By Mary Lister
As a millennial (but not one of the whiny ones that baby boomers complain about), I grew up in the age of online friendships and followers, which has exploded into a world of digital living. If I want to find a restaurant, I hop on Yelp. Recipes or clothes? Pinterest. Trying to be an adult? LinkedIn. The best thing about these options is that they have already been vetted by other people! I’m going to trust a Facebook friend who recommends a product 1000x more than a description on the product website.
According to data from Mainstreethost, social networks are the 2nd most popular way to research brands, just behind search engines. We can google “Faux-suede shirt” and receive an ad from UNTUCKit—but it’s fairly unlikely that I would purchase that shirt before doing my research on the brand.
First, check them out on Facebook, see some reviews; check Twitter and Instagram for discounts. It’s like doing recon for a blind date! I want to know I’m not going to get ripped off; and in the process, the brand should utilize these social channels to develop a relationship with me as a customer.
That being said, I think we agree that social media management can be a stream of irritation. Your brand needs to be engaging, posting and sharing constantly—but who has time for that? I have gathered a list of tips that my colleagues and I use for WordStream’s social management to help save time, save money, and grow and engage your audience.
1. Focus on Quality
It is always good to have a constant flow of content and announcements, but I would much rather have nothing at all than abysmal posts with incorrect information. We want to make sure that we are sharing content that is good enough to be re-shared or retweeted, passed on to colleagues across industries.
We also try to look for content that will last, not just trend for a week and disappear. If you are able to produce content or develop insights that will stay relevant in the industry, these are gold! For us, social media content does really well on—surprise!—social media. This tweet was posted in mid-June and I’m still seeing it being retweeted even now.
Think about it this way, if someone writes a terrible post without citing sources and shares it on social media—are you going to interact with it? And what does that post say about your credibility as a brand?
2. Analyze Data to Find the Perfect Quantity
…and almost as important, quantity. Because let’s face it, social media is about what is going on NOW, right this second. This is especially true for Twitter; we recently found that engagement rate increased 46% week over week after publishing 30 more tweets than the week prior. In fact, those 30 extra tweets helped push 30% more traffic to the website with 60% more link clicks than the previous week.
It can be hard to get visibility as organic reach continues to decrease, and the one way we’ve found to combat this is to post more often. My favorite trick is to re-post content multiple times—for blog posts, I’ll share it on Twitter up to 5 times on the day it is published. Just make sure you’re not being spammy on Facebook! People hate that. Truly, I’ve seen the comments…
Another good trick is to stay aware of demand—keep your eye on trending topics in your industry’s sphere. Chime in when you can! This will increase your engagement rate and potentially garner more followers.
3. Be Charming (Tools Can Help!)
When my mother complains about social media, she references her friends that only post to brag. “Tommy got into Harvard AND Yale! Such a hard choice!” *Insert picture of the son as the homecoming king*. But, being the charmer she is, she will congratulate them (with a “xoxo”) and as a result, they will like and share and comment on her posts as well. Be my mother! What goes around, comes back around: engage with others and they will engage with you. Though this sounds silly, Larry swears by it.
One of my biggest challenges is finding content to tweet and post about! A way to tackle this is through social media management tools like Mention and Buzzsumo, which will send alerts your way when a keyword you select is posted online. I currently use keywords like “WordStream” or “Larry Kim” to see if others are posting about us. Then I can retweet their content!
4. Use Scheduling Tools
Because no one expects you to manage your social media accounts so intensely that you are manually posting 20+ times per day. Actually, who is reading these daytime posts?! Procrastinators, I see you…
I personally use Hootsuite, which had been conveniently set up before I started working in social media. I’ve also tried Buffer, which works similarly. For a complete list, check out our post on Social Media Management Tools.
I have found that the most important part of these tools (other than the obviously time-saving) is their ability to auto-schedule posts when your account is most likely to see high engagement. It takes a certain amount of brain power to pick times for 10+ posts per day, and this a huge help. If you’d like to simply analyze your twitter sphere timing, Hubspot has a handy tool called TweetWhen which will select your most retweetable time of day, and Tweriod will select the best times to tweet.
5. Automate Repetitive Tasks with IFTTT
IFTTT, short for If This, Then That, is a social media recipe website! In a series of simple steps, this website will help you set up simple commands which link up different applications to automatically perform actions if triggered. For example, IF the weather app tells you there is a high UV index, THEN a reminder to put on sunscreen is triggered. IF you are tagged in a photo on Facebook, THEN save the photos to dropbox.
At WordStream, we have a few blogs that we follow and trust to post quality content consistently that is of interest to our audience. We were able to set up a recipe that automates the sharing process. IF a certain blog posts new content, THEN tweet the post to our followers on twitter.
6. Utilize Social Media Analytics
Does this need an explanation? How do you know how many people are seeing your posts and engaging if you don’t look at the numbers! Make decisions based on data!
I won’t pretend to be an expert in analytics, but I appreciate the vast number of social media metrics available. Luckily, there are experts out there, like the fine people analyzing tweets at Buffer, Twitter themselves, and Kissmetrics, who are kind enough to give us a beginner’s guide to Facebook insights. Personally, I tend to watch post engagement (based on audience size) and URL clicks when managing social media because our goals are to expand and engage our followers while driving them to the site.
7. Be a Real Person
As individuals, we have a higher tendency to follow accounts of “real people” vs. businesses even if we don’t personally know the person. I have tried my hardest to show on social media that WordStream is a real place with a real person with a real personality behind it! To get some ideas, Gizmodo and Contently have companies that manage their social accounts with flair and sass and everything people love…about real people. My personal favorites are Chipotle, Seamless, and Nutella. This says nothing about my real-life favorite things, I swear.
My favorite thing to do on Twitter is to find disgruntled customers and respond, trying to solve their issues. In a survey from InSites Consulting, 83% of companies reported that they deal with questions or complaints sent via social media, so I’m not alone. This is a great way to show that your company cares and a face and personality behind the façade.
We already know from Larry that posts with emojis receive more attention. Similarly, when examining our tactics with images, we found that photos will generally receive more attention. This was further affirmed by Convince&Convert, who report that posts with pictures generate 150% more retweets. At WordStream, we analyzed posts on Twitter and Facebook and found that the most retweeted or liked posts featured images of real people–#PPCkid and images of our employees worked fairly well, but even memes featuring a real human work as well.
Just like PPC, managing social media accounts is a constant work in progress. I’m keeping an eye out to see how Facebook’s new algorithm will affect our organic visibility while being vigilant about metrics and engagement across all channels. Do you have any great tips that I missed? Let me know!