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The quick guide to increasing social media reach
Writing effective social media copy is arguably a precise equation of intelligent marketing, responding to the hopes of your audience and quite frankly, a great big dash of common sense.
Because whilst marketing types know that B2C social media is a two way street, a conversation and a way to build your brand through good customer service and exclusive insights, making the type of errors that make your profiles look wooden and automated are common even in the most social media savvy brands.
A large part of getting people to engage with your posts is to target them when they’re most receptive and likely to be on social media with the time to engage. Unfortunately this might not fit in to your 9-5 plan, but if your posts just aren’t getting the interaction they deserve, it’s time to start monitoring your engagement patterns and scheduling your posts proactively.
It’s fair to say that, depending on your business, you might be well aware of when you target audience is on social media, but as an agency who deal in social media analytics daily, we can tell you that a surprising number of Fluid Creativity’s followers are spending their afternoons on Twitter. Oh yes, we’ve found you out…
It’s not uncommon for even those agencies who ‘specialise’ in social media to schedule tweets around the clock. That’s on the hour, every hour. These companies forget the underlying principle of social media; it’s a conversation, not a one-way opportunity for self-promotion.
Of course scheduling tweets for those times you know your target audience will be responsive (i.e. evenings) is a good strategy even if you won’t realistically be able to engage outside working hours, but unnatural robotic tweeting will transpire as exactly what it is; completely devoid of any real human personality.
It’s also worth posting particularly engaging or topical social media updates when you’ll be in a position to answer queries and engage with your audience, a few comments can quickly snowball into a user-generated discussion which will rapidly extend the reach of your post.
Shorten links with Bitly
Bitly is a fantastic little tool for shortening URLs and as well as saving precious space for your witticisms, Bitly also offers insights into how your various tweets are performing. Whilst not a foolproof technique (for example, if you’re promoting a blog or competition, Bitly will purely detail the amount of clicks via Twitter as opposed to direct site traffic), taking note of your Bitly stats can give you an idea of which updates generate the most engagement.
Bitly also gives insights into the time of day your links are being clicked. Overtime, this can give you a valuable idea of when you should be targeting your audience – especially when used alongside Facebook insights and Followerwonk. Setting up an account will store all your ‘bitmarks’ for your own analysis and installing the plug-in allows you to quickly shorten links whilst storing the bitmark to your account.
You can easily find out when the majority of your audience will be on Twitter by using Followerwonk to analyse your following. The stats will give you an idea of your follower’s activity by time of day and gives you a helpful breakdown of when your audience are likely to retweet and contact you directly.
If you don’t use a management tool such as Sprout Social, then you can use Tweetdeck for free to schedule your posts.
HootSuite allows you to create an account for free and link numerous social media profiles to your main dashboard. Unfortunately for detailed reports, you will need to sign up to a payment plan, which isn’t ideal for a small business with a limited marketing budget, but the free option is still very useful for gaining a quick overview of brand engagement across all of your channels.
HootSuite also allows you to schedule posts and although it requires some manual checking over a period of time to determine when your posts are gaining the most interaction, for a free tool it’s worth investing a little time to see when engagement seems to be highest and whether engagement times differ across your platforms.
Facebook Insights offer a comprehensive view into exactly when your fans are online (time of day and most popular days). You can access your insights by choosing: Settings > Insights > Posts > When your fans are online.
You can also view which of your posts have the most reach and engagement and what type of posts (links, images or status) attract the most interest.
Sprout Social may be more of an agency tool, but if you’re serious about social media performance (arguably some business niches excel on social media), then Sprout Social is pretty much universally loved by all. It’s incredibly user friendly, generates beautiful statistics and gives useful insights into your audience demographic. You can then use this insight into your audience to target suitable groups if you choose to set up Facebook advertising or establish a new marketing campaign.
Sprout Social won’t be as specific as to give you the time of day when your posts are most effective; however, over time it can give you a good indication of what content is receiving the most approval and engagement.
Try it and see
Of course determining when you’re most likely to attract engagement isn’t an exact science and there are any number of external factors which can affect how well an update performs. Current news can significantly impact on likes, shares, follows and retweets, regardless of when you post, so keep any industry headlines in mind when reviewing spikes in engagement.