A Practical Guide to Social Media Marketing for Business
Today we will be exploring social media marketing for Business owners. Come along with me on this adventure, as we discuss LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Did you know that thanks to the new communities feature, Pinterest is now not just a visual search engine but a social media platform too!
I digress, I’m just super excited about the new Pinterest communities. You can join my little community here.
Are you a data dweeb? (I am!) I will be sharing some recent data from 2018 so that we can make informed decisions regarding social media platforms and content shared within them. Within this post, I won’t be discussing the technical set up processes, more so, how to make better decisions regarding our platform choices/posting schedules etc.
I have also gathered together information relating to ideas of what to post and the optimum times to post content on each platform.
Each social media platform will be broken down into the following sections:
- User Statistics
- Posting Strategy
- Key Features
- Post Ideas
- Top Tips
Social Media Marketing for Business 101
I thought we could start by exploring the commonalities of each platform before we look at the differences. Although they are all different entities, our chosen social media platforms do share some important common ground. By fully understanding the following points, it is possible to streamline your social strategy.
What does each platform have in common?
Know your Brand & Building a Strong Foundation
Do you have a clear brand focus? Be extremely CLEAR about your target audience in relation to your brand. Think of it this way, it doesn’t matter if you know how/where to find people if you don’t know WHO you are looking for.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What are your goals?
- What is your over all mission?
- Who is your ideal customer?
When you are clear about these factors you can build a strong foundation to build your social media strategy upon. I will reiterate; understanding your brand and ideal customer means you can choose the most appropriate social media platforms to achieve your business goals.
This is especially important if you are hoping to outsource your social media management. How can you expect someone to manage your brand, if you don’t know what the focus is?
Once you have a clear brand focus, you can head towards a uniformed presence throughout your social media. By the way, uniform doesn’t mean remove your personality. I’m talking banner, profile images and about sections that are clearly identified as YOUR brand. Think of these sections as your ‘shop front.’ Potential customers need to be sure about what you offer.
Staying Consistent with your Content
The story or message of your content also needs to remain consistent with your brand. This means posting consistently too. A great rule of thumb is 80:20. This means 80% of your social media activity should be focused towards interaction with your audience – sharing external content and engaging with your audience in the comments section. This leaves 20% remaining for business promotion.
Managing your social media doesn’t have to be difficult though. You can ‘batch’ content by planning in advance and using a content (or editorial) calendar. This doesn’t have to be anything super fancy. It can be as simple as a good old-fashioned diary or notebook. You could even link this planning process in with your bullet journal!
Shameless plug time – Buy my notebooks 😉
The point of keeping a content calendar is to know what’s coming up in advance. You can plan in your promotions or pick a key focus for each month and then break this down into smaller steps weekly.
I like to stay abreast of upcoming awareness days to make sure posts go out for these. I have put together a list for the rest of 2018 make this process easier. You can check the list out here.
Social Media Scheduling
Social media scheduling is the practice of formulating social media posts in advance and scheduling them to go ‘live’ on a certain date and time. Although at the time of scheduling, the process can be quite time consuming, it is a great relief in the long run. It means that when you are on social media you can spend time BEING SOCIAL aka ENGAGING with people. Which is the fun part!
This also means that you can make sure you are posting during the optimum times for each platform – more on that later. Plus, if you have a worldwide demographic, you can still post when your audience is awake – even if you are asleep!!
There are numerous social media scheduling platforms that can be accessed for FREE. Woo! Who doesn’t love free?!
For this post … because we have so much more to cover. I will chuck a few of the most known ones your way:
I have a few previous posts regarding this. For a more in depth look please check them out.
Visual media works especially well across ALL platforms. By this I mean videos, pictures, giffs and infographics to name a few. I use Canva and Pic Monkey to create graphics as they already have correctly sized social media templates.
- Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images. (Source)
- Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images. (Source)
It’s hard to argue with those kind of figures! You get the idea!
A hashtag starts with the # symbol and is followed by a word or words without spaces. They are used on social media to group subjects together and make content easily searchable by those interested in a specific topic.
Each of the social media platforms we are discussing today allows for the use of hashtags. However, ‘the rules’ for use, and how effective they are, differ between platforms. I will include the recommended practice for each, within the relevant section below.
