Chapter 1

Social Media Channels

"You can never go wrong by investing in communities and the human beings within them.” - Pam Moore, CEO Marketing Nutz

Understanding Facebook

Facebook is like a back-up website for your brand. It is where your consumers can find out more information, stay on top of any news or updates, and also directly engage with you. It is important to have an active marketing strategy for Facebook. That means, understand your Facebook audience and plan content for them. Create a posting schedule that has specific topics for each day.

facebook infographic demographic statistics 2018

Facebook Thrives on Content.

Content is very important on Facebook. It is tough to get quality engagement using organic posting. But that doesn’t mean don’t do it! It just takes time. Post pictures and videos as much as you can! Posts with images get 2.3 times more engagement than those without images. Try your best to post quality photography. Do NOT use stock images on social media. iPhones nowadays have really great cameras. And there are some really good quality photo editing apps that are pretty user-friendly. It is best to have a nice camera or photographer do your photos if you can, you will certainly notice the difference once you start posting professional photography instead of iPhone shots. However, if you have to you can use your phone, just work as hard as you can to learn how to shoot good shots on the phone and properly edit them! It is important to understand what content is working and what is not. Facebook has tools to help you track this data – check out their blog and through their website to learn more about their tools that can help your content.

Know your audience, be active when they're active.

You can research what times are good for posting and for each social media platform. However, you will find dozens of sources tell you dozens of different times of day to find success. The truth is, every brand has a different market that behaves differently. Of course, there are overall standards for timing, such as obviously don’t post in the middle of the night. But timing of your posting is one of the most important factors to high engagement. To learn what times are best for you, do some A/B testing. Keep track of your posting! Use your posting schedule to remain consistent, and each week, switch up the time you post.

For example, Roy’s Rug Shop posts a picture of a new persian rug every Tuesday. But to test what time of day on Tuesday is the best time for engagement, Roy did some A/B testing. First, he did some research and found some great articles that told Roy that the best times to post on Tuesday are 11am, 3pm, and 8pm. So to test this, Roy posted at 11am on Tuesday the first week, 3pm on Tuesday the second week, and 8pm the third week. He did this for 9 weeks. At the end of the 9 weeks, Roy found out that the 3pm posts had double the amount of likes, comments, and shares as the other two times. So now, Roy always posts on Tuesdays at 3pm.

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.

Engagement is very important to Facebook. On your business page, it shows your visitors front and center your response rate and response time. That is referring to your inbox, and if customer service is a part of your business, then this is very important to keep 100% response rate and answer people as quickly as possible. Engagement also refers to comments and likes. You should like every comment that comes on your page, and respond to them if possible. Maintain a consistent brand voice, which you can learn more about on the branding page (LINK).

“Facebook’s casual, friendly environment requires an active social media marketing strategy. Start by creating a Facebook Business Fan Page.  You will want to pay careful attention to layout, as the visual component is a key aspect of the Facebook experience.

Facebook is a place people go to relax and chat with friends, so keep your tone light and friendly. And remember, organic reach on Facebook can be extremely limited, so consider a cost-effective Facebook ad strategy, which can have a big impact on your organic Facebook presence as well!”

Understanding Instagram

59% of internet users between the age of 18-29 use Instagram, and 32% of all internet users are on Instagram. Instagram is a visual platform. Overall, users are a bit younger than Facebook, but not the youngest demographic of social platforms and as the platform continues to grow users so does that average user age. Instagram can be used to reach most target markets. Check out this blog post by Hootsuite, a social media management tool, that will teach you how to set up and properly use your Instagram page. 

Instagram is all about content and consistent engagement. You must build a detailed plan, with specific goals, to release intriguing content, relevant to your brand and target market, in a consistent and timely manner.

instagram infographic demographics 2018 statistics information

Facebook Thrives on Content.

Similar to Facebook (and owned by Facebook), content is key and engagement is your goal. However, Instagram is more content specific. There are no text-only posts, business info, event pages, or other features similar to Facebook’s full scope of engagement. On Instagram, image and video make up all of the content. Make sure your content is relevant to your brand and followers, and high quality by using professional photography, intriguing captions, and trending hashtags. Remain consistent with your imagery.

Use a specific set of filters and photo editing guidelines to remain consistent. Stick to an overall theme. And most importantly, stick to the same few subject matters. Don’t post random content – your viewers should know what kind of content to expect just from reading your Instagram bio.

Know your audience, be active when they're active.

