When it comes to social media marketing, we hear a lot of very common questions. Whilst many people are comfortable using a range of social media platforms socially for pleasure, when it comes to business and the job of social media marketing, it can be a minefield. How often should you post? What content works? What about posting times and etiquette by each channel?
We wanted to help with a FAQ round up of social media marketing that will hopefully answer all those burning questions you may have!
So, let’s start off with the one we hear from traditional businesses.
Is social media marketing worth it?
This is a great question and it’s one that needs asking. Now, you might think we would snap back with a ‘yes’ because of the work we do, but actually, the question is harder to answer. The short response is, yes, we think being active on social media is worth ‘it’- it being time, monetary investment and also as part of your overall marketing strategy.
People look to social media to gauge the credibility of a brand. If you have up-to-date social media accounts with eye-catching graphics and high reviews, people are going to view your business in a more positive light. Don’t forget that SEO and how you rank with Google and Bing could be determined by your social media standing as well, something that has become more important in recent years. This leads us on to our next FAQ…
Does social media affect SEO?
Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s webspam team, confirmed that Google used links from Facebook and Twitter as ranking signal for search engine rankings – and later in 2016 they confirmed that whilst social media is not the cause for improved rankings – they did state there was a ‘correlation’. In short, it’s best to be on the good side of Google!
In fact, according to Matthew Woodward, by achieving over 130,000 Facebook shares to a web page, a brand shot up the rankings for keyword phrases that were competitive. You can read the full study here. https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/tutorials/unhealthiest-foods-ranking-case-study/
Will social media pay for itself?
We believe that done correctly, either as a social media marketing function, or as a customer services tools, social media can impact your sales and your bottom line. Stats from Bain and Company have found that customers who engage with brands over social media end up spending anywhere from 20% to 40% more money compared to customers who aren’t as engaged.
When are the best times to post on social media for business?
The best answer to this is to take a look at your own analytics and see what success you are having (or not having!) But for some other ideas, coschedule have got some good answers. As the people behind scheduling tweets, updates and posts, they have a wealth of data. Their advice is that overall the best times are between 1 p.m.–3 p.m. and specifically that 9 a.m.–3 p.m. are peak times of Twitter use. When it comes to B2B organizations, the advice sits within what you might already use common sense to ascertain – that the best posting times are Monday–Friday. Interestingly, for B2C it’s deemed best to post on the weekends and Wednesdays – also known as ‘hump day!’
What should my business post on social media?
The key to getting social media right is just the same as getting a direct mail campaign right or analysing your PPC spend – it comes down to social media marketing KPIS. KPIs tell you what you need to be doing and ensure that you are headed down the right path. KPI’s should also team with common sense – when it comes to figuring out what to share on social media, quality beats quantity. You want to publish content consistently, but it also has to be valuable and useful.
You might be tempted to post ‘memes’ or funny photos taken from Google images, but it’s key that everything you post represents your brand and showcases your values. In short, don’t follow trends and be true to yourself – what works for ASOS might not work for you.
What will get the most shares, retweets and likes for my business?
If you want to grow your social media channels with social media marketing, then knowing what to post is key.
The good news is, images are winning hands down right now – meaning long form content isn’t number one! As a time pressed business owner or marketer, this should be music to your ears!
In fact, according to eMarketer, 84% of shared posts on Facebook had an image. Links had just 4%, and videos had just 3%. Whilst in feed video is changing the game for many brands, the simple power of an image can really help you boost your social media marketing impact.
Then again, it’s all down to demographics. According to PweInternet, some 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat, and a sizeable majority of these users (71%) visit the platform multiple times per day. Similarly, 71% of Americans in this age group now use Instagram and close to half (45%) are Twitter users. http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/03/01/social-media-use-in-2018/
The most evident example of the power of images for social media are sites like Instagram and Pinterest, which are primarily driven by images. In fact, Instagram has the most engagement of any social media channel. Even if you aren’t a graphic designer or don’t have access to one, images aren’t off bounds for any business. Take a look at tools like Canva and Landscape which allow you to create perfectly-sized images that are fit for all major social media channels – the handy template tool allows you to cherry pick the sizes that work for each network.
The ROI you see on social will all depend on how you target the market. If you ran a paid for ad promotion with a. great discount, you could get followers and sales by the boat load in day one! If you choose to focus on building a base of followers you might see a longer burn. The great news is you could set up accounts for your business in minutes!