Include Call to Actions
Don’t be scared to include clear call to actions. If you are sharing something, ask (politely of course) for shares, likes or comments from your followers. If you are sharing an article or blog post, ask your followers to read and comment or simply share. If you don’t give a clear and concise call to action, people will just keep scrolling.
LinkedIn is a social networking site designed specifically for the business community. The goal of the site is to allow registered members to establish and document networks of people they know and trust professionally.
- Total Number of LinkedIn Users: 562 million – Last updated: 9/18/18
- Total Number of Monthly Active LinkedIn Users: 260 million – Last updated: 9/18/18
- 44 percent of LinkedIn users are female, compared to 56 percent who are male.
- Almost a quarter of LinkedIn users are aged 18 to 29.
- 30 to 64 years old—61 percent of LinkedIn users fall within this age group.
- 21 percent of LinkedIn users are over the age of 65.
Hashtags used to be somewhat frowned upon on LinkedIn, however now they are more commonly used. They are great to include at the end of LinkedIn articles.
Posting on LinkedIn
- Best times: 7-8.30am / 5-6pm
- Best day(s): Tuesday – Thursdays
- How often: A few times a week
- LinkedIn groups
- Article feature
- Corporate audience
- Write and post an article with information relevant to your industry
- Share someone else’s article to your newsfeed
- Engage with and comment in relevant LinkedIn groups
- Share an image including a client testimonial
- Share an interesting statistic or motivational quote
“One of the top priorities for your LinkedIn strategy should be sharing posts that are relevant to your industry as this shows your followers and potential customers that you’re up to date on the latest happenings and trends.”
You can achieve this by writing high quality LinkedIn articles. Don’t forget to include hashtags at the end of these to connect to an audience outside of your immediate network!
A visual media based social network that allows users to share photos and videos with descriptions.
- Total Number of Monthly Active Instagram Users: 1 billion – Last updated: 9/17/18
- Total Number of Daily Active Instagram Users: 500 million – Last updated: 9/17/18
- 38% of online women use Instagram, compared to 28% of online men.
- 59% of 18–29 year olds use Instagram.
- 33% of 30–49-year olds use Instagram.
- 18% of 50–64-year olds use Instagram.
- 8% of people 65+ use Instagram.
Hashtags on Instagram are a definite YES. Stats show that engagements are highest on Instagram posts when they have 11+ hashtags. You have a limit of 30 hashtags per post.
A good rule of thumb to follow when sharing your Instagram post is:
- Clear and High Quality Image
- Hashtags in the first comment
Posting on Instagram
- Best times: 7am -8am / 3-4pm
- Best day(s): Monday
- How often: 1-2 per day
- Instagram stories
- Affordable post promotions
- Behind the scenes photos
- Eye catching image with a unique quote
- ‘A day in the life of’ image and description
- Image with a discount/promotion included
- Share a picture of what you are reading and why
Make use of hashtags within your Instagram stories with the text function. Use all 30 available hashtags when you share a post. I have a list of my ‘go to’ hashtags for Instagram stored in note on my phone. This makes it a nice and easy copy and paste job.
A micro blogging service enabling users to send text-based posts of up to 140 characters.
- Total Number of Monthly Active Twitter Users: 335 million – Last updated: 9/18/18
- Number of Twitter Daily Active Users: 100 million – Last updated: 6/24/18
57% of global Twitter users are men, while 42% are women.
Hashtags are a definite YES on Twitter. Tweets with hashtags get two times more engagement than those without. However, don’t go overboard. Tweets with more than two hashtags see an average drop of engagement of about 17%. Always place the hashtags at the end of a tweet. For example:
- Tweet Content
- URL link if needed
- 2 Hashtags
Posting on Twitter
- Best times: 1-3pm
- Best day(s): Monday – Thursday
- How often: 5-7 per day
- Twitter lists
- Twitter hours
- Twitter parties/chats
- Conduct a Twitter poll
- Answer a customer’s question
- Product pictures
- Thank your customers / followers
- Highlight a new product / service
Twitter hours are established hashtags that go ‘live’ at specific hours on specific days. They are a way of creating interaction about specif niches or topics. I’ve listed a few general examples below for each day of the week. There are specific local ones too. I’d encourage you to scout them out.
