A quick look at the blogosphere shows that there are a lot of internet marketers who are confused about making social media work for their organization. When they don’t get the results they expect immediately, some simply blame the social media platform and throw up their hands in defeat. While it’s true that social media marketing may not be the best solution for every organization, the sheer number of people using social networks makes it unwise for businesses to abandon their efforts too quickly. The truth is that the problem may not be the audience or the channel, but the organization’s content and publishing schedule. Here are four simple things that can affect the performance of social media content and how organizations can fine-tune their content for success.
Time and Date
Even though social media platforms are online 24 hours a day, it doesn’t mean that audiences respond to messages the same regardless of time and day of the week. Time of day influences how people respond to certain messages. It’s obviously better to promote breakfast products at nine in the morning than at nine at night. Also, the traffic patterns for social media networks are different for each platform. Traffic for most platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, traffic builds after 9 a.m. and begins to fade after 4 p.m. LinkedIn, with its focus on professional networking, has less traffic during business hours when most of its users are working.
Day of the week can also affect the engagement of users of certain social media platforms. All platforms, with the exception of Pinterest, have lower traffic on the weekends. Similarly, social networks have peak usage around the middle of the week. Again, the exception is Pinterest, which has peak traffic on Saturday. Industry trends also need to be considered. For example, automotive related posts get 15 percent higher engagement rates on weekends, whereas clothing and fashion posts do similarly better on Thursdays. .
Social media content should have a consistent tone and voice. As was mentioned in a previous post, one of the main benefits of social media is the ability to establish a relationship with consumers. Building that relationship means that the social media channel needs a personality that audiences can relate to and want to interact with. This tone and personality need to match the organization. Organizations with a focus on younger audiences would want to remain light-hearted and witty. On the other hand, organizations with older audiences and more serious subject matters would want to remain professional and fact-based when possible. Keep in mind that audiences will usually take their cue from the organization as to the tone of their comments.
Call to Action
Social media marketers have to remember that they need to have a call to action on some of their posts. Without suggesting some form of engagement (e.g. asking questions, fill-in-the blank posts, suggesting sharing, etc.) some of the viewers who might have interacted with social media content may choose not to. A direct call to action let’s audiences know that an organization wants their engagement. As with most things in social media, moderation is key. Too many calls to action is a little like ordering readers around. People know they can like, retweet, and share. A quick reminder every now and then is okay, but saying it everyday can seem condescending.
Though social media platforms allow for multiple types of posts, some posts simply encourage more engagement than others. Photos and videos are the most engaging type of posts, text status update are the next most engaging, and links are the least engaging. Despite this, many brands focus more on links than other types of content. This doesn’t mean no organization should use links. Depending on the target audience, links may be the best type of content. Industries that focus on information an in-depth reports need to use links to give their audience the relevant, informational content they want. Even so, it’s still good to keep a healthy mix of posts so that the page can continue to appeal to the general public as well as the organization’s strongest supporters.
In the end, there are a lot of factors that affect engagement rates for social media posts, and there are a lot of things that organization’s can do produce content that resonate with target audiences. This means that social media marketers need to vigilantly review the progress of their campaigns, and research what they can do to improve their efforts. Many businesses abandon their social media efforts prematurely because they don’t get the results they want and they feel it’s too hard to figure out social media. But successful social media is about understanding the habits, desires, and mindset of the audience. This type of understanding is essential to the success of just about every business no matter what marketing channel and strategy they employ. Time spent getting social media to work is time spent learning what will make and organization succeed, and that can never be a waste.