The world of marketing is much more fragmented than it was a decade ago In addition to the rise of digital advertising—which often favors companies with the deepest pockets—there’s another important medium that’s completely free: social media. Because it doesn’t cost anything to post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other online gathering places, social media can be a critical equalizer for small businesses.
In this blog series, we’re going to look at how small businesses can use social media to engage with people; develop their brand identity; establish personality and expertise, and advertise the kinds of sales and promotions that trigger conversions. In this post, we take a look at the best strategies for building engagement on social media.
Post the Right Amount
In order to successfully engage with future customers through social media, you’ll need to understand the pace, rhythm, and etiquette for each platform. Put more concisely, you need to know how many times to post on each platform. Post too much on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and you’ll flood people’s newsfeeds, causing them to unfollow and unlike you. Post too little, on the other hand, and you risk getting buried in the noise, rendering yourself irrelevant.
The key here is finding that “just right,” Goldilocks number of posts. For Facebook, experts say that’s between one and two times a day. Businesses that engage through Twitter, on the other hand, should expect to tweet three to 10 times a day. Social media professionals suggest posting on Instagram just once a day. Entrepreneurs on Instagram should be striving to capture that perfect, eye-catching image that communicates something powerful and exciting about their brand. If you can do that successfully, getting it across once a day is enough.
Know the Best Times of Day to Post
It’s not sufficient to know the ideal number of times you should be posting on the various social media platforms. You may also want to do your best to post during the times of day when those platforms are the most active. Sending a carefully crafted post on a Sunday night, for example, it will quietly slip into the churn of the newsfeed and nobody will see it. You want to maximize visibility for the tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagram photos that you put time, effort, and thought into creating.
For most social media platforms, that means posting between 9am and 4pm. Hitting the engagement sweet spot is especially important for Facebook and Instagram (because businesses can post up to 10 times a day on Twitter, timing isn’t as crucial). Entrepreneurs want their photos and messages to hit users’ news feeds when they’re most active on those platforms. Small businesses interested in even greater specificity should consult professional social media sites. They provide charts that illustrate engagement levels throughout the week.
Check out more trends in small business management to keep you ahead of the curve!
Display Wit, Warmth, and Humor
Small businesses must strike a very difficult balance on social media platforms. While they have to make it clear that they are, in fact, a company showing off their products and services, they also don’t want to come across as shamelessly advertising. The key here is to use the coin of the realm on social media: wit, warmth, and humor. Find interesting, creative ways to discuss what your business offers. Use puns, plays on words, and double entendres to accompany photos.
Display heart when and where you can, too. Coming across as warm and authentic can go a long way in quieting the skepticism people might have about engaging with businesses. Facebook is an especially good platform to show kind-hearted principles. Most users visit the platform to maintain bonds over time and share their lives with friends and family. If you can find ways to incorporate those same elements in your posts—friends, family, and staying in touch—you’ll put yourself in a stronger position to be seen.
It’s no secret that posts that include photos create much more engagement than text alone. But the actual statistics can be staggering for those unfamiliar with the virtues of using images on social media. According to Smart Bird Social, posts that include images create 650% more engagement than those that only include text. If you want to seize hold of users’ fickle, darting attention, show them captivating images. While that rule goes without saying on Instagram, the same logic applies to Facebook and Twitter. Those platforms are stuffed with reams of little text boxes. Users scroll through so many blocks of text on their news feeds every day that it can all become pretty indistinguishable.
If you want to set yourself apart from that infinite mass of text, find colorful, intriguing images that say something about your brand. It could be a photo of a new offering, work you’ve done you’re particularly proud of, or a behind-the-scenes shot that adds depth and substance to your business. And remember: for social media users, those images don’t just represent your brand; they are your brand. You always want them to look professional and polished.
Service businesses that want to streamline their operations and make the jump to digital processes should explore WHERK. A new software platform developed specifically for small businesses in service industries, WHERK offers a range of practical functionalities. These include personnel tracking, custom reporting with data visualizations, automatic invoicing, a built-in customer manager, and mobile compatibility for your on-the-go workforce. Visit the WHERK website to learn more.