Your Roadmap to Successful Social Media

December 3, 2021

Marketing on social media can be an uphill battle if you don’t have the right map, but this no-longer-new frontier must be conquered if you want to maximize customer engagement online.

Marketing on social media can be an uphill battle if you don’t have the right map, but this no-longer-new frontier must be conquered if you want to maximize customer engagement online. The landscape of which app is hot and which is not changes on a dime. Even more finicky can be the consumer/company interactions on these platforms if it isn’t properly navigated. If you’re ready to learn how to make social media for you, keep reading. We have outlined a roadmap for getting started on social and broke down the most popular platforms, so you have all the information at your fingertips.

Here are the steps you should take to get started on social media.

  1. Identify your audience. Like any good marketing and communications strategy, you need to know who you are talking to in order to reach your business goals. Who is likely to buy your product or services? What is their age range, jobs and other key demographics? What do they care about? Answering these questions will help you create a targeted audience segment for social media.
  2. Find out which platforms make sense for your organization: You don’t need to be in all the places, you just need to be where your audience is. Identify which platforms your audience spends most time on. This will can save time and money because you can focus your efforts on the platforms that you can reach your audience on. There’s no sense in putting time into Twitter if your audience doesn’t go on Twitter.
  3. Set goals for each platform. Why spend time and money on social media if you aren’t working toward something? You should have a set of goals that are tailored to each social media platform. Are you building awareness, trying to drive people into your website or selling straight from the platform? Setting business-specific goals will help guide your content.
  4. Build a social media strategy. If you’re posting on social media without a strategy in place, you’re wasting your time, energy and money. Your strategy should include audience identification, platform identification, goals, a content plan, information on when to post, how often you will post, what your company’s voice will be and how you will measure success on social media. Don’t be afraid to switch up your content strategy to cater to what works with your audience. Finally, consistency is crucial for any social network. Always choose quality over quantity.

The big key to succeeding on social media is knowing your audience and understanding how to tailor your rhetoric to specific platforms. Now that you have a roadmap to social media success, you need to start looking at each social media channel. We broke down some of the most popular platforms you might consider using, so you don’t have to.

FACEBOOK

Tried and true, Facebook remains a great place to reach a lot of people, including older generations, online. Facebook is all about conversation and casual social interaction. You want to build the presence of your brand on the app in that way. Don’t be a business, be a member of the community who shares their interests, concerns and more. Pay attention to who your ideal consumer is and cultivate an online community for your Facebook page that mirrors that consumer.

Who’s on Facebook? Facebook has more than 1.62 billion users, 74% of which are U.S. high income earners. These individuals are older but check their accounts up to 15 times a day on their smartphones.

What do people do on Facebook?

  • People use FB primarily to connect with friends and family
  • People connect with organizations on FB to stay “in the know”
  • People use FB because they like to publish — meaning they like to comment on and share content they find on FB as well as publish their own content.

What content performs well on Facebook?

  • Fun posts
  • Company culture
  • Shared user-generated content
  • Events
  • Contests and giveaways
  • Videos
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Community-focused content
  • Limited sales or promotional content
  • Customer service

Facebook best practices:

  • Share less salesy and promotional content.
  • Purchase advertisements on the app with links to your product or service. Pro tip: make sure you are up to date on Facebook’s advertising guidelines to avoid having ads rejected or your account restricted.
  • Content engagement is key. Impressions on earned and paid posts are very low in scoring priority in FB’s current algorithm. Likes, comments and shares are key
  • Commenting is now favored over ’liking’ or sharing in FB’s current news feed algorithm.
  • Even in B2B social media marketing, you can AND SHOULD share curated content. It is a relationship-building tool and consumers perceive brands that share curated content as less “sales-y” than ones that only share their own content.
  • Facebook’s newest algorithm will benefit publishers that deliver content their users engage with
  • Use rich media as often as possible. Rich media includes short video and non-stock photo images. People are more likely to notice and engage with rich media.
  • Facebook’s news feed algorithm favors video over text updates. More video=more engagement.
  • Post 3-5 times per week.

INSTAGRAM

Instagram is a mobile photo and video-sharing and social networking platform. It’s about visual aesthetic, and that’s what you should focus on when marketing on the app. As always, get started by determining who your target audience is and develop a consistent content strategy for your page. This includes not only developing an appealing aesthetic for your brand, but also making your followers desire what you’re selling for their own timelines. Figure out the best way to showcase your product or service with this medium. Beauty services should showcase before and after pictures. Gyms could share pictures or videos of patrons in action. Essentially, show your followers how your brand will improve their own personal brand.

Who’s on IG? There are currently 112.5 million users on Instagram in the U.S. They are younger, but more older adults are now using it. Instagram users spend nearly an hour on the platform each day via their smartphone.

What do people do on IG? People use it as a fun place to share photos of their lives or to view cool art. Instagram is a great way for brands to interact with customers — 62% of people say they engage with brands who post stories on IG.

What content performs well on IG?

  • Behind the scenes looks at your organization
  • Team pictures and appreciation posts
  • Before and after photos
  • Aesthetically pleasing photos and videos
  • Memes

 IG best practices:

  • Use stories. Instagram’s algorithm favors user engagement with stories over posts.
  • Use images that tell a story without much captioning. Better yet, use short-form video.
  • Invite comments in the caption with clever calls-to-action.
  • Use color that is easy for people to decipher the images — natural color performs better on Instagram than duotones, etc.
  • Use your brand’s colors purposeful in images to continue building implicit brand recognition
  • Use shots that include the subject of the post as the focal point (versus a hard-to-define focal point) perform better on Instagram.
  • Use hashtags. People search for content using hashtags, so thinking about which hashtags could deliver different audience segments is key.
  • Follow hashtags for social listening.
  • Identify Instagram influencers and engage with their content.
  • Partner with influencers who will promote your brand and account to further your exposure.
  • Purchase in-app advertisements.
  • Post 1-5 times per week.