Should I use a social media agency?
To make social media a success for your business, you need the maximum amount of valuable content and you need to post consistently. You have a range of options. Some people choose to hire a social media consultant or use a marketing executive. This has implications in terms of salary and also, the downtime. Whilst there are peaks in social media production, ideally, your employee will not be aimlessly browsing memes on Twitter!
Having an employee requires a business social media strategy, whether that’s targeting influencers or using paid for channels regularly. Social media marketers should also be tasked with not just learning which new platforms are ahead, but they should also be able to make informed decisions about the role these tools should or shouldn’t play in a brand’s social strategy.
If you are struggling to find someone who is capable of doing this for you- you aren’t alone. According to a study by eMarketer and Ascend2, 43% of surveyed marketers said their biggest obstacle in delivering on their campaigns was lack of skilled employees.
You can also use an agency, who can do all this for you, maximising their time and your investment. This is the reason many people turn to a social media agency – not only for the manpower, but for the expertise and forecasting ability they bring to the table.
Another happy medium you may wish to use whilst you decide on who will run your social media is to use a combination of internal ideas and resource, an agency to execute social media marketing, and a rang of apps to help boost your supply of fresh content. for example, one method can be to create a list of sites in your industry or niche that are known to publish high quality content and then to add them to an RSS reader like Feedly. Then you’ll have a dashboard full of the latest posts from sites you trust and know have relevant content that you can confidently share with your followers. Don’t forget to also look at social media scheduling tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer which can save time and make reposting easier.
What social channels are there?
You know about Facebook. Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, but there is a whole world of social media sites you can succeed on. If long form content is where you have real strengths, why not try Medium?
If you attract younger internet users and can get away with quirky content, Tumblr could be perfect for you. Don’t forget that many referral sites could be classed as social networks – a link posted on reddit, for example, could be incredibly powerful for your brand.
Choosing a social channel is always about the best fit for you – but here are a few stats about users on each key platform so you can make a judgement (or convince your MD that you need to be more social!)
How many people use Facebook?
According to Statista, as of the fourth quarter of 2017, Facebook had 2.2 billion monthly active users. In the third quarter of 2012, the number of active Facebook users had surpassed 1 billion, making it the first social network ever to do so.
When it comes to Facebook, it’s a pay to play game. The days of advertising organically and hitting that reach have sadly passed us, but the great news is for the reach and demographic you can get and the data accessible, you have some great options with Facebook at a very low cost. We covered off the benefits of Facebook advertising here in more depth. Why not take a look at a post we did specifically on Facebook advertising and the benefits of doing so? https://www.routes4media.com/the-benefits-of-facebook-advertising/
How many people use Instagram?
According to Statista, as of September 2017 the Instagram network had reached 800 million monthly active users, up from 600 million in December 2016. The app is one of the most popular social networks worldwide.
How many people use LinkedIn?
According to Statista, during the most recently reported quarter, LinkedIn had 467 million members, up from 450 million members in the preceding quarter.
How to get started with social media marketing
No matter what position you’re in, you’ll want to look at the following:
- What channels you’re active on
- Are any channels doing much better or worse than others
- What kinds of posts have and haven’t worked in the past
- Is your audience relevant to your company?
- Do any channels need clearing up? Perhaps to get rid of irrelevant or out of date content (this is a particular issue with YouTube for many clients!)
This will give you a benchmark from where you can start promoting channels that are out of date or moving to new channels.
Other social media for business tips
Here’s a few steps to take to get you on your way from our friends at Brandwatch:
- Create content people want to share and is therefore seen by people beyond your existing network
- Be a useful point of information for people who use your product and service
- Let people know through other communication methods that you’ve got social channels
- Talk about other people’s content rather than just your own and build relationships with them
- Be interesting or useful, but never neither
We think these are all really great tips. It’s also very useful to find people who fit your target market and speak to them about their habits on social media. What businesses do they like and follow? What have they bought from social media, and why did they pick that business? You may find that people are very interested in reviews on Facebook, are easily appealed to with a. video demonstration or perhaps trust industry influencers posting on Instagram or a similar channel. Market research is highly useful and can reveal some great ideas about what to post. A great social media marketing agency should also be on hand to help you avoid any pitfalls.