Founded in 2006, Twitter is an online social networking service that has revolutionized the way people access real-time updates about the things that they care about. Twitter is a very energetic platform and the users have passionate conversations and share interesting content- everything in 140-character bite-size messages. For businesses, this is the value of Twitter. The nature of the social media network makes it a great channel for businesses to build relationships and generate advocates. The key to success is to provide enough value to keep your users engaged.
To help you generate more Re-Tweets as well as clicks, replies and favorites, some of the best strategies, tactics and practices include:
1. Tweet at the Right Time
If you’re using Twitter to send out updates about your business, timing matters. According to research on ideal timing for Twitter, for maximum Re-Tweets, tweet between noon and 2 p.m. on a Friday.
2. Consider Tweet Length
Did you know that the length of a tweet can affect the number of people who engage with it? According to the social media marketing and analytics company- Track Social, this is indeed the case. For maximum Re-Tweets, the optimum tweet length is between 71 and 100 characters.
3. Tweet Links & Use Hashtags Wisely
According to an infographic on Quick Sprout, tweets that contain links have a higher Re-Tweet rate. Similarly, hashtags, which are a great way to increase your overall social media traffic, also play a role in how much engagement your tweet gets. For more Re-Tweets, tweet using popular hashtags. 1-2 hashtags is optimal. 40% of tweets with hashtags get Re-Tweets. Read more
Whether your current sentiment towards social media leans more towards enthusiasm or trepidation, there is no denying that the number and popularity of social media sites has grown exponentially over the last several years. It is now one of the primary ways people communicate and interact online and this shift in web consumerism has great significance for businesses. After all, Facebook has over 1.44 billion monthly active users while Twitter has 236 million monthly active users.
If Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s third largest right behind China and India. Whether you run a small, local business or head a global enterprise-level operation, your customers are online and if you are not interacting with them on the social media networks, your competitors are.
In effect, social media gives you the opportunity to add value and even delight your customers. The key to success is using the right tools to pull site data and consumer data to help you focus your marketing efforts. And when it comes to social media, if knowing what kinds of content to publish and share is important, how you share and publish your content is equally (if not more) important. The challenge here is that there is no best practice set in stone. Your best posting time and frequency will depend, to a large extent, on your audience and their appetite for what you have to say.
However, like with most things when it comes to online marketing, some research has been conducted to determine the best times to post on the social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest among others. The findings from these researches can act as a general guideline in your efforts.
As you probably already know, everything you post on Facebook is content. If you want every piece of content to be an opportunity for increased engagement, when and how you post it matters. In particular, you need to investigate and assess what time of day your fans are most active. According to research, the best times to post on Facebook are as follows:
The best days to post are Thursday and Friday. According to Buddy Media, “the less people want to be at work, the more they are on Facebook”.
The best time to post on Facebook is early afternoon. Furthermore, posts published at 1 p.m. get the most shares; Posts published at 3 p.m. get the most clicks.
In the last 10 years, social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, have seen an explosion of growth, both in terms of the number of users and popularity. Facebook, for instance, has 1.39 billion monthly active users and an average of 890 million daily active users while 89% of 18-29 year olds are on at least one social network. Clearly we live in an era where social media is a predominant way for people to interact and communicate online. For businesses, this rise in social media spells two things – opportunity and responsibility.
Indeed, social media is an opportunity and not only because of the audience on the different platforms but also the sheer amount of data that customers make readily available to marketers. The question is: Are you listening? After all, the magic of social media lies in its application in growing long lasting and scalable relationships with your customer base. Therein also lies the pitfall of the social networks. You have an online responsibility towards your customers. At the end of the day, social media can make or break your business.
Some social media practices that could hurt your business include:
1. You’re Publishing the Wrong Kinds of Content
Marketers often make the mistake of using the social networks for the sole purpose of pushing promotional content and updates. The problem with this lies in the fact that social media is all about building trust, engagement and community. There is a time and place for promotional messages but you also have to add value to the conversations and interactions you have online by sharing content meant to indulge or help your customers.
For instance, not every post you make on social media has to come from an original idea of yours. Sometimes responding to what others are saying and bouncing your ideas off them could be as plausible a way of getting yourself heard as any. Then there are other types of content such as non-promotional company information, for example if your employees are taking part in some volunteer work or if you have a job opening for job seekers.
