Starting Out on Social Media: Answering the Most Asked Questions about a Social Strategy
Social media has long been a huge topic of conversation, for brands, users, the media and businesses alike. Over the last ten years or so, it has become clear that channels like Facebook and Twitter have a huge potential to influence, whether it’s through political bias, improving (or ruining) brand sentiment, or trolling the least favourite contestant on Love Island of that day. But how can businesses harness this huge potential that social media offers, for their own marketing goals?
Based on Buzzsumo data, 50% of the most popular posts in the entire world of digital marketing are centred on how to best utilise social media as part of a marketing strategy. One of the main concerns is how it is even relevant to digital marketing, or if it is at all linked to a brand’s SEO.
This blog post will provide a cohesive guide to the best social media strategies across Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, based on the issues most-faced by brands and businesses of today.
How Can Social Media be used for SEO
Social media is a great, organic way to boost your brand or client’s online presence. Although Google *apparently* does not use social media as a ranking factor, Bing does, meaning it is not impossible that Google won’t integrate it within their ranking factors in the future. Still, what social media does do is influence search demand, which in turn affects traffic. Essentially, the more social your brand is, the more people will search for your product – so the more conversions.
How Influential is Social Media for SEO?
Despite being written four years ago, a great point from SEO expert Neil Patel’s article is that social media can act as a search engine in itself. Many will now type your brand into Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter to find out about it instead of Google, meaning that your presence on these sites is imperative. These outlets also allow a much more personable approach to presenting your brand than a Google page, as visitors can engage with the employees and brand ethos just as much as the brand values and product. Therefore, whilst social media might not directly link to influencing a brand’s SEO, it is now so interwoven into search that it should not be neglected as a strategy.
With this mind, we’ll go through Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin based on how relevant they are to digital marketing, how you can increase followers and engagement, the optimum amount and optimum type of posting, and paid versus earned strategies, then we’ll look at what you should expect from a social media strategy.
Let’s start with the biggie. Despite the recent controversy surrounding Facebook, there are still 1.47 billion daily active users on Facebook on average in June 2018, making it the channel with the most potential in terms of reach.
How Relevant is Facebook to Digital Marketing?
According to Social Media Examiner’s 2017 Industry Report on nearly 6000 marketers, Facebook is still the most important social platform. The huge audience is the most compelling aspect of Facebook, and for a digital marketing strategy, social shares on Facebook are a wonderful metric to reveal the quality and strength of your content.
2. How Often and What Should you be Posting on Facebook?
Visual content is so important across all social media, but video is especially important on Facebook. Video has an extremely high engagement rate, and has proven to increase landing page conversions and grow revenue for brands. Live video is even more effective in engaging consumers with a brand’s personality, and is far cheaper to produce than standard video. You can read more in-depth about the benefits of live video here. In terms of how often you post, aim for three times a week, but be careful not to oversaturate and put off your followers. Studies have shown that posting more than twice a day causes a drop-off in engagement rates.
3. How Can you Increase Followers and Engagement on Facebook?
Personality is so important to social media strategy across all channels. For Facebook, balance an output of straight-up marketing with an emphasis on company culture and brand personality. This channel also relies heavily on a sense of community – start a group to invite people to become more engaged with your brand, organise events to take consumers from virtual to physical leads, and use and engage with your fan’s content to show that you really care about what they have to say.
4. What are the Benefits of Paid Media and Earned Media Strategies on Facebook?
Unfortunately, on Facebook, an earned media strategy can only take you so far. Paying for boosting posts, running competitions and ads are still the most effective ways of increasing followers and engagement on this social channel.
Despite the recent 20% drop in stock on 27th July 2018, and users declining by 1 million from the first quarter of this year, Twitter still has 335 million users, and is a popular channel for political, social and economic engagement.
- How Relevant is Twitter to Digital Marketing?
Twitter is the perfect tool to promote your brand’s authority, both as a leading competitor in your industry and as a voice of in-depth knowledge on your area of expertise. It has also increasingly become a valuable tool for monitoring and improving brand sentiment and customer support. Many now take to twitter to voice their compliments – but more often complaints – of a brand’s service, and being aware of all feedback is absolutely essential.
