Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Published in Jul-Aug 2014

Nailing the big 5

Tips on appropriately customising your content on the big five social networks.

You have probably heard it said that each social network is unique. You have probably also heard that you are supposed to market a little differently on each network according to its own nuances. Great!

Now all you have to do is to tailor your social updates according to each network’s strengths. How? Here is a handy update of my top tips on how to market on the five major social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Pinterest.

Top tips to increase Facebook engagement

  • Mix it up: Offer a variety of media updates on Facebook. If you are updating your Facebook page five times a week, jazz it up with a variety of updates, including: text, image, video, questions and links.
  • Frequency: Do not post too frequently as Facebook users do not like to be spammed. Test posting frequencies according to your audience. Retail and discount stores can typically post four to five times a day, while B2B companies might want to stick to just once a day.
  • Have a conversation for goodness sake: If you are just broadcasting promotional messages, STOP. Try asking questions instead. Also, respond to questions. Start a two-way dialogue with your community – Facebook rewards high engagement levels and Facebook users are generally responsive, so don’t shy away from being human and friendly.
  • Keep it short: Although the posting text limit is about 63K+ characters, no one has time to read a thesis on Facebook. So keep your updates short and snappy and only go for longer updates when explaining a complex idea or discussing a particular point of view.
  • Facebook content thrives on mutual appreciation: Do tag other brands and pages when referring to them. What? You are not referring to other brands? You should be! It’s healthy to talk about your peers as well as communities you partner with. So the next time you share a photo from an event, tag the organisers – it works wonders for increasing shareability and eyeballs on your content.

Twitter rules you should know

  • Frequency: Post tweets frequently on Twitter – the more the merrier. There is no such thing as too much tweeting. You can easily post 10 to 20 times a day without causing a hiccup.
  • Repeat yourself: When promoting on Twitter, repeat yourself at least four times in a 24-hour time zone so that you catch people at various times of the day (and night). Guy Kawasaki swears by this posting frequency and if you have an international audience, it could work for you as well.
  • Mix it up: Take a good hard look at your last 50 tweets. If all you see is a bunch of one-way tweets about your latest achievement, then it is time to shake things up. Start replying to mentions, retweet (RT) others, jump into conversations (politely) and add value to them. Now take a look at your own tweets again – it should be a mix of @replies, RTs, links to others’ work and some stuff of your own. A good ratio to follow is 80/20. Promote, reply and respond to others 80% of the time and talk about yourself 20% of the time.
  • Use link shorteners like bit.ly: They save space and unlike other networks where they might be frowned upon, on Twitter it is considered best practice to shorten URLs and include more characters of text.
  • Use hashtags judiciously: One or two are fine, three or more are not. Generic is bad (don’t use #marketing). Specific and custom hashtags are great (do use #StartupMarketing).

LinkedIn updates to attract business followers

  • Use rich media: LinkedIn owns SlideShare so any presentations you embed from SlideShare will play directly inside LinkedIn. Same for YouTube – videos play within the status update. Take advantage of this functionality and generously post both types of content in your updates.
  • Business content only: LinkedIn is not the place to publicly share the latest meme or joke. Make sure your updates are professional and will appeal to a business
    audience. If you cannot discuss something publicly at work, do not post it on LinkedIn.
  • Use targeted audiences: There is no reason to post the same update to everyone. Target your updates according to audience segments – such as customers, suppliers, journalists, etc. Targeting options include segmenting by geography, company size, industry, job function and position.
  • Use child pages: Build a LinkedIn showcase page to reside as a subpage of your main company page. You can build showcase pages for different verticals of your business or different audiences. That way people can choose to follow the specific child page that they are interested in rather than the entire company page. It makes for a targeted content campaign!
  • Do share inspirational as well as practical content: LinkedIn is great for sharing stuff that helps people work better. So always aim to share in a way that makes it clear how it will make someone’s day at work better.

How to use Google Plus (G+) to add pizzazz to your marketing

  • Have fun with your updates: Google Plus users often incorporate rich media, such as animated gifs, videos and images in their post – and the community loves it! Just don’t go overboard with gifs; however this is one social network where the zanier the content, the more quickly it will spread.
  • Incorporate hashtags: Make use of hashtags on all the mediums supported, but especially on G+ because your hashtags are directly tied to search results.
  • Stream live events and videos: This is the place to show anything live happening in your company – whether it is an industry conference, a product demo, a corporate event, a sponsored concert, a business workshop, a webinar, a training session, etc. Use Hangouts On Air to live stream and instantly share your event (and the recording) on YouTube.
  • Share content directly tied to your keywords: Suppose you want to rank for the phrase ‘celebrity wedding gowns’ and a famous couple is getting married – you should share a timely news update about the nuptials with your hashtag #BrangelinaWeddingDress. Stuff like this is primed to appear on the search engine results page as a top news story curated via Google Plus.

Pinterest strategies to gain addicted audiences

  • Use themes: Organise your pins into thematic categories. If you own a restaurant, have boards according to your menu categories, such as appetisers, entrées, desserts, etc. if you are a retail firm, make boards according to product categories. If you offer a service, segment boards according to customers. Find a way to segment and tailor boards to appeal to targeted customers.
  • Provide context: Do not just pin the photo. Add descriptive text, a link and background information on what the pinned photo represents. For example, if you are a fashion brand pinning clothes, add a bit of commentary about which accessories will go with the dress or how to dress it up or down.
  • Use rich pins: Pinterest offers five types of rich pins: movie, recipe, article, product and place pins. Each type can be used to further add context and aid search. For example, the article pin could include the headline, author name and a brief story description, thus making the pin more valuable and helping pinners find and categorise appropriately.
  • Use rich media: Not many people realise that Pinterest supports videos and gif formats. Make use of these and share this type of content on Pinterest.
  • Convert your text into images: If you have mainly text based content, you can still be active on Pinterest. Many brands convert bite-sized text into quote cards for Pinterest. Other brands use infographics to display huge chunks of text in a visually pleasing way. Even if you are a B2B organisation with no fancy high quality images to display, you can still make use of Pinterest by creating visually interesting text.

The trick to using these social networks to engage your audience is to recognise the strengths of each network, experiment a bit and then pander to the results. A little tweaking can go a long way.

If you post the exact same update on Facebook and Twitter, one will do better than the other. But if you tweak your update for each medium, both are likely to perform well. Context is everything when using social media channels for content based marketing!

Salma Jafri is founder and CEO, WordPL.net. salma@wordpl.net