- 12noon – 1pm #UKBizLunch
- 2-3pm #BizHour
- 7-8pm #WineOClock (weeeeeeey)
- 8-9pm #CreativeBizHour
- 2-3pm #BizHour
- 7-8pm #FashionHour
- 8-9pm #BespokeHour
- 8-9pm #FoodHour
- 1-2pm #LocalLunch
- 7.30 – 9.30pm #HandmadeHour
- 8.30 – 9.30pm #GossipGirls
- 9-10pm #EventHour
- 11am-12noon #ElevensesHour
- 7-8pm #PromotingWomen
- 7-8pm #LadiesCoffeeHour
- 8-9pm #PinHitsHour
- 10-11am #ConnectFriday
- 12-1pm #SkillWillHour
- 3-4pm #CakeClubHour
- 9-10pm #SciFiHour
- 8-9.15am #SatChatUK
- 11-12noon #WeekendHour
- 11-12noon #WeekendHour
- 7-8pm #PromotingWomen
A large social network where people create profiles, exchange messages and report status updates.
- Facebook users are 53% female and 47% male.
- 88% of those 18-29
- 84% of those 30-49
- 72% for those 50-64
- 62% for those 65+
AVOID hashtags on Facebook. Posts without a hashtag fare better.
Posting on Facebook
- Best times: 6-8am /1-3pm
- Best day(s): Thursday & Friday
- How often: 1-2 per day
- Facebook groups
- Affordable post/page promotion
- Share a fun fact
- Conduct a poll
- High light another business’s page
- Quick training video
Facebook groups are a really great networking tool. However you have to have a personal profile in order to be able to access anything Facebook business related. If you are not really into social media for personal use, I wouldn’t recommend Facebook.
Pinterest is predominantly a visual based search engine that historically has been lumped into the social media category. However, this is now quite accurate due to the new Community feature which has officially added the social element.
- Total Number of Monthly Active Pinterest Users: 250 million – Last updated: 17/9/18
- Total Number of Pinterest Users who save Shopping Pins on Boards Daily: 2 million – Last updated: 17/9/18
- 81% of Pinterest users are actually Females.
- 40% of New Signups are Men; 60% New Signups are Women.
- Millennials use Pinterest as much as Instagram.
- The median age of a Pinterest user is 40, however, the majority of active pinners are below 40.
The use of Hashtags on Pinterest echoes that of LinkedIn. It was a total no go in the early days, however now it is becoming more widespread and less frowned upon. For me I use hashtags in my Pin descriptions only. I avoid using them in the about section or any board descriptions.
Posting on Pinterest
- Best times: 2-4pm / 8-11pm / Saturday AM
- Best day(s): Saturday
- How often: 20-50 times per day
- Pinterest group boards and communities
- You can optimize your pins to be highly searchable
- Product photos with a link back to your website
- Share an article or blog from your website
- Re pin relevant content from others Pinterest users
- Share an infographic
“Pinners span the globe, but they all share an important trait: they’re actively seeking helpful, inspiring ideas. People use Pinterest to plan for what’s important in their lives, whether that’s easy dinner recipes, home renovation tips or the perfect pair of shoes.”
Optimize your profile, and ALL post descriptions / board descriptions for searches. This means including KEY terms that will match your ideal audience/customer to your content.
You don’t have to (and it isn’t advisable to do it all.) Pick the social media platform that resonates with you and your business needs. This should hopefully be easier now that you have some hard stats to go on! Once you master one, you can move onto the next. IF you choose to.
As recommended in the first section, utilize a social media scheduler. There are plenty of free plans to choose from, and they make social media marketing a lot easier to manage. If you can’t feasibly post the full suggested amount every week, be smart and post during the peak times as listed above.
Invest (money or time) into image designs for your social media platforms. Each social media platform requires different image sizes to get the best results.
BE SOCIAL. Remember the 80:20 rule. Aim to spend 80% of your time interacting with your followers / potential customers. People respond to that personal touch rather than a faceless corporation. There has never been a better time to be an SME on social media! It is the great equalizer.
Until next time!
If you found this content helpful, or you think I missed something important, please comment below 🙂 I’d love to hear from you.
P.s. Why not buy me a coffee? 🙂
P.p.s. Why not check out my previous post by clicking the image below!