2. You’re Publishing too Much Content too Often
How often should you post on the social networks? That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Sadly though, there is no right answer to this. There is no best practice set in stone because the social networks, for example Twitter and Facebook are very different from one another. One thing that’s true for all the social media sites is that updates and posts don’t last long and users move on to more recent items quickly. The other consideration is the type of organization you are. A media publication, for instance, can get away with many updates a day whereas a online shoe store sending out updates at such a frequency will exhaust and consequently turn off users. One thing you absolutely don’t want to do is talk just for the sake of it. Content you post on social media should add value to the community around your brand or business.
Founded in March 2006 and launched in July that same year, Twitter has a short history of 8 years and in that time, the online social networking service went from 5,000 tweets a day in the year following its launch to 500,000,000 tweets a day as of 2013. This corresponds to an average of 6,000 tweets every second and a total of 200 billion tweets a year. As of December 2014, Twitter also boasts of 500 million users, of which an estimated 284 million are active users. Clearly, Twitter is one of the biggest social networks today and as a business, it makes sense to be on Twitter and of course promote the sharing and widespread distribution of your content by optimizing your website and blog to be more Twitter friendly.
But what makes a blog Twitter friendly? The truth is, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last several years, everyone in the digital marketing world understands the value of marketing on Twitter but not everyone understands what it takes to encourage sharing on the social network. In essence, making a blog more Twitter friendly is a two-part process and each process, in turn, involves a number of steps.
- The first process is creating content that will do well on Twitter.
- The second process is fine-tuning the technical aspects of your individual blog posts and the business blog in general for better results on the social network.
Let’s take a look at the steps to create a business blog more prone to widespread distribution and sharing.
1. People on Twitter like Statistics and ‘Snackable Content’
The average adult has an attention span of 8 seconds. This is a number down from 12 seconds in 2000. Obviously, as the years go by, we are not getting more patient. Quite the opposite actually!
Correspondingly, in the content-saturated and distraction-rich world of social media and by extension, Twitter, marketers have a need to grab the attention of consumers quickly, giving rise to the concept of snackable content. When you create content, make it a part of the process to include snackable bits and pieces of information easy to share on social media and ergo Twitter. In particular, you can choose to add things like statistics or compelling quotes in the body and these can serve as useful resources for easy Twitter sharing and content distribution.
A useful plugin to easily create tweetable content and promote sharing on Twitter is Click to Tweet. Use it to highlight snackable parts of your blog posts and make it practical for readers to automatically add the message to their Twitter status box.
2. Use Quality Visual Content
According to findings by Jeff Bullas, adding images to blog posts increases its total number of views and engagement and a blog’s overall number of readers, subscribers, followers, and leads. In essence, visual content serves to break up written content and make it easier for readers to go through the whole post without bouncing. Now, if you are optimizing your blog for Twitter, adding visual elements to your posts should be more strategic with at least one image featured prominently, either as the header of the piece or as one of the first images and adjusted to the right image ratio for sharing on Twitter. The ideal image dimension for Twitter posts is 1024px by 512px.
Social media has become one of the most effective forms of communication for organizations in today’s fast-paced world. With social media, company managers are able to strengthen relationships with their current consumer base via many different social platforms. It also allows company managers to target potential consumers who are not yet familiar with the organization and develop new relationships with them.
Much like a gun, while social media can be used for a company’s good, it can be dangerous for the company itself if used wrongly. There are a number of practices and procedures that company managers can develop that will help an organization manage its social platform strategies professionally and lower the chances of potential negative effects that can jeopardize an organization’s standing. This is known as a social media policy.
Here are 3 fundamental social media basics that company managers can implement into an effective social media policy and begin practicing throughout their organization:
1. Inform all Employees of their Role within the Organization
Advising all employees of the company’s mission statement, goals, and objectives is the first step in aligning all employees together in an effort to accomplish the organization’s sole mission. When employees understand the purpose of an organization, what the organization is attempting to accomplish, and that the organization needs the help of each employee to achieve its goals, employees will begin to understand their role in the company, take pride in their position, and take the organization’s desires seriously. Employees who respect their employer, and who take the company that they work for seriously, will become more aware of their own actions and will conduct themselves in a manner that prevents their employer from being represented in a negative light in public.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve all seen the importance of social media skyrocket for businesses.
