballs off YouTube.
- Videos tend to get higher engagement rates.
Ensure that you are hosting your video within the platform, meaning you need to post your video directly into Facebook rather than a YouTube link.
You can find out more about content format engagement in this article here: https://optinmonster.com/types-of-content-formats/
Create a community using Facebook Groups
A great way to start a conversation, not only with you but with your audience too is to create a Facebook Group. Usually, around a topic that you’re related to or could give advice on, these groups allow you to talk directly with your customer and also for them to talk amongst themselves, therefore, creating a community around your brand or preferred topic.
Quickly gaining attention by key marketers, the messenger marketing strategy is currently pretty underutilised meaning that it could put you in a good position to gain the most ROI. In fact, less than 1% of businesses actually engage in Facebook Messenger Marketing as you can find out in this article by Mobile Monkey. https://mobilemonkey.com/chatbots/facebook-messenger-marketing
There are over 1.4 billion active users on Facebook Messenger and I think that sometimes people forget that it is essentially a platform all on its own.
User amount: 330 million monthly active users
Twitter, like Facebook, has been around for a while. One of the Social Media veterans, if you like. There is quite a mix of personalities on Twitter. Usually leaning toward the more satire side.
Brands like Wendy’s and MoonPie utilise the platform to talk to their customer base and to poke fun at other brands in order to create a viral ripple.
Twitter is a place of constant conversation. That’s the main USP of the platform.
Ensure that you’re spending some time each day jumping into the conversations surrounding your industry or area of expertise. This will bring general awareness, for free to the people in the conversation and also the people reading.
Using the hashtags correctly is an important part of people coming to you to start a conversation. Remember when we spoke about engagement? Join the hashtag thread for the topic that you’re talking about can gain you that extra attention that may not come from your followers. It allows new people to find you and form a response to your tweet.
You’ll find a lot of people joining in on random hashtags just because they’re trending. This is fine to do on your personal account or if you find it relevant, however, I’d advise you to stick to the more on-topic hashtags, so people know what to expect.
Posting as much as you can on Twitter is a great mindset to have. In a platform when your tweet can be swept away in a matter of seconds or minutes, you want to keep the conversation flowing. Maybe create a tweet thread by clicking the + button when making a tweet or when you’re making your self a cuppa, send out a tweet whilst the kettle’s boiling.
User amount: 250 million monthly active users
LinkedIn is a professional platform focused on business content. The platform has recently experienced somewhat of a ‘revival’ after moving from a job searching platform to a full-blown content platform.
Definitely a platform to utilise especially in the B2B space but also there is a lot of B2C business on this platform such as Pretty Little Thing and other well-known big brands.
Capitalise on the lack of content
The amazing part about LinkedIn at the moment is although there are 250 million monthly active users, in January of 2019 only 3 million of them were actively posting https://foundationinc.co/lab/b2b-marketing-linkedin-stats/.
This means that there are huge gains to be made there as the users are so many and the content so few.
Host your content inside LinkedIn
Like we mentioned in the Facebook section, other than copy and pasting a YouTube link into your LinkedIn post section, host your video inside LinkedIn.
Use the carousel/document upload function.
Carousel’s are currently getting a huge amount of traction and engagement on LinkedIn. How can you make one?
Step 1: Go onto an app like Canva or anything that can create a decent looking document.
Step 2: Then export it as a document (in this case a PDF)
Step 3: Once you have your document, upload it into LinkedIn using the document feature.
Step 4: Just like that, you have your carousel post.
Engage with people
Comment as much as possible on this platform. Remember to have your business hat on at all times and keep your connections happy through giving them a comment or like when you can.
User amount: 293 million monthly active
Although there is a lot of hype around the topic of Instagram stealing a lot of Snapchat’s users (which it did) there are still a lot of users that still use the platform regularly. In fact, according to AdEspresso, there are 191 million daily active users on the platform and this has grown for the last three years. https://adespresso.com/blog/ultimate-guide-marketing-snapchat/
The majority of the audience is millennials. So keep that in mind if you’re choosing a platform.
Make it personal.
