How do you know when your marketing efforts are starting to work? Is it when you start seeing those growth metrics creep upwards, week after week? Is it when your web traffic grows organically? Is it when, like a finely tuned engine held within a well constructed body, you feel the hum of the engine in your seat, before pressing down a little harder on the gas?
If you’re currently picturing your dream car take a smooth bend in a beautifully lit expanse of road, with the backdrop of a desert, or a mountain range, or stretch sunlit European coastline, then that’s the power of image-based storytelling at work. Big brands can do that, with the help of big advertising budgets and big agencies.
But what if you are trying to achieve similar results using social media? Perhaps you have a budget, but it’s not huge. You have to think more carefully how you spend those marketing dollars, which is fine, because you want to see the results first. So, before launching into an automated, highly segmented, content-driven campaign, you need to think about how to make the most from your social media marketing efforts.
Here are 5 Things You Should Be Doing On Social Media, But Probably Aren’t.
1. Are you publishing at the right frequency?
This is all about balance. Striking the right balance between being informative, while not being annoying. You want to provide value, but not end up being one of those people who just blast everyone with the same message or Tweet a dozen times over.
It all depends on what works well for you and your audience. For example, some brands with an international audience – say, in Europe – might be posting in the middle of the night or early morning, just to catch customers in those markets at an appropriate time.
Dan Wilkerson of LunaMetrics suggests implementing this process to find the best social media frequency for you:
Given the amount of interest in what works for brands there have been quite a few studies done, which does allow for some general principles, based on analytical data.
A Socialbakers study found that posting on Facebook once per-week is too low, but once a week isn’t enough. Ideally, one post per-day works well. On Twitter, a similar study was conducted based on a random sample of 11,000 tweets from top brands, which found that 3 Tweets a day is the point where engagement starts for big brands.
LinkedIn itself recommends about one post per day (either as a brand or an individual), which is about 20 a month.
Why does 86% of email go unread? Think back to the last email you received that was irrelevant to you. Did you read it to the end? Check out this Case Study on how to re-capture your audience’s attention in your own campaigns.
2. Have you considered the length of your social media updates?
Frequency is an important part of the implementation of a social media framework, but so is the length of each update. There’s been a lot of research into this as well, because every word counts on social media.
Buddy Media, Track Social and Buffer are all in agreement on this. The ideal length of a Tweet is one hundred characters:
“Creativity loves constraints and simplicity is at our core. Tweets are limited to 140 characters so they can be consumed easily anywhere, even via mobile text messages. There’s no magical length for a Tweet, but a recent report by Buddy Media revealed that Tweets shorter than 100 characters get a 17% higher engagement rate.”
Jeff Bullas found that a mere 40 characters is the magic number for brands on Facebook. He found that ‘40-character posts received 86 percent higher engagement,’ while those 80 characters in length got 66 percent more engagement.
3. What about the length of headlines?
The headline to this blog is 12 words. Did you see them all? According to KISSmetrics* you probably didn’t; you probably didn’t read it all. You either clicked, or scrolled past, in which case you won’t be reading this at all.
Based on that KISSmetrics report, the ideal length of a headline is only six words. The reason is that ‘we tend to absorb only the first three words and the last three words of a headline.’
Now, writing six word headlines which get across enough information to pull people in, is hard. Even if it is supported by 100 characters on Twitter posted three times a day and one LinkedIn post, followed by one forty character Facebook post. So, instead of condensing a headline down to six words, like this: “7 Things Not Doing Social Media”, which sounds ridiculous, think more carefully about the first three and the last three words you use.
4. The length of content is also important
Length means both the number of overall works in a blog post, article or email, as well as the number of characters used in a paragraph.
In order to draw a reader in the first paragraph should use larger font, therefore include fewer characters per line, making it appear easier to read, which helps the reader get through it quickly and so be pulled into the main body of the text.
Here’s an example:
Social media expert, Derek Halpern found that “to ensure maximum comprehension and the appearance of simplicity, the perfect line length ranges between 40 and 55 characters per line, or in other words, a content column that varies between 250-350 pixels wide (it depends on font size and choice).”
Which means that if every line contains 8 to 11 words then you have a blog of ideal width. This will be different for every device, of course. Medium has subsequently found that 1600 words, or 1000 if there are a lot of image: both of which result in a reading time of 7 minutes, is the ideal length for any article or blog post.
5. Are you telling a story?
Humans are hardwired for stories. Hearing a story puts us into the mind of the people in that story, as the storyteller walks us, the listener, through their pain points and how a solution came to them.
The more accurate your buyer personas are, the better your stories to those customers will be. The end result should be more conversions. Groove, a Zendesk alternative, on their blog which is all about their ‘journey to $100k in monthly revenue’, decided to A/B test a blog. One was a story. One was a simple ‘how to’ kind of blog, giving information, but no story.
The blog which told a story had ‘nearly 300% more people scroll all the way to the bottom, and average time on page was more than five times higher!’
That’s pure psychology and it’s very powerful stuff. Tell a story, increase traffic, get more revenue.
Once you’ve mastered those five things you are ready to proceed to the next level: automated, segmented marketing. The kind of marketing which turns anonymous web visitors into eager wallet-opening happy brand advocates.
Attentive.ly is a social behavior platform for modern marketing teams. We help brands and organizations predict how customers and supporters will behave – even what they might do or buy – from social data. It has been used by over 100 companies and organizations to improve thousands of email marketing and social media campaigns.