Optimize your effort on social media
1. Research your target audience’s social media habits and preferences, including the channels they spend their time on, the time of day they spend on social media, and how they typically engage with brand content.
Discovering what content works best for your audience, where to post that content, and the most optimal times to post are all important in helping you decide what aspects of your social strategy should be prioritized. This information may be included in your buyer personas. If not, use credible third-party research by sources like the Pew Research Center. If you already have an active presence on one or more social networks, channel specific analytics can provide peak engagement times and the types of content that typically perform well.
2. Define your social media KPIs, focusing on measurable success metrics like engagement and conversions from social traffic.
Your social media KPIs depend on your larger marketing goals. For example, brand awareness goals may be best tracked through measuring post reach and engagement, while lead gen and sales goals are best tracked through the site behavior of traffic from social sources.
3. Measure your existing social media efforts using website or platform analytics. Use the KPIs you defined to establish a baseline.
For KPIs that don’t involve your website, use your platforms’ internal analytics solution, like Twitter Analytics, to track the impact of each of your past posts. For KPIs involving your website, Google Analytics social reports help you track the impacts of your social media actions, including the social channels yielding the most web traffic and conversions. Pinpoint posts that help generate the highest expected ROI for your business, so that you can optimize your strategy by building on the success of your past efforts.
4. Identify 2-3 social media channels to focus on. Balance matching audience preferences and being responsible for reaching your KPIs.
This prevents you from focusing your resources on channels that don’t make a tangible business impact. For example, if your top-performing channel is Instagram, but your research has found Facebook to be a commonly used channel for your audience, focus your resources on these two networks.
5. Create a content creation plan that focuses on visual, engaging content while emphasizing efficiency.
Visual content outperforms non-visual alternatives on every social media channel. Tools like Canva can help you create engaging, eye-catching graphics if you don’t have a graphic designer on staff. Focus on content that will resonate with your audience based on what you know about their preferences and pain points. You’ll also need to optimize it for your primary social networks. If you have limited content creation resources, consider these time-saving tips for social media content creation: Repurpose interesting facts, examples, or quotes from previously published blogs, case studies, or other content. Create social media graphics from customer testimonials or reviews. Pull snippets from longer brand or explainer videos as teaser content. Share posts from trusted industry leaders or other brands that are current or potential marketing partners. Show user-generated content on your feed to highlight your audience and boost authenticity.
6. Set a publishing schedule that aligns with your audience’s peak online and engagement times.
Common general trends are: Facebook: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9am-1pm. Instagram: Tuesday 11am-2pm, or Monday-Friday at 11am. Twitter: Wednesday 9am-3pm, or Tuesday-Thursday 9am-11am. LinkedIn: Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9am. Social media scheduling tools like Loomly, Buffer, Falcon, Sprout Social, and Sendible can both propose optimal sending times based on their platform-internal research and schedule posts at those times. Remember that your audience’s social media activity, behavior, and engagement times can shift over time. Revisit your analytics periodically and make adjustments to your posting schedule when necessary.
7. Use a social listening tool to identify relevant topics and mentions of your brand across multiple channels.
Social listening keeps track of your social mentions as well as conversations about both your brand and important keywords or topics you want to follow. Options include HubSpot Social Inbox, Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social. For example, you can set up a report to notify you each time your brand is mentioned, or each time an industry topic like the name of your product category is mentioned on a specific network. That allows you to join the conversation, re-post user generated content, answer a relevant question, or simply keep notes on your audience’s relevant conversations on social media.
8. Reply to comments, messages, and other audience engagement activities like Facebook reviews to strengthen audience relationships and increase brand loyalty.
Building an active relationship with your audience helps to humanize your brand and make your audience feel closer to the people behind your brand. That includes responding honestly to negative comments, as long as they are relevant. Ignore spam and irrelevant comments. For example, a post about a new product launch within an already existing product line may cause a follower to complain that they have to spend money on yet another new product. A relevant response could include acknowledging and validating their concern, before letting them know about the product features that make this launch different from other options in your product line.
9. Consider investing in influencer marketing to spread brand awareness beyond your current follower base.
While not an essential activity in some industries, working with influencers who share a similar audience to your own can be an effective way to add credibility to your messaging. Because of their loyal and large following, influencers have the potential to significantly boost your exposure and increase your social media ROI. For example, a positive product review by a makeup vlogger can boost your beauty brand’s visibility and perceived quality.