Like it or not, social media is a dominant force in online marketing. And it’s only getting more important as time goes by.
Facebook alone boasts an average of 2.23 billion monthly active users. YouTube follows close behind at 1.9 billion. Fans frequenting these social media sites aren’t just consuming content. They’re actively sharing it with friends, family, and co-workers, essentially doing a significant portion of the marketing work on their own time.
Capturing a piece of this promotional pie requires the right content strategy combined with thorough, careful planning. Gone are the days of copy/pasting announcements across every social media outlet and watching the traffic roll in. To succeed with social media content marketing in the modern age, businesses need to take a more precise approach.
Target the Right Platform
Even the best marketing efforts will fall flat if they don’t reach the right platforms. The same post might be a hit on one network but completely fail on another, all due to audience preferences. Pinterest readers aren’t as enthralled by aircraft engine repair as Reddit users might be, for example.
Targeting the right platform isn’t a matter of finding the most active social media outlets and exclusively posting there. It all comes down to segmentation. Where do target audiences spend their time, and what’s the best way to reach them?
Demographics are the first step in finding the right social media resource for a business. Matching audiences by age, gender, location, educational background, etc. is a good way to narrow the focus of initial targeting efforts. More women use Instagram than men, so if a company promotes beard care products, Instagram probably isn’t the best place to start.
How users interact with content also needs to be taken into consideration. Take Reddit, for example. On this rapidly growing social media site, content is shared in the form of text and image posts. Users are incentivized to interact by voting or commenting, creating an instant atmosphere of engagement.
To capitalize on this, companies should focus on fostering discussions on this platform, not generating clicks. Blatant promotions are also frowned upon by Reddit’s users. Content that provides an opportunity for discussion, however, often succeeds.
The takeaway here is to give social media users what they want in a format they’re already familiar with. Know the audience, and know everything about how their favorite social media platform works before launching a campaign.
Time Content Accordingly
Creating a content sharing schedule establishes a two-fold advantage. First, it allows for a consistent presence on social media, forming a ready foundation for brand awareness. Second, scheduling takes advantage of peak sharing times on social media, giving each marketing initiative a higher chance of success.
Scheduling promotions is one of the easiest methods of keeping content on target. Publications can maximize the impact of each release by monitoring trends on social media and timing each piece of content to coincide with different events. Ride the wave of the crowd and a boost in traffic is sure to follow.
Scheduling has the secondary benefit of building brand consistency. Sending out three social media posts a day then remaining silent for a week doesn’t do much for a company’s image. On the other hand, content releases users can depend on creates an expectation-reward cycle, one that’s deeply satisfying for social media users. Follow through with this and audiences will actively seek content the moment it’s released, often competing to be the first to like or share.
Timing social media announcements on individual platforms is another important factor to consider. It’s generally a good practice to start promoting content as soon as it’s released. Peak times for a publication’s direct readers may not be peak times for a social media outlet, however.
Watch the important social media platforms and learn when peak times of activity occur. Experiment with publishing and announcement timings to find the best balance between speed and catering to audience expectations. Releasing great content is always a good idea, it’s just a shame when no one is around to enjoy it.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
There’s a delicate balance between spamming social media updates and delivering concise, repeated reminders that new content exists. Oftentimes this line can be crossed with a single post, and often that post will cause an avalanche of unfollows and unsubscribes.
Each social media site stamps an unspoken expiration date on its content. This isn’t a function of the platform itself, merely the speed at which it operates, along with the built-in attention span of its users. For outlets like Twitter, posts are considered obsolete in a matter of hours. For LinkedIn or Reddit, it could be days or even weeks.
The golden rule for posting the same piece of content twice is simple: don’t worry about it. Readers on every social media site are inundated with news and announcements throughout the day. In the unlikely event they do see a repeat post, chances are they’ll ignore it.
As long as a publication doesn’t overdo it, the vast majority of social media fans simply do not care about duplicate content. In this case, the benefits of reaching new users far outweighs the potential risk of frustrating existing ones.
This rule of repetition requires a little experimentation, as it’s different for every platform and for every business. Remember that marketing requires the courage to fail. Finding success doesn’t mean avoiding those failures, it means learning from mistakes and moving on as quickly as possible.
Customize Every Social Media Post
There’s a huge difference between a user seeing the same content twice and an identical post appearing on multiple social media outlets. The former is easy to ignore, but the latter stands out as sloppy and out of touch with the audience, both of which can tarnish a brand overnight.
Twitter users only see a few hundred characters at a time, for example, which is about the length of the paragraph above. This concise format encourages an economy of words. Headlines are truncated, action words carry more meaning, and hashtags hit the message home to encourage immediate sharing.
Imagine copying a tweet word for word over to Reddit. The space constraints simply aren’t there, the hashtags are suddenly useless, and the potential for cross-linking is wasted. And the captive audience? They either see through the lazy post and ignore it, or they’re actively frustrated with having to downvote a duplicate post. Opportunity missed.
Reddit is a fundamentally different platform than Twitter. It’s designed for interaction, not read-and-retweet news bites. Differences such as these need to be taken into account each time a social media post is created. Customizing announcement content takes almost no time, and it’s the perfect chance to engage with users and convert them into fans.
Don’t drop the ball this late in the game. When it comes time to promote content on social media, carefully craft and optimize each post, then run full sprint to the goal.
Promote the Best Content
There’s one more factor to consider when promoting content on social media: the content itself.
In recent years the trend has been to shift away from quality long form pieces in favor of easily consumable addictive content. The idea is that the only thing that matters are clicks, not providing a valuable service to end users. This can produce positive results on the analytics screen, but it’s a poor excuse for a long term business strategy.
People judge companies based on what they produce, everything from informative articles to viral videos. Favoring mindless content aimed at increasing likes on social media misses the point. Engaging users, enriching their daily lives, that’s the key to capitalizing social media marketing efforts. The more useful and interactive a piece of content is, the greater traction it will have both in the long term and short term.
Good quality content stands on its own. Promoting that on social media brings better results with less effort, as well.
Content forms the face of a brand. It’s often the only type of advertising that can engage new users. Maximize your company’s social media presence with well-crafted content. Contact us today to discuss the future of your business online.