You are probably familiar with some of the general rules for social media. You know better than to push out promotional messages 24/7. And you have also heard that it is considered a bad idea to post the same exact thing on every single channel. When you do that, it is clear that your social media “strategy” is pure automation which will have people wondering if there is a real person hidden there somewhere. Of course you know too that it is important to engage with people across channels. With some of the basic “rules” laid out, let’s dig in and look at some tips for the tough part: developing and creating content for each of these channels.
There seems to be a new channel popping up every day. Once you master a channel, you then hear about the next big thing that you have to go and learn. In this post, we will focus on the three most people are familiar with: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Let’s start with Facebook.
Clearly the big one when it comes to social media, Facebook has more than 1.3 billion users so it is the one channel that has the attention of most brands. The great thing about content for Facebook is the number of ways you can distribute it. You can have a poll, links and photos, with new features coming all the time. Facebook is the place where people can have a little more fun and show a lighter side – as long as it still fits within the guidelines of your brand. Tell a story. Make people laugh. People seek entertainment when they are surfing on Facebook.
Although the user base on Twitter is much smaller than Facebook, there is no doubt Twitter is a leader when it comes to the sheer amount of content shared. This is the channel where it is especially important to be relevant and concise. People go to Twitter for real time updates and they want it quick. Although you can link out to sections on your site in your tweets, you still need to have the gist of your message in the tweet. And if you do link somewhere, do not pull a bait and switch! You need to make sure that clicking on the link has additional information pertaining to what was mentioned in the tweet. It is definitely not the time to throw in something about a random promotion. Think of your tweets as similar to headlines people see in the news.
Considered the network for business professionals, content on LinkedIn may be a bit more formal than the other channels. On LinkedIn it is more appropriate to have in-depth pieces, such as white papers that would not work as well on Facebook or Twitter. There is also the option to create longer content with LinkedIn’s “long form publishing” that is open to everyone on the network – not just influencers. You can be a helpful participant on this channel by sharing industry trends that are good to know for prospects. It demonstrates your knowledge as a leader in your particular field. If you are participating in groups (which you should be), you can get feedback on ideas from other professionals in your industry.
A general strategy across channels is to think about how you personally respond when you use social media. When an acquaintance posts something on a channel that is completely promotional, you are probably going to ignore it. It is someone you do not know well, and therefore, do not feel the need to like, share, or engage in any way with what was posted – regardless of channel. Now if that same person posts a funny picture about something you can relate to, such as the upcoming Christmas season, which may get your attention as well as your engagement.
It is important to think about social media the same way when you are posting as your brand. Quite simply, you want to show that you too are human and can appreciate a funny picture. The Christmas example given above is something that impacts everyone regardless of whether or not they celebrate it. There are paid days off from work and crazy things happening in the retail world. A funny picture about Christmas is timely regardless of your personal opinion on Christmas.
As a business, your ultimate goal in using social media is obviously to generate revenue at some point in the cycle. Regardless of channel, you can still sell – sort of. For example, a retailer may link to its women’s clothing page after sharing five fashion trends for the season. Or a service professional may offer a “how-to” for do-it-yourselfers with a link to its site when it is time to call a professional. While you are looking to increase sales, never forget the relational side of social media and incorporate some of these strategies when you are creating content for your social media channels.