 TWITTER

Twitter is a microblogging and social networking site. One of the most beneficial aspects of Twitter for businesses is the ability to interact with consumers in real time. Additionally, you can use Twitter to interact with other brands, weigh in on conversations with thought leadership, social listen, monitor trends, research competitors and share news.

Who’s on Twitter? Twitter has more than 166 million users including people, organizations and advertisers. Users are mostly millennial males 25-34 years old, but B2B and B2C companies can still do well on the platform. Users are mostly younger, wealthier and more educated than the average American. Additionally, users tend to live in large cities verses the suburbs or rural areas.

What do people do on Twitter? People go to Twitter to learn about industry news, to see what people are talking about (TV shows, sports, movies, etc.), to follow celebrities, to share thoughts and opinions and to stay connected with people they know.

What content performs well on Twitter?

  • Company and industry news
  • Thought leadership content like e-books, blogs, whitepapers, etc.
  • Interactions with other businesses and people
  • Customer service
  • Text performs better than images
  • List-based or how-to type of content
  • Quotes outperform questions

 Twitter best practices:

  • Because of Twitter’s 280-character limit, the platform is great for sharing information in short-form, compelling ways, like giving a shoutout to a blog, e-book, or other content. Like any social media, product promotion should be used sparingly.
  • Participate in Twitter content trends.
  • Use relevant memes/jokes.
  • Use trending hashtags when you tweet.
  • Purchase “sponsored” tweets to promote your brand.
  • Tweet daily. Successful businesses post five to 15 times on Twitter during the work week and should spend extra time interacting with audiences and responding to industry conversations.

TIKTOK

The new kid on the block, TikTok and its short-form videos are taking the public by storm. Born out of past video sharing apps like Musical.ly, TikTok has a massively young audience and could be your key to reaching the GenZ and young millennials.

Businesses are jumping on TikTok to share creative content and to build brand awareness. It gives brands a chance to let loose and show their fun side. Selling cookware? Share a how-to recipe video featuring your product. A non-profit working against climate change? Teach your viewers how to compost in their own backyards. Videos like this are more likely to stick with your audience if it teaches them a skill they can then take with them.

Who’s on TikTok? TikTok has 1 billion monthly users worldwide and more than 100 million Americans. Users are primarily GenZ and younger millennials, but we’ve seen more and more older individuals join the platform amidst the pandemic. Users spend 52 to 80 minutes per day on the app.

What do people do on TikTok? Users are on the app to create, watch and interact with videos. They use this platform to be entertained, learn and share information.

What content performs well on TikTok?

  • Fun/funny videos
  • How-to videos
  • Dance trends
  • Storytelling
  • Skits
  • Challenges

 TikTok best practices:

  • Work with influencers who can spread your brand and message to their larger, cultivated audience.
  • Be authentic and casual.
  • Use relevant, localized hashtags.
  • Jump on trends or create your own TikTok challenges and trends.
  • Stitch or duet popular content.
  • Avoid being salesy.
  • Purchase sponsored content on the app.
  • Post to TikTok 3-5 times per week.

LINKEDIN

LinkedIn is a social media platform designed for professionals to network. It’s an awesome tool for businesses to connect with potential employees, share thought leadership or connect with other businesses.

Who’s on LinkedIn? LinkedIn has everyone from young intern-level individuals to CEOs on the platform. Businesses and organizations are also active on LI.

What do people do on LinkedIn? More than 80% of LI users say they are active on the platform to learn more about their industry/business through peer-to-peer interactions and content sharing. LinkedIn content should be educational and informative versus promotional in nature. People are on LinkedIn to look for jobs, connect with businesses, connect with other professionals and to share their professional experiences.

What content performs well on LinkedIn?

  • Industry news
  • Thought leadership resources: blogs, e-books, whitepapers, etc.
  • Job postings
  • Long-form insights about your industry, professional experiences or hiring/job search experiences
  • Employee highlights
  • Company culture information

 LinkedIn best practices:

  • Being social. You don’t have to be so serious on LinkedIn. Talk to people and pose questions.
  • Use rich media like photos and videos as a cover for content you’re linking to.
  • LinkedIn content should be educational and informative versus promotional in nature.
  • Engage with people who engage with your content.
  • Create groups AND participate in groups.
  • Use Showcase pages to segment content that is most interesting for a specific audience.
  • Whenever possible, use rich media (a photo or video) as a cover for content you’re linking to on your website.
  • According to LI, LI posts/updates with links generate 45% more engagement than posts without links. Use links.
  • Use hashtags to find relevant conversations to get involved with and for social listening.
  • Post to LI at 3-5x per week, Monday through Friday.

The most valuable aspect of social media is the ability to have dialogue and foster community online and from a distance. This is something younger generations crave, even more so amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Remember, these younger users are especially clever about content that feels “inauthentic.” Use your social media to build a relationship with your audience with your brand at the heart.

Social media, when done right, is free marketing; don’t let it go to waste. Check out fphorak.com to dive deeper into social media and to learn how to use it for your advantage.