Krystal is a Social Media Expert at Express Writers.
REALITY CHECK! It’s 2016.
If you have a pulse, you’ll know that door-to-door salesmen aren’t around anymore. We’ve all become proverbial Biff Lomans, haven’t we?
And yet, once we follow our dreams and get our businesses up and running… we realize that the old way of doing things is dead. Whenever I see company reps standing on street corners trying to pitch their newest subscription-based products, I wonder what the turnaround is for that.
Don’t they know?
This is the age of social media! It’s faster and more effective to get your message out with RTs and shares than leaving some poor young man dressed in an apron on the street, hawking down college students. (If I sound bitter, it’s because I am. But I digress.)
I’m online. You’re online. Our dads and cousins and people we knew in elementary school are online, consuming products and services and letting their social circles know about awesome experiences they’ve had with company X, Y, and Z.
It’s the age of social advertising, where your customers are your greatest marketing tool. If you have great, shareable content, and know an effective way of pushing it out, the rest of the work is pretty much done for you.
Of course, if it were as simple as that, I wouldn’t need to write this blog post guide for you. Social media is more than just the sum of its parts — you need to know how to manipulate those parts to your advantage.
That means understanding how each social media platform comes into play when you’re trying to reach a specific audience, whether it means changing your tone for that platform or adding/omitting a platform, depending on who you’re trying to reach.
Think about who uses social media in your life. If you’re a social media professional, chances are you use social media in your personal life.
What do people always say? Oh yeah, some complaint about their mom seeing a post they made on Facebook. And do you know why? Moms are on Facebook! (and dads, too.)
From personal experience, my mom got as far as setting up a Twitter account and stopped there. I’m all about using intuition when it comes to social media advertising, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a frame of understanding about each of the top three social media platforms.
Social Advertising Basics 101: How to Get Business Traction, Succeed & Win on Social Media
Let’s start by looking at how to use my three favorite (and the top hottest) platforms to work with as a social media manager: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Organic, real-people-friendly tips here only!
1. How To Succeed On Twitter
It’s true: Twitter is the cool kids’ table
In my private social media presence, Twitter definitely feels like the cool kids’ playground table. Indeed, the majority of Twitter users are from urban areas.
It’s where I hang out with celebs, complain to airlines about my 4 hour delay, and lose my geek mind over social media presences like Arby’s as they make nerdy video game references that touch my very heart and soul.
@penguinrandom this reminds me of RPing in AOL chatrooms in the old days.
— ざわ‥ (@pseudomachine) August 25, 2016
@pseudomachine we find ourselves Rhy’din those waves of nostalgia too sometimes.
— Penguin Random House (@penguinrandom) August 25, 2016
@penguinrandom (that totally made my day, thank you)
— ざわ‥ (@pseudomachine) August 25, 2016
Awesome to see the humans behind the big businesses. (They’re nerds just like me)
Twitter is instant gratification, and instant reach
With the instantaneous nature of gratification and reach in mind, as a marketer, you want to keep some of these same perks in mind when you’re trying to use Twitter to your advantage.
Use Twitter to connect to your industry in a fast and productive way; it’s also an easy way to learn who follows who in what ever niche community you and your business belongs to. Or, you could be playful and engage over businesses and customers in friendly banter. I see it all the time from very well known businesses (especially in the book industry — I’m looking at you and your book banter, Penguin Random House!)
Twitter facilitates fast-paced conversations
But doesn’t Facebook provide the same sort of interaction, you ask? On the contrary! Twitter is like having a conversation, whereas Facebook can sometimes seem more like forum posting. People refer back to Facebook statuses for information and conversation, whereas Twitter is much more fast-paced.
Want to be hot on Twitter? Build your own chat
With Twitter, you can even start your own hashtag chats easily amongst those in the industry, whether it is other companies or customers/fans (or future customers!). Chances are, the followers of the people engaging in your chat are going to take note of those hashtag remarks and may poke their heads into the conversation to see what’s going on. Bam! A new follower of your brand is born.
Join a few chats (we have a list of 25 on Social Media Examiner, and our own #ContentWritingChat hosted by @ExpWriters)—and then consider being a cool brand that starts their own! Want some inspiration? Check out Applebee’s or Corner Bakery Café and see what they’re doing on Twitter—it’s genius.
