You’re likely already using social media to promote your brand and any content you produce. Social media has been proven over the years to be an effective tool, but are you getting the most out of your platforms? With the stress of everything else involved with running an ecommerce business, it can be easy to fall into a pattern with social media where you use it for posting, but don’t really pay it much attention. Just having a social media presence won’t do much in terms of growing your audience or boosting engagement.
Especially for the content you take the time to create, you want to get the most engagement as possible for it. Sadly, there is more work involved than simply tweeting the link to your latest post. If you find yourself in this position, take a look at these tips and see what you should be doing to best promote your content via social media.
Use great visuals
Images will make or break your content. It’s true! In fact, content with visuals are 40 times more likely to get shared on social media. However, this doesn’t mean you should just include any image in your content just to have it, even if the image is relevant. The visuals need to be great! With platforms like Instagram and Snapchat (both completely image and video based platforms) becoming more and more popular, it proves how important visuals are in the social media world.
There are challenges associated with using visual content for your own use, most notably the concern with copyright laws and determining which images online you can use and which you can’t. While there are plenty of sites you can use where you buy high quality photos that you can use on your website, blog, or social media, you may not have the money to spend in this area, especially if you are a new brand. However, there are also plenty of free resources that have high quality images you can use completely free. We rounded up our 10 favorite places to find great visuals, which you can take a look at here.
You also have the option of creating your own visuals, which can be very effective if you are able to produce high quality images. Depending on the content you are creating, you can decide what path to take in terms of images, just be sure whatever you use looks great, and that you have permission to use it!
Tailor your content for each channel individually
This doesn’t mean that you have to create 3 separate blog posts- one for Facebook, one for Twitter, one for Instagram. That would be exhausting! Instead, share the piece of content in a unique way on each platform. Diversify your visuals and consider different taglines to use that draw people in from all of your different social media platforms. Each channel has a unique layout and certain expectations for the type of content that is shared, so it is in your benefit to understand how each platform will work for you. For example, LinkedIn is the professional social media network, so including silly images or GIFs isn’t appropriate in that setting, but fits much better on Twitter, where GIFs are common.
In this example, Buffer shared the same piece of content on their Facebook and Twitter, but the two posts look very different. Facebook allows you to share more info, both in the status update section, as well as including the title and meta description when sharing a link. With Twitter, you are more limited, only having 140 characters to include the link to the content, visual, and short description.
There are also practical considerations when sharing your content on multiple platforms, like we touched on when mentioning the character limit on Twitter. For example, the standard image size on Facebook when sharing a link is 1200×627, where as the LinkedIn image is much smaller, at 180×110. In order to look professional, make sure the images you use on each platform fit the size requirements; see this image size guide for all sizes. Also, with hashtags being so popular, you want to incorporate them into your posts (don’t go overboard), but LinkedIn does not support hashtags, so don’t accidentally use them in a post on that platform.
Create enticing headlines and descriptions
While the use of images is incredibly important when sharing your content, you can’t forget about the content itself. Your title should draw users in, and a short description should give them a better idea of the value of the content. Just like your visuals, don’t be afraid to come up with multiple titles. Use the titles on different platforms, or do an A/B test on one platform to see which title performs better. Your description should include the subject of the content, what the value of the content is, as well as a call to action (for example: learn more!)
Determine when your audience is online
So you have your great content, beautiful visuals, and enticing headlines. What now? You need to figure out when to post! There are plenty of stats out there on when to post to each social media platform, and that is a good jumping off point, but what will serve you best is to analyze your own posting times and see what works best for you.
For example, Kissmetrics published an infographic on the best times to post on Facebook and Twitter. They recommend tweeting around 5 PM, as their data suggested that that is when most engagement and retweets occurred. For Facebook, they recommend around noon. Hootsuite also put together a post with research from varying companies and their suggestions on when to post. While there is some overlapping info, there is not one consistent answer, which is why looking at your own posts will be very important.
Using tools like Facebook Insights or Iconosquare will help you to understand when your specific audience is engaging the most, giving you a good idea of when to post for each channel. The answer will likely be different for each channel, and that’s okay! Do some experimenting of your own, posting content at all different times of day and see what results you come up with.
Encourage your audience to engage
Finally, don’t treat your social media pages as a one-way communication path. Social media, in fact, is supposed to be social! Encourage your audience to comment on your posts, tag their friends, or even share it on their own page. Some of the best promoting you can get for your content (or your brand in general) is via social sharing. Not only will this expose you to a larger audience, but people are more likely to trust their peers than they are to trust brands or advertising. Don’t forget to spend some time interacting with your audience, responding to comments, or giving a shout-out to those users who take the time to share your content. A little effort will go a long way!