You can research what times are good for posting and for each social media platform. However, you will find dozens of sources tell you dozens of different times of day to find success. The truth is, every brand has a different market that behaves differently. Of course, there are overall standards for timing, such as obviously don’t post in the middle of the night. But timing of your posting is one of the most important factors to high engagement. To learn what times are best for you, do some A/B testing. Keep track of your posting! Use your posting schedule to remain consistent, and each week, switch up the time you post.

For example, Roy’s Rug Shop posts a picture of a new persian rug every Tuesday. But to test what time of day on Tuesday is the best time for engagement, Roy did some A/B testing. First, he did some research and found some great articles that told Roy that the best times to post on Tuesday are 11am, 3pm, and 8pm. So to test this, Roy posted at 11am on Tuesday the first week, 3pm on Tuesday the second week, and 8pm the third week. He did this for 9 weeks. At the end of the 9 weeks, Roy found out that the 3pm posts had double the amount of likes, comments, and shares as the other two times. So now, Roy always posts on Tuesdays at 3pm.

Instagram is all about putting your page in front of users. The algorithm rewards posts and pages that get quality engagement, quickly. The more likes and comments you get in the shorter amount of time will encourage Instagram to feed your content to more users. So how do you get likes and followers? You have to use Instagram… a lot! Dedicate time to engaging. Before and after you make a post, search a hashtag that is relevant to your target market. Scroll through popular posts and recent posts, and like and comment genuine remarks to quality posts. Every like and comment sends a notification to those users of your page, and there is a good chance they will click on the notification and view your profile.

There are services that offer automated engagement for your profile. While they can be helpful to gain a large number of followers in a short amount of time, we never recommend using these services. They can be harmful to your brand. It will attract spammy engagement to your profile, fake followers (bots), and it’s often very obvious to users that the engagement is fake, which is not an attractive quality. Have you ever noticed when random pages will comment on your post with like, a thumbs up emoji, or something like “this picture is awesome!” before? Those are pages that have automated their engagement. Meaning, a bot made that comment.

There are other forms of bots on instagram. There are services that will sell “followers” and “likes” for typically very cheap prices. We definitely recommend never using these services. Fake followers and likes are completely pointless. It is very obvious to users, and to Instagram. And soon, your content will stop appearing in users feeds and appear only to bots. Also, all of the accounts that follow you will all be deleted within a few months, and you will rapidly lose all of those fake followers. Again, we highly recommend that you DO NOT use services that offer any type of fake or automated services to boost your Instagram numbers.

The last type of engagement is the direct messaging feature. While the direct message feature on Facebook is very important since Facebook advertises your response rates on your page, the Instagram message feature is not as much of a priority. Keep your notifications on and try to respond to your users if you can, but no pressure to do so. Use this feature for reaching out to users directly. Engage with your most active followers, or use it to ask for permission when wanting to repost someone else’s content. Reposting is a great way to find additional content to post. Use third party “reposting” applications to copy their image and repost in Instagram. However, always ask permission of the original poster before doing so.

Instagram Stories was introduced less than two years ago, November of 2016, and essentially copied what Snachat had already been doing. However, it didn’t take long for Instagram to dominate Snapchat with their own feature. Instagram Stories allows users to upload pictures, videos, or gifs to a live dashboard.

Users can edit their photos and videos before posting within the app with multiple features including text boxes, icons, drawings, filters, and more.

Other users can view your story on the live story dashboard within the app. Instagram Live has been unanimously the most user-friendly platform with this feature. Here’s what that looks like on Instagram: (NEEDS IMAGE HERE)

While hashtags are not that much of a factor on Facebook, Instagram’s foundation is hashtags. Hashtags are how users find new content related to their interests. It is how content stays connected throughout the network over time. Check out RiteTag and services like it that sort and rank hashtags based on popularity. Make a bank of hashtags in an excel or google sheets file to pull from when posting, and categorize them by the type of post. Make sure your hashtags are relevant to your post! Search each hashtag on Instagram or a third party application to ensure that they are popular, frequently used hashtags. Using some long, made up, or irrelevant hashtag one or two times is pointless. Use popular hashtags, and create a few hashtags for your original content and keep using those same hashtags over time. Eventually, your users will recognize that hashtag as your brand and begin sharing your content in the same manner, expanding your network. “A Sprout Social customer survey discovered when brands share irrelevant information, 41% of people tend to unfollow the company on social. This insight is important to any organization’s bottom line, especially since 57% of consumers are more likely to purchase something from a brand they follow and 75% have made a purchase because of social.”