- Facebook has over 1.19 billion active users monthly. This means that if Facebook were a country, it would have been the world’s third largest with 3.5x the size of the U.S population.
- 1 in 5 young adults aged between 18 and 24 use Twitter daily.
- Overall, Twitter receives an estimated traffic of 300K users per day.
- Between 2011 and 2013, LinkedIn experienced a 105% growth.
- 72% of online adults use social networking sites.
It’s safe to say that the need for businesses to get their social media marketing right is only going to get stronger over time.
Social Media Marketing 101
1. It all starts with picking the right types of social channels
Most marketers have limited time and resources to invest in social media. This makes deciding where to focus your social media energy an increasingly important decision. The thing to remember is that not all social media sites are created equal. Three things will determine which network you should sign up for.
- Your business objectives and goals
- Your customer demographic
- The type of product and/or service you offer
For example, if you run a website that sells beauty products, you will be sharing a lot of image-based content. This makes Pinterest an ideal social site. It also has a more women-skewed user base.
2. Publishing and Sharing Content
Many marketers limit their social media content to promotional updates. This won’t help you build trust or a community around your business. You need to broaden the scope a little. In addition to the occasional promotional update, try other types of updates including:
- Adjacent content. This includes content relevant to but not exactly about your business that may interest your audience.
- Joining conversations. Social media is all about interacting and communicating with people online. Take an interest in the conversations happening around you and jump in if you have something of value to add.
- Non-promotional company information. It’s always a good idea to humanize your brand on the social media sites. Let people in on what’s happening behind the scenes like if you’re doing any volunteer work or if you’re having a Christmas lunch for your employees.
- Humor is subjective and it’s not always acceptable so this type of post can be tricky. If you’re not sure about what you’re doing, it’s always better to put safety first. Remember that a joke is supposed to be funny. Not awkward. Not inappropriate. And not painful.
Then of course, how often you should update your social media accounts is another important consideration. The bad news is that there is no best practice that’s set in stone. The best frequency for making updates will depend on what’s appropriate for your business, the best practices in regards to the social channels you use and your audience. You will need to experiment to know what works best for you.
Over time, we’ve all seen businesses, celebs and politicians fail epically at social media. When a campaign burns to the ground, there is always an underlying reason. For example:
- Humor only works on social media if you’re actually funny
- Twitter bots are dangerous
- Customers can be critical and it’s impossible to please everyone
Then there is another reason. The good old maxim “any press is good press”. But that’s unlikely in most circumstances. The social media landscape today is way too precarious for businesses to deliberately make blunders for publicity.
What You Can Learn from the Worst Social Media Mistakes in Recent Years
1. Your Facebook or Twitter Account is an Extension of You
– London Luton Airport
In March 2013, London Luton Airport was slammed for using the picture of a fatal crash in Chicago, which killed a 6-year-old boy, in a Facebook post that was meant to be amusing. The caption read:
“Because we are such a super airport….this is what we prevent you from when it snows……Weeeee :)”
The insensitive picture was removed within 90 minutes after it was posted following an outrage by Facebook users.
– American Airlines
Called the “largest, shittiest airline in the world”, American Airlines replied to a tweet by an obviously unhappy customer with “Thank you for your support! We look forward to a bright future as the #newAmerican.” The tweet has since been deleted but this just goes to show that while there are some situations where an auto-tweet is acceptable (for example when someone subscribes to your monthly newsletter), there is a danger to auto-responding to everything.
2. Don’t Tie your Business to an Unrelated Event just Because it’s Trending
Baked goods purveyor Entenmann learned the hard way that words can be a tricky thing. Following the verdict in the controversial Casey Anthony murder trial, Entenmann sent out a tweet that read:
“Who’s #notguilty about eating all the tasty treats they want?!”
Naturally, there was backlash and the inevitable apology wasn’t long in coming.
Maybe it was ignorance or maybe it was heartlessness but following the Aurora Shooting in the early hours of July 20, 2012, CelebBoutique made a massive and unforgivable social media misstep tweeting:
“#Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress;)”
The company’s PR clearly did not have the time or inclination to check on why Aurora was trending and the resulting tweet was incredibly insensitive. They later followed up with an apology and an explanation about what happened.