2. How Can you Increase Followers and Engagement on Twitter?
For starting conversations, Twitter is pretty much unrivalled. Whether it’s commenting on your followers’ tweets, or opening up a dialogue with a question or poll, keep consumers engaged with what you have to say. If you’d like to automate your increase in followers, the paid tool SocialQuant allows you to input hashtags based on your industry and it looks for similar interests in Twitter followers, increasing your own follower count.
3. How Often and What Should you be Posting on Twitter?
Whilst proactive engagement and tweeting should definitely form part of your strategy, tools like Hootsuite allow you to schedule tweets in advance – perfect for recycling old content and maintaining online presence.
It’s important to remember that not all your content must be completely dry and on-brand. We recommend a perhaps controversial balance of 80% fluff, and 20% direct marketing, to maintain a happy following and ensure no one feels like you’re shoving your content down their throats. At our event in May, Helena Langdon, Head of Digital at Innocent Drinks, spoke about her company’s enviable social media strategy. One of the key elements to Innocent’s success with online communities is that they often don’t use their channels as a promotional tool, instead relying on a personal touch to all their interactions. This has meant that Innocent stands as one of the most socially relevant brands on Twitter, and has even resulted in them sparking viral trends such as the exceptionally popular #DogsAtPollingStations that took the UK by storm last summer.
— innocent drinks (@innocent) June 23, 2016
4. What are the Benefits of Paid Media and Earned Media Strategies on Twitter?
Unlike Facebook, paid strategy on Twitter is virtually irrelevant. The key thing is to have a point of view, and you can get it heard by building up a dedicated following, using trending hashtags to appear on daily searches and methodically engaging with your followers and prospective followers.
LinkedIn is the professional social media channel of choice. Operating a global professional network with more than 562 million registered members in over 200 countries and territories, a company’s Linkedin page can elevate its status to a highly trusted, impressive brand based on how the efficacy of your strategy.
- How Relevant is Linkedin to Digital Marketing?
Particularly for B2B brands, Linkedin is so important for building up a voice of authority, and is the most effective B2B social media platform. A Bubblegum Search study found that 66% of users said they see good results from the site (and why would they lie?). The study also finds that social media marketing is roughly as effective as PPC, showing how much can be gained from a Linkedin marketing strategy.
2. How Can you Increase Followers and Engagement on Linkedin?
Tone of voice matters on Linkedin, and should be fairly different to your Facebook tone of voice. On your Linkedin posts, create a story that guides readers through your own journey of how you came to the end result – whether it’s the content, a recent award win or a new element of your brand. Another way to easily increase followers is to harness your team mates with their personal accounts. Linkedin’s algorithm means that the majority of a newsfeed is posts liked and shared by those that your following, rather than updates from accounts that you follow yourself. Get your company’s employees liking and sharing your output, as well as posting (and linking back to the brand), and people will engage far more with your story and ethos.
3. How Often and What Kind of Thing Should you be Posting on Linkedin?
According to a study by Buffer, posting once a day on Linkedin allows you to reach 60% of your audience. However, there’s absolutely no point in posting for the sake of it. Unless you’ve got a company update, new product or some good news that your network will genuinely care about, hold yourself back from pointless posting.
4. What are the Benefits of Paid Media and Earned Media Strategies on Linkedin?
A mixture of the two is probably the best strategy here. Write incredible, engaging posts, then sponsor them and tailor your target audience to increase your reach of prospects and leads. Keep engaged with your network with personal messages and comments, but also use the sponsored inmail feature when you have a specific reason to do so – whether it’s letting people know about an upcoming event, or launching a new product.
What should you expect from your social media strategy?
The results you gain from your social media strategy depend on your current level of activity, your dedication to regular posting and updates, and your ability to continuously hit the nail on the head in terms of your brand voice, target readers and adaptability to engagement. Overall, like any marketing strategy, here’s what you should look to develop:
Increasing brand awareness
Improving brand sentiment
Increasing brand engagement
Social media has huge potential to be an incredible asset to your brand, but taking time and care over it rather than spam or generic content will 100% improve your results.
So, it’s time to start sharing great content! As some initial practice, feel free to like, share and comment on this post…
Casey Paul, 09/08/2018