There are also hashtags that are popular at certain times. Use relevant seasonal hashtags of course, but more importantly stay up to date on popular daily hashtags. There is some social media “national day” every single day, typically even multiple per day. For example, August 19th is “national soft ice cream day,” and August 20th is “national radio day.” While these holidays are often silly, many times you will find that they relate somehow with your brand or content. When it does, make a post with something relevant to it, and use the hashtag for that day. It will generate much more engagement than typical hashtags. Check out this calendar of social media national days.

If you want to grow your number of followers, you must abide by the standard practices of Instagram. That means, the basic principles you will read and hear over and over again – relevant content, hashtags, engagement – pretty much what you just read here. You will find countless articles titled something like, “Get 10,000 followers in 1 month” and they will number or list the same few basic operational tips we’ve discussed here. It can be helpful to further your research and learn more tips success, but stay away from those clickbait articles you will certainly find.

In closing, post often on Instagram, and maintain a consistent frequency. You don’t want to post too much and annoy your followers, but posting once a day is a good practice for your online presence. You can post some of the same content on Instagram as you do Facebook, but try to mix it up, and learn which posts belong on which platform by becoming familiar with their contents. 

Understanding Twitter

Twitter is a very different platform from Facebook or Instagram. Twitter content promotes text heavier than most other platforms and pairs text with the images and post engagement has short duration. It’s more like the disheveled, additional aspects of your brand, that would sort of put the whole picture together when next to the more fundamental aspects that can be found on Facebook and. Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images according to HubSpot.

While Twitter can be useful in many cases for many brands, it isn’t usually a must have. Most importantly because Twitter users don’t often follow brands or businesses on Twitter. They typically follow friends, celebrities, and influencers. This can make it a great place to do a different type of social media marketing of influencer marketing. People listen to opinions on Twitter.

A second reason we typically don’t often recommend Twitter unless it is necessary, is because the users are quite needy, and also typically more opinionated. According to Hubspot,  78% of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour. You also can’t rely on hashtags to guarantee views and engagement like you can on Instagram. According to a study by Locowise, adding hashtags has no effect on engagement rates. Tweets without hashtags actually typically outperform tweets with hashtags. 

We believe Twitter is only necessary if you have an established brand, with a large amount of exposure and social media following – And if you are in a customer service type of industry. If you don’t fall into that category, don’t stress too much over Twitter. While it is currently producing all-time high user numbers and market share, competing closely with Reddit currently for number 3 preferred social media platform in the United States, the users don’t engage much with brands, and they don’t have much good to say.

If you feel you do need a Twitter, check out the following post from Business News Daily that walks you through setting up and optimizing your profile.

Setting up Twitter for Buisness

There are five parts to a Twitter profile – your Twitter handle, profile picture, bio, header image and pinned tweet. All these elements should work cohesively to create an accurate representation of your business.

Your username, or Twitter handle, is your @name and is your identifier on Twitter. It can have up to 15 characters. It should help people find your business easily. Your profile photo should visually represent your business and brand. Your profile photo is displayed on your profile and is the icon displayed in every tweet you post.

For your bio, you have 160 characters to describe your business and include information about your business. You can include information such as your location, business hours or a link to your website. Your header image is behind your profile picture and can be used to highlight promotions, events or news about your business.

Lastly, your pinned tweet is the first tweet people see when they visit your profile. You can change your pinned tweet whenever you want.

Understanding Pinterest

Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media marketing trends. Pinterest’s image-centered platform is ideal for retail, but anyone can benefit from using Pinterest for social media purposes or sales-driving ads.

Pinterest allows businesses to showcase their product offerings while also developing brand personality with eye-catching, unique pinboards. When developing your Pinterest strategy, remember that the social network’s primary audience is female. If that’s your demographic, you need a presence on Pinterest!”

Understanding Google+

RIP, TG.

Understanding YouTube

Social media platform, search engine, video library, music library – what isn’t YouTube? While it isn’t the most necessary application for social media, it is in fact a social media platform, and if used properly, can be hugely impactful for your brand, SEO, online presence, credibility, and more. “YouTube is one of the most effective tools for shaping a personal brand for members of the young generation.” [Mateusz Grzesiak Personal Brand Creation in the Digital Age]

Up Next:
Chapter 2: Content Creation