Social media is now held to the same standard as print and broadcast in the count of essential marketing channels for businesses. As such, your social media ROI needs to contribute to your bottom line.
The challenge is taking a look at your existing business goals and setting social media goals to complement them. For example, your business goal this quarter may be to generate a specific number of leads or it may be to increase your landing page conversion by 15%. And since social media is pretty top-of-the-funnel, the corresponding social media goals will probably revolve around increasing engagement and traffic to your site.
Social Media Metrics that Matter
So you are using social media to reach your business goals. Engagement is a great corresponding social media goal because it impacts a business three-fold.
- It increases traffic
- It grows brand awareness and builds a community
- It shows your voice
But “engagement” is not a concept as simple as the number of followers you have on Twitter or Facebook. It’s a fuzzy word digital marketers use to mean “interactions with your brand.” On top of this, you have to account for the fact that every social channel is different and unique in its own way and engagement isn’t the same for each.
So how can you measure social media engagement? And which tools do you use?
The most important social media metrics are touted to be:
– Conversation rate
This is the number of conversations per post. So on Twitter, this is the number of replies to a tweet and on Instagram, it’s the number of comments on any pin, post or photo.
– Amplification rate
In social media, any post that’s retweeted or reshared is, in essence, being amplified. So think of this metric as the number of repins, retweets and/or reshares a particular post garners.
– Applause rate
Every social network has a touch point to show applause. For instance, Twitter has favorites and Facebook has likes. Applause rate is based on this concept. It’s the number of “likes” a post gets.
– Economic value
This is, quite simply, the sum of short- and long-term revenue and cost savings.
– Relative engagement rates
And finally, should you ever wish to compare your conversion rate on Facebook as compared to your conversion rate on Instagram, this metric averages the number of conversations you accumulated per post per follower for each of your social media accounts.
How to Track Them
Once you establish your social media goals, the next step is to set up tools to measure the ROI on your social media. Measuring your social media efforts is critical to assessing whether or not you’re making an impact to the business.
To measure the ROI on your social media as well as social media success, there is a number of social media analytics software that you can use. Some to consider include:
A social media analytics software designed to help marketers get in-depth analysis and insights into their social media performance, Mondovo’s social tools include Facebook Analytics, Twitter Analytics, Facebook Competition Analyzer and Twitter Competition Analyzer. Access all your Facebook and Twitter data from one location and benchmark your performance against your competitors. With these tools, you will be able to keep a tight control over the nittiest, grittiest details that contribute to social media success.
– Facebook Analytics
View and assess the performance of your Facebook Fan Page. This includes but is not limited to measuring your page’s amplification, reach, impact and engagement trends, all in one place.
– Twitter Analytics
This tool is designed to let you view and understand your Twitter account performance. This includes but is not limited to measuring your account’s performance and engagement and keeping a tab on your followers, retweets, mentions and engagement trends. Measuring these metrics is essential to assessing the impact of your tweets on your audience.
– Facebook Competition Analyzer
In social media, it sometimes becomes important to benchmark your brand’s performance against competitors. With Mondovo’s Facebook Competition Analyzer, view and understand the audience and engagement trends of any Facebook page. This tool is designed to help you assess your position and relative performance compared to your competitors.
– Twitter Competition Analyzer
And finally, a tool very similar to the one we just saw above, if you want to analyze the audience, content and engagement trends of any Twitter account, Twitter Competition Analyzer is your solution. Stalking has probably never been this easy or this fun.
Offering 3 plans (Free, Pro and Enterprise), HootSuite is the preferred social media analytics tool of many marketers. With HootSuite, you can
– Manage your social assets
– Create engaging campaigns
– Find, track and nurture leads and customers
– Get to know your audience
– Be at the right place at the right time when your customers need you
Some of the products by HootSuite include:
– uberVU via Hootsuite: This tool gives you real-time data about your brand making it easy to track influencers, stories, trends and more.
– Analytics: Helps you get all the data about your social media outreach and displays it in comprehensive and easy-to-read reports.
– Hootlet: Lets you post to multiple social networks with one click. This saves time and extends your reach.
SocialMention is a social media analysis platform that allows you to easily view and keep a tab on what people are saying about you, your brand, a specific product or any topic across the web’s social media landscape. It monitors Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and quite a few other social media networks to provide a real-time social media search and analysis service.