The great thing about Snapchat is that you can, in a way, control your audience. Meaning you can keep it small and have a select type of audience or you can just accept anyone.
By keeping your audience selective you can provide a more personal experience.
Focus on engagement.
Ask questions, ask for opinions and chat with your audience. Whether than personally or through stories so that you can answer one question that may be useful for others.
Another way to look at this is, ensure that your content is in context with the platform. You want it to be fun, millennial targeted and not treat it like a blog post.
User amount: 1 billion monthly active users
Well, well, well, here it is. The platform that essentially exploded and after being bought out by Facebook it’s gone from strength to strength.
There are a lot of opinions on Instagram but what it all boils down to is its a platform with engagement and a lot of daily usages. Whether you love it or hate it, Instagram is one of the most influential platforms.
Take advantage of stories.
The engagement on organic posts is definitely taking a turn on Instagram, just like its older sibling Facebook, the platform is geared towards keeping you on the app, and therefore, showing you more of what you’ve previously engaged with and less of what you haven’t.
That’s where stories come in. You can post as many as you like and they’re all in chronological order, ready for your followers to take a look at. The majority of posts are made in the stories feature and since WhatsApp and Facebook integrated it, they’ve been pushing them more too.
Post on IGTV.
IGTV, like Facebook Watch, is Instagram’s own video streaming section inside the app. Another way to ensure that your eyeballs are on the app longer, you can now post long-format videos onto Instagram where people can video them on IGTV.
Hootsuite made a guide on exactly how to utilise IGTV https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-tv/
STICKING TO THE PLAN
Now, you know which customer you’re looking at. You know what topic they will like, that you can provide and you know which platform(s) you’re going to go for. We just need to stick to the plan. That’s all that’s left!
The obvious one is to create SMART goals. These are really helpful when trying to break something down into a more manageable series of events. How do we do this?
Specific – Which platforms are you going to focus on and which metric will you be looking for?
Measurable – Our (metric) will be monitored via a spreadsheet (or preferred software).
Achievable – We are aiming to post x times each day with a x% metric rate.
Relevant – This will help us/me with our/my overall online presence.
Time-bound – We must meet this goal within x weeks/months.
Keep it all human, from the post to the interaction through to the expectations. Remember your limits and be authentic. It may seem cliche and simple, but it’s the most effective way to ensuring that you don’t burn out from trying to make everything too perfect and over-pressuring yourself.
Focus on connections, not vanity metrics.
It’s all well and good having 30,000,000 followers but if they’re not engaging with you it can be like shouting into the abyss, nothing in return. This can drain you and demotivate you quite easily. That’s why I’d rather have 100 followers that were highly engaged in conversation with my posts than a higher follower count with no engagement.
Stick to creating relationships. Join in on the conversation and engage with others posts how you’d like people to engage with you.
Some ways to do this would be:
- Tag people into your posts when you’re talking about them.
- Answer your customers or followers questions whenever you get the chance.
- Reply to and share other people’s content.
Keeping on track can be very hard. I definitely could not do any posting if I did not have a calendar.
I personally, use Notability to write all of my ideas down and then a custom Notion module (if that’s what they’re called) in order to plan everything out in more detail.
From there, once you have all of your content completed you can go into scheduling tools like Later https://later.com/ in order to automatically post your content when you want it to.
Although scheduling your posts is completely fine, what isn’t is scheduling them and not checking in. Remember all of the engagement and commenting talk we’ve mentioned? Well, remember to stick to it!!!
When a post goes up you want to reply to the comment or share something that someone has said. Along with this, we want to be setting time aside to comment on other people’s posts and engage with them in any way that we can.
You’ve made it to the end! What are some of the key takeaways?
- Don’t sell – give value
- Know what you’re talking to and what about
- Stay engagement-focused
- Choose your platform
- Set SMART Goals to stay on track
- Schedule your posts
What are your thoughts? Did you get what you wanted from this post? If not, what could I answer for you that would make your time worthwhile?
Are you taking on the 2020 posting challenge? Give me your account names so I can follow you on your journey!