Creating content and getting that content seen are two very different struggles, and marketers know both all too well. Social media has only increased the complexity of these processes, by adding a series of essential channels, each with its own audiences and content types.
Standing out on social media and getting your content seen and shared takes effort and dedication. But with a few key best practices, social media success is within the reach of anyone.
Below we explore seven best practices for sharing content across social networks and maximizing your reach and engagement.
Sign up today for Hootsuite Academy, Hootsuite’s free social media education platform, for a more in-depth look at best practices for sharing on each major social network.
A strong headline or message is key to grabbing people’s attention
Everyone knows the importance of the headline or social media message when it comes to getting clicks and shares. At the same time, people seem to forget that finding the right headline takes time. Don’t fall back on click-baity formats you think will draw clicks. You need to strike a balance between being clear, and being emotionally evocative. The worst thing you can do is get someone to click on your message and send them to content that doesn’t deliver.
Make sure you take the time to brainstorm a few variations of the copy. Once you’ve established multiple good options, you can then test your messaging. Try pushing the same content with different messages and track what performs. Get to know what kinds of messaging work best with your audience, but never stop testing.
When sharing the same piece of content across multiple networks, optimize it for each one
We understand the urge to simply post the same message to five different social networks all at once. It’s such a time saver, and the content is good, right? The truth is, while posting the same thing to multiple networks isn’t the end of the world, you’re also not giving your content its best opportunity for success.
Each social network is unique in many ways, and your content should reflect those intricacies. Twitter messages are restricted to 140 characters or less, but your Facebook audience might expect a little more substance. Your audience may check their Instagram feeds after work and their Pinterest feeds in the morning. You really can’t throw paint at the wall and hope it sticks. You need to test, and treat all of your audiences with the same degree of attention and respect.
Vary your content regularly
Many of us fall into a rhythm on social media. We find things that work well and they become second nature. As much as you might think this is a positive, everything could change in an instant. People get bored, or their interests change, and suddenly your followers become less engaged. It falls on you to keep up.
With that in mind, you should regularly be switching up your content. You can’t only post a blog post with one style of image and one style of messaging day-in and day-out. We all know visuals increase engagement, but try a gif or a video instead of a static image. Try asking people questions or pushing them to polls instead of your regular content updates. The important thing is that you’re monitoring your audience and general internet trends, and that you’re flexible enough to adjust as needed.
Don’t post too many updates at once
We’ve all experienced it before. You open up a social network and see a stream of five or six updates for one person or brand. Regardless of the content, this kind of ‘stream take-over’ is usually pretty annoying. If you think I’m going to click the sixth link in your stream of nine messages, you’re sadly mistaken.
Don’t post too many updates at once. Instead, make each message you send substantive and important in its own right. Usually, if you need 10 Tweets to get your message across, you’re probably doing it wrong.
Keep your social media publishing to a schedule. A social media management tool allows you to schedule messages in advance so you’re not a slave to your calendar. Doing so helps you ensure you’re posting at regular intervals rather than in bursts. Once people learn your schedule, they’ll start checking in when they can expect new content from you, building a certain degree of loyalty. This will in turn increase your click-through and engagement.
End your post with a clear call-to-action
So your followers have seen your message, now what? None of us want our interactions to end there. Social media serves to support broader business goals, so your messages should ultimately be tied to a larger purpose beyond being seen or liked.
With that in mind, end your social posts with a strong call-to-action. Examples of good social media CTAs include:
- Offering up more information on the topic in a blog post or resource
- Encouraging them to sign up for a free trial of your product
- Asking them to use a special social media code for a discount in store
- Offering the potential of a prize for a specific action, like following and sharing
Keep self-promotional content at around one-third
While your audience follows you because they’re interested in your products and services, they don’t want to hear the sales spiel day after day after day. Focus instead on building rapport and loyalty instead of constantly pushing product. You’ll find this will pay dividends over the long haul.]
If you’re unsure about how much salesly content to share, we try and follow what we call the social media rule of thirds, which dictates that a maximum of one-third of your social content directly works to promote your business, convert readers, and generate profit. The other two-thirds should focus on providing value and keeping people coming back.
Encourage employees to share your content
Finally, if you work at a business with colleagues who use social media personally (read: every business), than don’t be afraid to ask them for support. Encouraging employees to share your content is an effective way of magnifying brand messaging without spending too much time talking about yourself on corporate accounts.
It’s not always easy to convince your colleagues to share business content on personal accounts. You need to be courteous, show them how it benefits them and the business, and also make it easy for them to do, with a tool like Hootsuite Amplify to help.
While there are many other elements to consider in regards to your content strategy, these best practices are a great starting point on your way to social media success.
For more insights like these, sign up for Hootsuite Academy for free today.