You have great content, or a fantastic product, service or brand offer you can’t wait to share, to as many people as possible. Who wants to know? Creating and simply publishing your social media content or offer is only the first step in what can be a long journey to get as many eyeballs on it as possible. The end result also very much depends on what your objective is: to increase engagement (shares, likes, follows, comments, click-throughs), lead generation (and ultimately, conversion), or awareness (broaden your audience and prospect pool). What are a few basic social media posting practices, for various platforms, that can optimize the overall reach of your content and brand?
1. Share Links: Links have the most click-throughs during the first hour after they are posted, so think about posting your link(s) during the times that your analytics show you will reach the most of your target audience. Research also suggests that limiting the number of links you post per hour, may increase your click-through rate – so go ahead and post as much as you want, but limit to 1-3 links per hour. Recent changes to the Facebook newsfeed algorithm also suggest that the more frequently you post, the less visible your individual posts will be in the newsfeed – this decreases the number of impressions and also your total reach.
2. Use Hashtags and Tags: Hashtags, tags and location tags can increase your searchability (i.e. #picoftheday, @GlobalCoupon, #Canada), build your brand (i.e. #GlobalCoupon), community (i.e. #Vancouver) or promote a particular event (i.e. #WorldCup), help you target a particular audience (i.e. #socialgood), or help your post stand out from a simple text post and create a memorable experience (i.e. #ff for “Follow Friday”). Recent research suggests that limiting your hashtag use to 1-3 per post, can increase your click-throughs, shares and likes, while using too many hashtags can discourage click-throughs and shares/likes.
3. Limit the Length: Research shows that the optimal length for most social media posts, across platforms, is around 80-100 characters. As people scroll through their feeds, it only takes a second to catch their attention – or to lose their interest. Use link shorteners (e.g. bit.ly) to shorten the number of characters, and hashtags and acronyms to eliminate spaces between words (e.g. #imagine1D, or #TGIF).
4. Ask a Question: Posts that ask specific questions (e.g. “yes/no”), rather than open-ended questions (e.g. “why does…”) can encourage more comments, although they may discourage shares and likes.
5. Trigger Emotion/Surprise: Write posts that create surprise (list an unusual fact, or something that’s funny), or that will tug at peoples’ emotions. If people react to your post, for whatever reason, they will share, like, or comment on it. When you’re writing your posts, think about it from the perspective of your target audience: if you were reading your own post, would you share, like or comment on it yourself?
6. Make Sharing Easy: Make sure sharing on other sites is optimized and easy so that your post has a higher possibility of being shared. Provide social media/share buttons, or include a call to action that will encourage people to share your post. Research suggests that posts are more likely to be shared if other social media share buttons are present, or if there is a Share link – e.g. on Global Coupon, every offer/coupon you post as a business member has the usual Save/Print options, social media sharing buttons, as well as your choice of QR code or barcode, to make it easy for your customers browsing the platform to interact with and increase the reach of your brand.
7. Time Posts Strategically: Think about when your target audience is active on the platforms you have a presence on. Statistics for your timezone may suggest that the largest group of people interact with the platform at 1 pm, but your own analytics may suggest that your target audience is logging on at 5 pm. Depending on what your goal is – to increase your reach or target specific consumers – you may want to vary the messaging for your posts at both 1 pm and 5 pm, or schedule most of your posts to coincide with the social media browsing habits of your target audience.
8. Post Contests or Offers: Research suggests that people are more likely to share, like, comment on or follow posts and pages that provide incentives in the form of a contest, deal, offer, or coupon. Wait, you knew this already – because you are probably among the people who do, and you most likely know people who regularly browse for deals and contests online the same way people look through print flyers and coupon books. An example of how this could work to optimize your social media reach: as a Global Coupon business member, your company would have a profile listing on the platform, as well as any number of shareable posted offers, contests or coupons, and ads. Your consumers would browse through the Global Coupon platform for your product or service, find your offer or contest, and could share it through social media, increasing your reach. Meanwhile, your own company social media page (on Facebook, Twitter or other platform) would publicize the same offer or contest and achieve even wider reach and brand penetration.