The What, When and How of Social Media

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Learn what, when and how to post on social media channels for the highest engagement and best results.

With the ever-growing technological interface of our generation, it does not come as a huge surprise that nearly two-thirds of American adults actively maintain social media sites.

The amount of social networking channels have flourished to the point where reaching out to others with your virtual voice isn’t so difficult. The involvement that social media allows from its online users has shown us dramatic changes in politics, news, and healthcare. But perhaps the most pertinent potential of social media is the way it has become an integral part of every business model. It is not uncommon to find a company with a variety of social media handles under their belt. And, learning the best social media practices can prove to be immensely beneficial for both your consumers and business. Critical information including the best time and methods to post on your channel are helpful starting points when it comes to producing quality content strategically aligned for more powerful results.

Read: Most Effective Social Media Platforms for Viral Marketing

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According to HuffingtonPost, the best days to post on Facebook for the highest engagement rates are Thursday and Friday. During the course of a day, Facebook sees the most activity from 9 a.m. through 7 p.m., and more specifically between 1–3 p.m.

Of course, these specific time frames are not fitted for every Facebook page. The differences depend on factors such as the region(s) of interest that you are trying to target, as well as how your audience responds and interacts with the platform. To further understand and customize your brand strategy, simply access your Facebook page insights. Utilizing this feature, you’ll be able to see when your fans are most often online.

For Facebook, the type of content that you post is just as important as the timing. In general, maintaining a high rate of engagement comes from a post’s shareability and accessibility. The objective here is to create content that is quick to understand, and something your target audience is keen to share with their friends and followers. Simple models to execute such as listicles and infographics are both templates that make your brand’s approach easier to digest and share with others.

You might have also noticed the higher rate of sharking when there is an image attached to the post. Selecting photos that showcase your business or product is another great way of grabbing your target audience’s attention.

Read: 10 Rules For Successful Social Media Management

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Twitter is most used during down times between breaks at work or the commute home. It sees the most action from Monday to Friday, at 12 p.m. through 3 p.m. However, HuffingtonPost explains that business-to-consumer engagements generally have their best moments on the weekends and Wednesdays.

For Twitter, an important KPI to measure is your retweets and click-through rates. The shelf life of a single tweet is important to note as well, since it is relatively short-lived and lasts about eight hours max, showing in some feeds for only a few moments. Posting 4–7 tweets a day is a good habit for a business. The consistent flow of tweets and retweets not only ensures your brand’s presence on the social media platform, but also maximizes the chance of your tweets popping up on your followers’ Twitter newsfeeds.

Read: Social Media Best Practices for Small and Medium Business

Image-based content has a 150% increased chance of being retweeted. See a pattern here? Tweets with a short caption and an image attached is a quick way of gaining audience engagement, mostly because your followers don’t need to click-through, or leave their current page in order to retweet.

And of course, what is Twitter without their relevant (and sometimes more hilarious) hashtags? Don’t be afraid to stick a hashtag or two into your caption; tagging specific keywords are an essential tool to start or join in a conversation. A simple trick is to see what hashtags are fresh and trending on the Twitter homepage. Tagging your posts with national and cultural holidays is another fun way to productively interact with followers and contribute towards your brand’s online presence.

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With a user interface of more than 400 million people, it’s fairly easy to understand why businesses are directing their attentions to the photo-sharing channel of Instagram. The network shows activity pretty much at any time from Monday through Thursday — except between 3–4 p.m. The flexibility of Instagram’s best posting time frame is mostly due to its easy accessibility as a mobile app, and their engagement rates continue to outperform any other social site. Consumers are 58X more likely to engage with content on Instagram compared to Facebook, and 120X more likely compared to Twitter. With those statistics, it’s no wonder why marketers and brands love the double-tap app.

As Instagram’s platform suggests, good quality images are what you have to familiarize your brand with. The good news is that engagement within Instagram isn’t very difficult to do. “Liking” photos, leaving comments, and tagging friends are done with a click or two, which inevitably opens up a platform for a highly active audience.

Similar to Twitter, a simple image may catch your followers’ attention initially, but good content producing continues onto the captions under the photos. Add in your own hashtags, explore tags of similar posts, and don’t be afraid to respond to comments. Feedback is always good in social media, and commenting back to your followers will show them that your brand’s Instagram handle isn’t run by an unresponsive bot. Instagram has leniency for a lot of visual inspiration to be made, so make sure you are fully utilizing their highly interactive network to create your business’s voice and vision.

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For sites such as LinkedIn, the best days to post are reportedly Tuesday through Thursday, 10–11 a.m. It is advised that you update your personal LinkedIn profile once a day and company pages at least once a week. Posts from the business’s Twitter and Facebook can be duplicated onto the LinkedIn account, but make sure to change the tone of the posts to something more professional.

In terms of creating an authentic company page, being concise yet informative is the way to go. Once the profile is set, encourage your colleagues to add the company to their own personal pages. Having these connections with your employees will allow them to like, comment, and share any updates your company has to expand your online outreach.

The great thing about creating content on LinkedIn is much like Facebook, there is an analytics page embedded into the page. Use that data to track engagement on the profile’s posts, followers, and trends. Curate, refine, and be consistent to update any new or existing news or information to customize a page that properly fits your business model. Include rich content that help define your brand with charts, infographics, videos, and interactive presentations.

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When it comes to motivating your creative outlet, Pinterest is a great resource for long-term and casual projects or inspirations. While maneuvering Pinterest in both the creation and collection of multiple boards and pins isn’t difficult, it does require some time on its own. There is a process of organizing a board or saving a pin, so it’s fitting that users tend to spend their time on Pinterest during the evening.

The most important thing for businesses trying to connect on Pinterest is visibility. Whether your brand creates a board for travel inspiration, office deco, motivational quotes, or features of your own products/portfolio, getting the Pinterest audience to view and share them is the goal. Like Instagram, take the wide gamut of visual potentials to create a vision and a story for your business. What does your company care about? What are works of similar projects and works that inspire your work model?

Link building via Pinterest is a great SEO practice that works extremely well on the site’s interface. Uploading and complying your own boards and pins gives you a chance to intertwine your brand name into the post. Whether it’s a short article or an introductory infographic, followers who are interested in learning more about your company can easily do so by directly clicking on the post to your website or any other social media handles.

Breaking it Down

When you get the breakdown on social networking sites, you’ll soon realize that most of them follow the same essential rules. Post consistently (but not too much), be creative, and most importantly for your brand identity — utilize the interface to get your company out there and connect personally with your target audience. If done consistently enough, you will not only receive positive rate of feedback from the audience, but a deep company to consumer relationship as well. Diving into the depths of the what, when and how of social media site may be a little intimidating, but the effort produces a great opportunity for both the clients and the business to get to know each other in an intimate way for the ultimate success of social media.