2. How to Succeed on Facebook
Be about them, not you
Facebook is a different audience and a different culture of communication than Twitter. While Facebook’s user base is largely adults, the volume of user total as a whole is staggering. You want to make use of all of those users out there and be a responsible Facebook poster. That means posting conversationally.
Remember — you want to get your information out there, but you don’t want to sound like a commercial spam bot.
You want to have a conversation with your audience in a singular space, and that’s your status for the day.
Engagement isn’t as high as other platforms
For the most part, businesses don’t respond to comments on their Facebook unless someone has a question or a complaint. It’s a space for customers to engage each other, but I don’t see the same level of interaction with brands on Facebook like I do on Twitter.
3. How to Succeed on Instagram
The newest member of the Social Marketing Band, Instagram is a great way to reach out to your customers if you’ve got great product to show off.
Good visuals go far
Since Instagram is a visual medium, keeping your wording to a minimum on your images is key. Surely, your company name and the name of the product can go on there, but don’t write an essay on your image and expect it to resonate with people. Show off that sexy Mustang concept car! Entice with photo edits of your cupcakes!
Don’t forget filters
What ever it is you’re selling, show it off to the world with an appropriate filter. Black and white can make things look timeless and classy, but if you’ve got something to show off that’s colorful, it stands to reason that you’ll want a filter that’ll bring those colors out without blinding your audience. It’s also a great way to draw attention to a blog post or an event.
Hashtags are key
And don’t forget your hashtags. Instagram helps you figure out which hashtags will actually be helpful to you by telling you how many posts are tagged with the hashtag that you’re trying to use. That’ll help you clean up your post and not have ten hashtags that are worthless on your Instagram. 30 is the max you can add, and anywhere from 15-20 is a sweet spot. PostPlanner has an awesome list of 25 best hashtags here.
No One Likes Ads: Staying Grassroots Could Mean A Bigger Win
Folks, you can do anything with money. Even boost your online presence. All of these platforms have ad service that you can buy into to increase your exposure.
My dead-honest opinion of that is in this day and age, no one likes ads.
Doesn’t matter if it’s your mom or a millennial. As soon as people see that *sponsored* footnote on your post, alarms go off.
That’s not to say that using ad services can’t help you reach a community that you think you’re just not getting exposed to, but I firmly believe in the grassroots approach to social advertising.
That’s creating great content, using your platforms smartly, and engaging with the online community. After all, you can’t put the “social” in “social advertising” without being a bit of a social butterfly.
Remember — you’re not on social media JUST to post about yourself.
What’s going on in your neighborhood? Your city? Your industry? Keep people engaged and thankful for your presence by bringing them into YOUR world. For this reason, I think Twitter is my favorite platform. It allows for the greatest possibility of expanding customer loyalty through social advertising and communication.
While I definitely love Facebook because of its exceptional reachability and the ability to format longer posts, I’ve fallen in love with more businesses through Twitter, both as a user and as a professional.
Don’t be afraid to check out the accounts you love and try to emulate their style — if you can pull it off, and if it makes sense for your business. If you’re selling product to an older age bracket, you might not want to reference Caturday or Sephiroth in your social media posts. Always keep your demographic in mind.
And don’t forget, as always… use images when you can! Instagram is obvious when it comes to this rule, but as far as Twitter and Facebook goes, a catchy image will make your status pop off of someone’s timeline and into their eyeballs. I’m sure there’s a more eloquent way of putting that, but I do enjoy getting right to the point.
Conclusion: Don’t Overdo Your Hashtags
Listen, I’ve had a bit of an awakening when it comes to hashtags. I really don’t like them. I think they’re vital on platforms like Instagram, but Twitter’s and Facebook’s algorithms have changed in such a way that they capture key words without actually needing hashtags. I think having more than one or two hashtags ends up looking pretty tacky and outdated these days. But that’s just me.
What do you think? I’d love your feedback on this one! Let me know in the comments.
For creatively ingenious social media copy and posting, request our social media experts (ask for our amazing Krystal!) in the Content Shop.