11 Tips for Effective Updates on Social Networks
Today’s guest post is by Ekaterina Walter, author of “Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg” and is a part of our “Digital Experts” guest post series.
Ekaterina is Social Innovator at Intel and a recognized business and marketing thought leader. She is a speaker and a regular contributor to Mashable, Fast Company, Huffington Post, and other leading-edge print and online publications and has been featured in Forbes and BusinessReviewUSA and was named among 25 Women Who Rock Social Media in 2012. (and she does!)
She also sits on a Board of Directors of Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), is an active member of the Thunderbird Global Council at Thunderbird School of Global Management and publishes the highly successful and much loved Paper.li, “The Social Media News“.
In this post Ekaterina shares her tips and advice for getting the most out of your updates on Facebook and across all social networks.
Building your communities is hard, but it is even harder to engaging communities with meaningful conversations. Below are some tips that might help you with effective daily engagement.
- Humanize your voice. Though you need to be mindful of the consistency of your brand voice, it doesn’t mean that it has to sound “corporate”. This is a community of people, not a platform for broadcasting the PR messages, so address your fans as they were your friends. Remember, the biggest ROI of your communities is in humanizing your brand. So humanize your voice as well.
- Do not automate your posts. This is a unique community of people, so manage it like one. Put in an effort to customize every single one of your posts. As you manage the community for a while, you will know what its members like or dislike, what language they use and how they react to certain messages. Use that knowledge in customizing your posts. I know that feeding the same message to multiple networks saves time, but if you want your fans to engage with you, respect them and show them you care and they will respond in kind. You may post the same message on multiple networks, but use specific identifiers or symbol on the appropriate networks. For example, the hashtags that are intended for Twitter use only, shouldn’t be used on Facebook. Also, if your content is mostly made up of blog posts fed automatically into your Facebook page; don’t expect your community to engage with you.
- Adjust your content strategy as you go. Besides being a part of the community and hoping to get discounts on your products, information is one of the most important reasons why your customers become your fans on Facebook. So add stickiness to your page through great content. Use 80/20 rule: 80% of status updates should provide value to the fan and 20% can be around your products or services.
- Keep your status updates short. Even though Facebook increased the maximum number of characters for the original post from 420 to 63,206, you shouldn’t by any means try to use all of them. A study by Buddy Media showed that posts 80 characters or less in length receive 27% higher engagement rates. On Twitter don’t use all 140 characters either. If you want to be retweeted more, leave the room for others’ Twitter handles if they prefer old-style retweets or want to add their own thoughts.
- Post frequency and timing. Every brand is different, but normally posting once a day 5-7 times a week works rather well. By posting too much you risk alienating your fans, but not posting enough, you lose your reach. Same study by comScore and Facebook found that each incremental day of publishing increases the reach among fans by approximately 2.5%. So my recommendation is to post 7 days a week. Twitter is slightly different. Because of Twitter’s real-time nature I actually recommend posting some of your critical content several times a week to ensure different people see it during different times a day – that will increase the exposure and the number of retweets you will get. But don’t overdo it. When you send several tweets with the same link or call-to-action, try to offer a new twist on your copy or offer each time.
- Target your status updates. This mostly applies to Facebook. If you are a global brand and you have fans in multiple countries, use target by country feature to spread the word about your local campaigns. Not only your local fans will appreciate it, targeted post will not raise “Why is this campaign not available in my geography?” questions that you often get on your global page.
- Your landing experience – first impression counts. Make sure your page has clear branding and where possible relevant call to action. Change the look of your main page every now and then (for example, on Facebook switch the cover image often to reflect the most recent events or programs). On Twitter, make sure your profile stands out and your bio includes all of the appropriate information you want to communicate out. Don’t forget to cross-promote your website/blog and your other social properties.
- Moderation guidelines. It doesn’t matter which community you manage, make sure it has clear House Rules or moderation guidelines. You should specify how you will manage your community, what to expect and which posts you will absolutely not tolerate (abusive, insulting, illegal, etc). Always be prepared in case you’ll have to refer your rowdy customers back to your guidelines. Specify what your response timing is, so your customers are not upset if you not able to address inquiries immediately.
- Editorial calendar. If you have multiple administrators of your page, make sure you have clear editorial calendar that states what will be posted, when and by whom.
- Exclusive content. Make sure you offer your fans some exclusive content. This is a valuable and special community; they deserve to be treated as such. Provide sneak peeks just for your Facebook community, run promotions just for them on Twitter, livestream exclusive events and offer exclusive expert chats. Make it worth their while to stick around. Fan of the Week programs have been successful for a number of brands on Facebook – give it a try.
- Create traditions. DKNY is a good example. One of the ways DKNY connects with its followers on Twitter is through regular chats around weekly viewing of the popular show Gossip Girl. The brand created a #GG hashtag and comments the episode in real time along with their followers who are fans of the show.
Want more great tips? Pre-order “Think Like Zuck” — the book is brilliant and filled practical and actionable advice. Order it today and Ekaterina will send you a free copy of her 100-page e-book “Social DNA – Becoming a Social Business: a practical guide to social media adoption within any organization”. I highly recommend them both!
Have tips, advice or best practices that have worked for you? Share them below.