Wow. What an overwhelming experience it is to work with social media from a business perspective. When I was first approached with the opportunity to manage the majority of our social media pages and a Pinterest page for one of our partners, I thought to myself “No problem! I use social media literally everyday. What’s a couple more pages to look after”. I definitely bit off more than I can chew with this one…
Let’s compare the differences between the two uses for social media. Some of the things you would catch me doing while browsing on a social media site like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter could include one of the following.
Connecting with family & friends
This could mean one of many things. Simply conversing with your classmate about last weeks exam, or talking to your parents about what’s for dinner. It could be collaborating in a group conversation between your friends to discuss what weekend would be ideal for the group to go camping.
Ever found a relative on Facebook that you didn’t even know had Facebook and you haven’t talked to in eons? It happens. Then you’re stuck in a “seems like forever” conversation with them, exchanging phone numbers, sharing family members Facebook information and basically getting him/her back into the family loop. Sounds like fun.
Sharing your interests & expressing your thoughts
Write a quote, give your two cents on an article, post a picture with some meaning behind it. We’ve all done it. It seems like a daily task for most people to post on their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram feed. You expect people to reply or share a similar interest and give their personal thoughts on the content you just shared. That’s why you posted it, right?
I’ve always tried to be careful with what I post on social media. Staying away from touchy subjects, topics, and ideas I know would offend a significant amount of my friends. Only because I don’t want a hundred notifications from so and so having a heated argument with another friend on a post of mine.
Let’s discuss social media for business and what you’re expected to do being a businessman/woman who “sits on their laptop all day”. Of course that’s how most people see you on the outside, but on the inside you’re a sleep deprived business person who’s stress levels are exponentially growing while you’ve been staring at a computer screen for 10+ hours a day. Close enough?
“So what is it that you exactly do for your business in regards to browsing social media sites all day?”
I won’t list off all the tasks and ideas we do on a daily basis, but I will go over the main ones which I find incredibly important to anyone in the social business.
In a nut shell, it’s defined as measuring and collecting data for anything you want on your page.
Most, or even all businesses will track metrics in some shape or form generally to measure any return on your investments (ROI). The data you collect can come in two ways.
Based around the concept of approximation and characterization, but doesn’t measure the attributes, characteristics, or properties of the measurements you’re tracking on your social media page. You can think of qualitative data as being a descriptive data source which relates to the collection of such examples like colours, textures, smells, tastes, appearances, etc…
The defined data source of the two. This data is able to be verified with reference to its measurements where as qualitative is just an approximation or description of what you were tracking. Some examples quantitative data would track could be volume, time, speed, cost, members, ages, etc…
An easy way to describe the two data sources is to put it into perspective.
You have painting that’s hung on the wall. The qualitative data for it would be that it has a brown frame, it’s painted with blues, greens, and whites. It gives a peaceful feeling when looking at it. The quantitative data looks at certain details such as the frame is 14” by 18” and the picture itself is 10” by 14”. It weighs 8.245 lbs and it costs $1200.
Now that you have an understanding of what kind of data you can collect, you really have to think about what is it that you want to track from your social media site? What can you collect data for that will help you improve your page and return the best outcome on your investments.
Followers / Growth
Generally speaking, most businesses will track this regardless if it’s any benefit to their ROI or conversion rates. It’s satisfying to see your pages organic growth rise and the number of unique visitors that have reached your page. This metric ends up just being a number to look at and to track either weekly or bi-weekly depending on how much traffic is being pushed to your web page.
This is huge. You want your audience to be interactive with your posts. That’s what gets more users coming back to your page and commenting/sharing/liking your content. There’s two definitive types of users that can be found on the internet. You have your “White Hat” followers and your “Black Hat” followers. White Hats are organically grown, real people who interact with your account on a personal level and provide a great amount of user engagement. Black Hats are your typical spammy, fake bot accounts who may follow you, but will message you with ‘deals’ or not even interact at all. A large following audience is nice, but user engagement is much more important in the long run.
Optimal Posting Times
Every social media site has different times of the day where it will have the most interaction between users. Of course you’re able to post a status at anytime of the day, but is that really when your audience is listening? You want to be active on your pages when the majority of your audience is active. This infographic from QuickSprout shows all the different optimal times that your business should be posting at to receive the most engagement. There are certain tools that work with finding the right time for you to post to your specific niche or audience, be sure to take advantage of them.
Hashtags are a fantastic way to outsource your post and get new people to notice that your account is out there. Is there a limit on how many hashtags you can use? Technically no, but the character limit per post usually determines how many hashtags you can fit into your content. Having too many hashtags makes your post seem too congested and un-professional. You’re really just fishing for new followers and not caring about the quality of your post. Make the hashtags relevant to your content. Search for popular hashtags that are in your niche and try to include those if they make sense with your post. Using 5-8 is a reasonable amount to use in a single post, but it all depends on what social media site you’re sharing your content on. Instagram encourages the use of more hashtags, as it’s the primary form of connecting with others on the “Explore” page but with others it can be considered spammy. So be careful!
Certain content will be more successful than others, it’s inevitable. But you can get the upper hand by following a guideline when creating a post by choosing a certain content type and it will have a higher chance of getting shared and have more user engagement. At Hub spot, they’ve come up with the idea of five different content types:
How to: Relative to certain posts such as DIY, or introduces a problem to the reader. It’ll offer a solution and then go into detail about each step to get to the solution.
Lists: Basically what they sound like. A list will focus on one topic, describe a number of points about that topic, and then sum up the list with a conclusion of some sort.
What-posts: These go into much further detail on a specified topic. Think of it like a research topic with lots of references and sources. Comparisons with articles is seen in almost all what-posts.
Why-posts: Reason/purpose driven posts. These normally provide details about a specific topic that heavily structure and support a focused conclusion. If you’re going to write a why-post make sure you have back up to all your reasoning. You can never have enough ammunition when it comes to this content type.
Videos: A great alternative to text based content posts. Posting a video once in awhile is always a great refresher to your following as it provides your audience with a visual representation of a topic discussed.
All in all, social business is an eye opener for anyone that has never experienced it from both sides of the spectrum. The ability to generate revenue from a social media site like Facebook or Instagram is on the rise in popularity and many start up companies look towards social media as their first line of attack into the marketing and business world. It opens incredible amounts of opportunities and gets the word out that your business is alive and has a heartbeat. As a business, what did you do to get your name out in the world and open the exposure to your company?