3 Simple Steps to Help Identify Social Media Best Practice in Your Business

SM-prac
Posted on: in Social Media Marketing The Formula Digital Marketing

Though most business owners know that social media is effective in boosting the SEO (search engine optimisation) of their website, while enhancing engagement with their clients and prospects, many still struggle with the question of ‘what to post’ as well as ‘when to post’ to their social media networks and this is very often a hindrance to their becoming social media active.

The bottom line is that there is no hard and fast rule, or one size fits all approach that can be applied to when and what to post over the various social media platforms available. The perfect approach is something that needs to be specifically refined to cater to the unique needs of your business and your target audience.

Most ‘best practices’ cited by social media experts on the internet, are defined as a result of data gathered from a variety of studies which have been based on the habits of thousands of individuals from across a broad range of professional skills and industries. For this reason, those best practices provide a very basic, generic guide at best, but cannot really offer concrete guidance in terms of the approach that individual businesses should be taking to social media.

Determine your own social media best practice for optimal results!

To determine your own standards of best practice, we recommend that you consider the following factors. Remember that as trends evolve you will need to be flexible to adjust your approach, so be sure to keep an eye on what is working and what isn’t at all times and adjust your methodologies accordingly.

 1. Determine the habits of your audience

As a business owner or marketer, you will typically know the general habits of your client base fairly well, so begin by creating a typical client persona including the internet search, communication and social media habits of your client. Consider the social media platforms that they are most likely to use, as well as the times that they would typically visit these. In addition, make a note of subject matter that you feel will be of real interest to them.

For example:  if your client operates a manufacturing plant, he is more likely to check social media once or a few times a day at break times or at out of office times, whereas someone in sales may be more inclined to check their social media pages more frequently throughout the day. A homemaker will likely check her email, social media and online news once the kids have gone to school and between errands. Where special offers may appeal to one person, news regarding business issues may attract the attention of another.

If you’re really not sure – consider asking your clients to complete a short survey to determine their habits.  Should you need assistance with a survey, contact The Formula to help you. Based on a basic understanding of your client base, we will help you design, distribute and manage a survey to obtain the information that you need.

 2. Understand how each social media platform differs

People engage with either one or a variety of social media platforms to satisfy different needs.

For example: a retiree may engage only on Facebook so that they can keep in touch with children, grandchildren and family or friends overseas, however it is fairly unlikely that such a person will engage on Google+ LinkedIn and Twitter as these platforms won’t offer the social contact that the retiree is seeking.

A young professional on the other hand, will most likely engage on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as well as Pinterest depending on the individual’s interests, whereas a young blue-collar worker may engage with their friends and family using only Facebook and Twitter.

So people use the various available social media platforms for different reasons. You will need to know what would typically motivate your client base to use a particular platform and why they would be inclined to use it.

Here is a basic overview of the typical demographic of the five leading social media platforms:

Facebook –This platform is used by a broad sector of the population including men and women between 25 and 54 years old. Individuals within senior management and executive roles tend not to use Facebook as much as general workers, lower management, homemakers and students do. Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) often realise positive results from their active presence on this platform. For more detailed information regarding the demographics of Facebook users click here.

Twitter – Used for news consumption, users are typically aged between 18 and 45. Twitter users are most active from Monday to Thursday and during key events. Facts, statements and interesting quotations are best received on this platform.

Google+ – This platform is still gaining traction in South Africa and younger professionals within more technology driven fields are more likely to use Google+.  They are active users who post and review content from other users. Longer posts tend to be more popular than they are on Facebook. For more information click here.

LinkedIn – This platform is used mostly by male professional individuals within middle to senior management roles, as well as business owners, industry influencers and thought leaders. The typical age of a LinkedIn user is between 25 and 54. Popular posts include those regarding careers and professional development. Read this article for more information regarding popular LinkedIn Posts.

Pinterest – Popular with women aged between 25 and 34 within the middle to upper income brackets, popular content shared includes food and drink related content as well as family, décor and parenting items.

 3. Testing, Testing 1-2-3

Once you know which social media platforms your audience is most likely to use and you understand when and why they are most likely to use a typical selection, you will find yourself in a far stronger

position to prepare, run and test a variety of approaches to see which ones work best for you. This is the part where you can hone your approach to ensure the best chance at success.

Note that testing should be conducted over the period of at least 1 month to gain a more solid understanding of what your own best practices should be.

Image, text based and link based posts – prepare a range of posts where images, text, links and then humour, special offers, news and inspiring quotations predominate in each. See which posts garner the greatest levels of interest.

Times of the day – send your posts out at a variety of time intervals during the day and record at which times your clients are viewing or engaging with your content the most.

Days of the week – send your posts out on each day initially, to see which days are most popular on each platform.

If it feels as though your tests have provided inconclusive results, we recommend eliminating the least performing posts from consideration and honing future efforts on higher performing posts for a week or two. Repeating this process will help you to more accurately identify what is working for you.

 

Access Custom Statistics

By using a social media management tool such as Hootsuite, you will not only be able to more easily schedule your social media accounts and posts from one convenient location, but you will also be able to access detailed statistical information to help you in determining your own social media best practices.

Social Media Marketing is both an art and a science. If you feel that you would rather leave the legwork to an experienced professional, consider contacting our team at The Formula to help you define and implement a successful social media marketing strategy. Give Garth Dahl or Shiraz Khatib a call on 021 556 5661 or email us: info@theformula.co.za – our consultations are free and we look forward to helping your business grow!





 

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