With SocialMention, you can also set up an RSS feed, email alerts or even add a real-time widget to your website. SocialMention’s Realtime Buzz Widget, for example, is a tool you can use to view the latest buzz about you, your brand or a product over the web.
Let’s start this post with a question!
What do you do on your smartphone most often?
– Email clients?
– Check the news apps?
– SMS/Text messaging?
– Take pictures and/or record videos?
For those of us who are completely honest, there is no shame in admitting that, for the most part, our time is spent on the social networking apps behaving like “stalkers.” We observe and obsess over people, places and things that are meaningful to us.
On any given day, how many times do you honestly check your social apps to see what your friends are eating for lunch or whom they are hanging out with?
According to Adobe’s 2013 Mobile Consumer Survey, in 2012, there was a 31% and 180% increase over 2011 in smartphone and tablet users respectively in the United States. Consumers today are increasingly using their smartphones and tablets to connect with brands through mobile-optimized websites and mobile apps.
Key findings of the 2013 mobile survey:
1. For consumers who have access to both a smartphone and a tablet, the device of choice remains the smartphone although tablets are rapidly rising in popularity.
2. Facebook is the dominant social network. It is accessed via mobile at 85%.
3. Twitter follows this number at 35% and Google+ at 21%.
4. The most popular social activity on mobile is to read status updates. Consumers are also using smartphones and tablets alike to view pages of their favorite brands.
In this era of emerging mobile-specific technologies, businesses have an unprecedented opportunity for brand differentiation.
Understand Your Audience Before you Address Them
Social media users fall under 3 different categories of people:
For social media success, you need to have a cursory understanding of your target audience before you start talking to them.
Thinkers use social media when they are contemplating whether or not to make a purchase. These are laid back people and are slow to act. 48% of Pinterest purchasers are thinkers that will favorite an item that they may or may not buy at a later date.
Questers are people actively researching a potential purchase. They are information gatherers looking for feedback on items they are interested in.
Leapers are people who get inspired by social media to make a purchase. You may think of this category of people as impulse buyers. They take action quickly when they see something of interest.
These customer profiles are key to developing a successful mobile social media presence.
Take a look through your Twitter or Facebook streams. Are your friends talking about the products and brands they are using? Chances are, yes, they are. How about you? Have you ever asked one of your social media peers to advise you on whether a new restaurant down the road is worth trying or not? Have you ever steered someone toward one specific product or service and away from another?
This is influence!
Influence, on social media, is the ability to change how others think and act. Often people think the definitive characteristic of an online influencer is how many Facebook fans and Twitter followers that person has. That’s not technically accurate. It does not matter if you run a blog where you post content everyday about a specific subject. Influence is measured by a person’s ability to drive others to change their opinion and take actions.
So in truth, anyone has the potential to influence another. Influencers are not necessarily people with the most arbitrarily awarded +K on Klout. The challenge therefore is to find the right influencers to engage. Some people have enough pull to drive a spike in web traffic and sales with a single status update.
The point is: As a brand marketer, it’s important to understand that influence can come in several shapes and sizes. Sometimes influence is predictable. Some industry influencers have an established reputation that spreads far and wide. Other times, an algorithmic tool such as Klout or PeerIndex can help you find potential influencers who can sway others on a specific topic. This is of course not a surefire method but only a tool you can use for some help.
Connecting with Your Industry’s Social Media Influencers is a Multi-step Process!
1. Identifying Influencers
When researching your industry social media influencers, the most important consideration is that any influencer outreach should support your existing business goals. You can’t get started without knowing exactly what you want to achieve. Your objective may include one or more of the following:
1. Demonstrate credibility and thought leadership
2. Generate inbound traffic
3. Enhance your business visibility through content creation
4. Build customer relationships
5. Move community members through the purchase funnel
6. Test new products and generate honest feedback
To find influencers who align with your business goals,
- Keep an ear out for conversations happening in your industry’s community, sweeping the social web to find conversations that matter to you
- Search the communities you found above to identify who is sharing content and who is most active there
- Dig deeper into these influencers by checking up on them on LinkedIn and/or Twitter.
- With a good list of potential influencers, you can now narrow down on 10 or 20 so the number remains manageable. This may require further detailed information about your influencers or you can look at Klout for their influential topics and ensure they are relevant.