If you use social media correctly you have an amazing opportunity to excite, educate, and motivate existing and prospective consumers about your product, service, or cause. Be interesting, be timely and be canny.
Depending on how much news and interesting content your business has to share, and depending on your fan base, you may want to be posting on Facebook once or twice a week or every day. If your fans are a young crowd you’ll have to post frequently to stand a chance of getting your posts seen because they are likely to have several hundred friends to compete for visibility with. From experience, to appear in a search engine you need to post to your Facebook account at least once a week. If you post boring content too often to your Facebook page you will lose fans or they will block your posts from their newsfeed, but if you don’t post often enough they will lose interest in you. It’s a fine balance but the new Facebook metrics (click on the ‘Insights’ tab on the left-hand column of your page) provide you with very useful statistics. A Facebook page which hasn’t been posted to for a month or more gives the impression that your business has either gone out of business or has absolutely nothing going on, both of which give the wrong impression (or an impression you surely don’t want to project!).
Be consistent with your Facebook updates. Without updates you’re invisible because you only appear in people’s newsfeeds if you write them. Try to post at least once a week to avoid a ‘graveyard page’ but if you have news, photos, videos, articles etc to share, post every day.
With Twitter it’s best to post more frequently to give your posts the best chance of showing up in someone’s timeline. Posting up to 10 times a day is common on Twitter but anything is better than nothing. A good tactic is to link your mobile phone to Twitter so you can update your Twitter account using your normal texting facility. It’s a free number and it means you can send tweets even when you have no internet connection (link your mobile phone to your Twitter account under ‘settings’ in Twitter).
With Facebook you can’t just give people the hard sell. People are mainly on Facebook to chat with their friends, so if they just get sales updates from you they will switch off. Be engaging and sociable. Paint your product or service in the best possible light so people will remember it. Experiment and see what posts create the most interest. Update photos of new products, include good customer feedback, write about any events you’re holding or attending, awards you have won, interesting news about your industry, ask questions, write quotes. Although people don’t like the hard sell, they do like to receive special offers and discounts as a reward for liking your page so try adding these in if possible. Try and direct people back to your website, including your link in a post and directing people to a new product or service. You can track how many people are visiting your website via Facebook and Twitter by using the Google Analytics URL builder http://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin/answer.py?answer=55578. You can then create a link which will show how many people have arrived at your web page via Facebook or Twitter (you need access to your Google Analytics to see this).
Use #hashtags to draw attention to your tweets. Find out popular #hashtags relevant to your industry here (http://hashtags.org/)
It’s also worth thinking about when to post – which days and what times. This really depends on who your audience are and when they are most likely to be active on Facebook and Twitter. There’s been lots of research about the best time to post on Facebook (here’s some from The Marketing Blog, Twitter Marketing Agency and Mashable) but the best thing to do is experiment and think about who your audience are and what times of day they are likely to be checking their accounts. Make sure you check your Facebook insights tab as well. This will enable you to see not only how many people like your page, but also how many people have clicked on a post (‘engaged users’) and the number of people who have seen your post (the ‘reach’). This gives you useful information to enable you to see what time of day it is best to post (check out which posts had the most ‘reach’ and which posts got the most interest ‘engaged users’).
By Marie Leverett
image by sixninepixel