It’s pretty much a given in this day and age that being active on social media is crucial for businesses. From Facebook to Pinterest and every platform in between, consumer purchase decisions are increasingly driven by what they see on social media platforms. In fact, 74% of people turn to social networks for guidance on purchase decisions (Ogilvy Cannes)!
Gone are the days of using social media solely for quick life updates or pictures of what you ate for dinner. Consumers are increasingly using social media to actually do life—to get recommendations, gain insights and influence decisions.
So, never has it been more important than it is now for businesses of every size to have a strong and active presence across multiple social media networks. But how can you manage all that? Where will your inspiration come from? How can you keep it fresh? How can you keep it organized? For a local business, it can be tough. But that doesn’t mean it has to be impossible. With the right tools, managing your social media strategy is totally doable. And we’ve got the tips (and some tools) you need!
Social Media Inspiration (Tip/Tool)
Most of us are pretty familiar by this point with Facebook and how to share a picture or a status update. But what kind of posts are best for your business? And what about Pinterest and Instagram? What should you be posting on those networks? When it comes to keeping your business active across multiple platforms in a meaningful and engaging way—inspiration can often be hard to come by—leaving you staring down the barrel of a blank screen. Never fear. We’ve actually put our heads together and come up with some great inspiration for you! We’ve even tailored it to the summer season so you can get started right away!
Check out our free Summer eBook – it’s chock full of great marketing tips to get your business through the summer season and it includes two cheat sheets you can download. Use the “Summer Creative Inspiration Sheet” to keep your content strategy hot through the season.
Social-Media-Content Calendar (Tool)
Once the inspiration starts flowing, you might find it useful to utilize a social media content calendar. There are a few key reasons a content calendar is so helpful: First and foremost is frequency. The frequency with which you need to post on social media varies by network. A calendar can help keep that all straight for you. Second, you can totally reuse content across multiple networks—that image you posted on Facebook could work on Instagram and Pinterest too. A calendar will help you keep track of what you have posted and where. Third, a calendar is a helpful way to determine when you made certain posts. This will help you track the impact of your posts. It will remind you to gather and record performance metrics and can begin to highlight trends, identify your best performing content, know what the hottest times of day to post by platform are, etc. Tracking your performance is the key to optimizing it.
There are tons of free templates out there you can use—or simply create your own calendar in Excel. Make sure your calendar includes key components like: platform, post type, post time, link to post, and relevant performance metrics (likes, shares, etc.)
How Often to Post (Tip)
When it comes to social media—timeliness is key. Consumer attention spans are short, and they’re checking various platforms frequently—some, multiple times per day. An old or outdated social post is not likely to garner much attention. But what’s the sweet spot in terms of the lifespan of posts on the various social media networks? Here’s the rundown from shortest lifespan to longest.
Twitter is designed to be short and sweet. With its 140-character limit, the idea is for the platform to offer quick snippets of content designed to be consumed by today’s fast-moving consumers with a short attention span and little time. In fact, with around 6,000 new tweets every second (internetlivestats.com, 2017) it’s not hard to imagine how quickly your business’s tweet could become old news!
But, not to fret—with the advantage of retweets, your Twitter posts will not be obsolete in a mere few seconds. According to a recent report, when you factor in retweets and engagement, the shelf life of your tweet grows to a whopping 18 minutes (Stanton Communications, 2017). Bottom line: to stay relevant on Twitter, you need to post multiple times per day.
Facebook is another fast-moving platform which users tend to check multiple times per day. According to multiple reports, your Facebook post will reach 75% of its total impressions (views) within about 2.5 hours of being posted, and 75% of its total engagement within 5 hours. Now, that’s a lot longer than the shelf life of your tweets, but still necessitates more frequent posting. Bottom line: Facebook requires at least 2-3 posts per day.
Instagram & LinkedIn
Both Instagram and LinkedIn are a bit more forgiving on your time. With Instagram being a bit more creatively focused and LinkedIn’s professional nature, consumers are not checking these platforms nearly as often as Twitter and Facebook. What this means is that anything you post on these networks will stay relevant for a good 24 hours or so. Bottom line: post to these platforms once per day, or even every other day to stay relevant.
Once we get into the realm of YouTube, Pinterest and others, content shelf life drastically increases to a month or more. The types of content produced and the audience on these platforms is less demanding and more discerning, leaving less burden on you to come up with fresh content frequently. Bottom line: post new content to these platforms when you have something quality to contribute. Don’t worry too much about frequency.
Using a Tool/Service to Help (Tip)
Still overwhelmed? We get it. Even with the best tips and time savers, managing such a fast-paced and demanding medium can be daunting. This is where for some, utilizing a more advanced tool, or even outsourcing your social media management can be a huge help.
There are platforms out there which you can use to automatically schedule social media posts so that you don’t have to be sitting at your computer multiple times per day to make these posts (we understand—you have a business to run and customers to attend to). Typically, these platforms will also automatically pull in performance data for you as well so at any time, you can see the impact your social media marketing is having on your business.
But—these platforms still don’t solve the problem of the time it takes you to develop your content calendar, decide what to post, plan your posts and schedule them. So, for a truly hands-off approach look for a platform that includes full-service social media management. These platforms typically provide a hybrid DIY/DIFM (do it for me) solution offering you total control over your business’s voice, with the convenience of an expert who will draft and manage all the content for you. [Interested in this type of service? Contact us today and find out how we can help! Just fill out the form below and we will be in touch.]
Ultimately, while social media is a crucial component to your marketing program, it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming suck on your time. With these few key tips and tools, you can take your social media presence to the next level and capitalize on one of the biggest influencers of purchase decisions today.