By: Brooke Lawton
1. It’s all about timing
Schedule your emails, tweets, status updates and blog posts at the right time—when you have a captive audience. You want to catch your audience not only when they’re checking their messages and news feed, but when they might have a few minutes to click through a link and check something out. When’s that? It depends, of course. Late in the day is another good time to post. Author and social media expert Dan Zarrella’s Twitter analysis found that tweets in the late afternoon and early evening—during commute hours and around dinner time—led to higher click-through rates than those published in the morning. A report by Buddy Media saw a similar phenomenon on Facebook. Brand interaction rates were 14.5 percent higher on weekends than on weekdays. The report also recommends posting between 8 pm and 7 am, when interaction is 14 percent higher than the rest of the day. The reason is simple: catch your audience during their downtime. Don’t want to work on the weekends or after hours? Tools like HootSuite can help by letting you compose your thoughts in advance and publish them at an appointed time.
2. Issue calls to action
If you want to engage with your customers on social media, you have to ask for it (in moderation, of course). Facebook posts with questions generate 92 percent higher comment rates than posts without questions, according to the Buddy Media report. Be sure to ask your question at the end of your post—that draws a higher comment rate than if the question is placed higher up. If you post a cool or amusing picture, don’t just ask your audience to “check it out!” Increase interaction rates by encouraging your audience to caption it, too. Or you can ask your fans to “fill in the blank,” a tactic that leads to four times as many comments as other posts. If you’re looking to build your following, you may simply want to ask people to follow your brand while offering them a compelling reason to do so, such as free prizes or behind-the-scenes access. Twitter found brands that paid for a promoted tweet and asked for a follow increased their audience by an average of 258 percent.
3. Use images often
Research shows that photos perform better than videos, links and text alone on Facebook. The best pictures are self-explanatory, like infographics and charts. According to digital marketing blog Kissmetrics:
Publishers who use infographics as their marketing weapon can increase their traffic by 12%
Photos are liked twice as much as text updates on Facebook
94% more total views on average are attracted by content containing compelling images than content without images
60% of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business whose images appear in local search results
37% increase in engagement is experienced when Facebook posts include photographs
14% increase in pageviews are seen when press releases contain a photograph. (They climb to 48% when both photographs and videos are included.)
All in all, social media marketing can help your business win new customers and engage with a broader audience. Making it work requires time, effort and some strategic thinking. By knowing your audience, interacting with them on their terms, and making engagement easy and attractive, you can elevate your brand and even drive revenue.