Social media is exciting! For the first time in history, we have access to engage with our target audiences minus the price tag of national advertising and with access like never before. It’s a marketer’s dream.
Social media provides an opportunity for your brand to show its true colors, letting its personality shine, while being responsive, lively and caring. There are numerous opportunities to engage with your customers, potential customers and brand advocates in just one day through social media that traditional media simply cannot provide.
Through major social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Linkedin, brands can now gain premium insight into customer opinion, preferences, purchasing behavior and the competition.
Social media presents a huge opportunity but as with any marketing tactic, it’s essential that you establish a strategy to ensure you make the most of each opportunity without wasting precious time and budget.
Which Social Media Channels Should We Use?
Most likely, unless you’re offering social media as a service, it’s not necessary for your brand to be on every social media channel. In fact, it could even do more harm than good to stretch yourself over too many social channels because it can cause you to feel overwhelmed and give up.
Instead, think hard about:
1) Where your target audience is spending their time on social media.
2) Where your target audience is most likely to be receptive to engaging with your brand.
The one exception here is a Facebook page. At this point, brands across channels, whether you’re selling a product or service, are expected to have a Facebook page to answer customer questions and be the social face of your brand. So you’ll want to be sure this social channel is on your list of must-haves.
Once you’ve answered the question of which social media channels you should use within your strategy, it’s time to determine how often to post.
How Often Should My Brand Post on Social Media?
How often you post on social media should be determined by the goals within your social media strategy. The way you use social media and how often you engage will look different dependent upon whether you’re a B2C or B2B brand. Below are some general guidelines, tips and warnings to serve as a guide …
You don’t have to post multiple times a day or even once a day to start. Set a goal for sharing something 1-2 times a week with the main goal being to show activity when potential fans visit your Facebook page.
This will make them feel more comfortable liking your page and leaving a comment if they have a question, want to rave about your product or service or express a concern that you can address.
A word of warning: Since Facebook changed its algorithm, a mere 1% of your fans will actually see your posts at any given time. So, don’t exert the time and energy into posting daily on this channel. Instead, look into Facebook advertising to help grow your audience and actively monitor your page for comments while posting less frequently.
Twitter is excellent for real-time engagement. You can use hashtags to tap into relevant (or just for fun) conversations and actively monitor brand mentions without the restriction of private profiles as is the case with Facebook. Twitter can be a valuable resource for B2C and B2B brands alike.
We engage on Twitter daily, sharing content multiple times and retweeting content from our followers. Begin sharing content on Twitter as often as you can during the week. Make sure you’re following the 80 / 20 rule in that the majority of your content is not about your brand and is instead something your target audience would find interesting.
Tip: Use a hashtag research tool like Hashtagify to find out what’s trending that is relevant to your industry and target audience before posting.
This social media channel is heavily weighted toward B2B. Similar to Facebook, begin by sharing content 1-2 times per week on your company page to ensure it’s inviting to new followers.
Consider joining LinkedIn industry groups and posting relevant content to spur conversation and build awareness for your brand. Similar to Facebook, sponsored updates can help build awareness for your brand and company page. Check out this guide for more insight into creating LinkedIn ads.
Tip: Ensure your company page is listed within your executives’ LinkedIn profiles, your company website and within your Twitter profile to help build your audience.
This social media channel perhaps has the greatest potential to consume your time. Pinterest is B2C focused and is used predominately by women. If you’re a CPG brand, make sure you set up a profile and pin your products to boards with links back to your website.
If your brand has national distribution, Pinterest may be worth the initial time commitment of establishing your boards.
Warning: Initially populating several boards (4 – 8 is a good ballpark to start) can take hours. If you’re a regional brand, it is much less likely that customers will find and engage with you via this social media channel. Instead, consider investing that time into Twitter.
If you’re a B2B brand, do not pass GO, take your $200 and go back to LinkedIn. Instagram is for B2C-focused brands, so if you have a product that photographs well (think food, restaurant and CPG brands here) Instagram may just be worth the time investment.
Similar to Twitter, you can use hashtags to tap into searches and topics relevant to your product, target audience, niche or even region. Even if your brand doesn’t have national recognition or distribution, Instagram allows you to tap into conversations that are happening in your backyard (#Columbus #ShopLocal, etc.) so it could well be worth the time it takes to create and share content.
Begin using Instagram by following users with interests similar to that of your brand and do hashtag research. Then, create a sharing schedule and stick to it. Reassess and measure traffic back to your website and product pages.
The Verdict: Social Media for Brands
No matter the channels you choose, social media is a significant time commitment. You can easily spend hours each week (or day!) developing content, sharing that content and engaging to build your fan base. Add to that answering customer questions, addressing complaints and going the extra mile to keep things as close to real-time responsiveness as possible and you can easily have an additional job on your hands.
Take the time on the front end to develop a social media strategy to help avoid wasting countless hours and resources. Be selective in which social channels you choose to engage in and measure your efforts back to your goals whenever possible. Be ready to adjust sails and learn from your experiences.
Shameless plug: Our team is exceptionally fabulous at social media. We know how to integrate social into your marketing mix to support your sales goals. So, if you need help or you have questions, just send us an note.
I hope this guide to social media for brands is of value to you! Please feel free to let me know any questions you have in the comments below …