Social media management can be quite enjoyable but also quite time consuming particularly as a brand's target audience(s) starts to become more active on emerging networks - wouldn't Snapchat be nice?
The following article includes eight quick strategies for companies feeling the time crunch, but that are still dedicated to maintaining a stellar social presence and genuinely engaging with current and potential customers.
The social airwaves are crowded, and posting at the optimal time will give social media managers a better chance at their message reaching its intended audience.
While it depends on the audience, there are some general best practices for when to post, including:
• Within Facebook Insights, go to Posts and use the graph to understand when a Page's fans are online by days of the week and times of the day. While there likely won't be any major difference from day to day, managers will notice dramatic highs and lows throughout the day. For instance, only 30,000 of a Page's followers may be on Facebook at 3 p.m., but 50,000 are active at 9 a.m. Posting closer to that 9 a.m. peak will likely boost visibility.
• While in Facebook Insights, take a look at audience demographics (under People). Knowing if the majority of a Page's followers is in New York versus Los Angeles, can provide a glimpse into their day. For example, if New Yorkers following a B2B company are mostly on at 9 a.m., then they are likely at work or just getting to work (valuable insights into the types of content to post and when).
• Using tools like Hootsuite AutoSchedule or Buffer automates the process of finding the best times to tweet. With Buffer, simply add links to the queue and the tool will take care of the rest - tweeting based on a profile's past 5,000 interactions (e.g., likes, favorites, clicks, etc.) and profiles like it (so don't worry if a profile doesn't have 5,000 interactions). Adding the Buffer Chrome Extension helps to simplify adding items to a profile's queue.
• Following general timing guidelines is also helpful and there is no shortage of advice. HubSpot recommends the following:
o Facebook: 12-1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, 3-4 p.m. on Wednesdays and 1-4 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays
o Twitter: 12-3 p.m. Monday-Friday and 5-6 p.m. on Wednesdays
o LinkedIn: 7-8:30 a.m., 12 p.m., and 5-6 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays
o Instagram: Anytime Monday-Thursday except between 3-4 p.m.
Yes, it would be great if a brand could be on every network their target audience is. Snapchat is great - it can provide a genuine, real-time look into a company's happenings whether it's a break-time party or an annual event. The network is popular for a reason, but time-strapped social media managers have to pick their network battles because establishing a presence on every available network will only make them feel that they're dropping the ball somewhere - always. Rather, selecting 1-3 (or as time allows, more) networks to really focus on, will be to their brand's benefit. Similarly, if it's a brand priority to join new networks, they'll need to consider delegating the responsibility somewhere. It can be nerve-wracking to relinquish social control, but establishing some general rules with a motivated peer could help a company get some networks off the ground.
Speaking of, social media shouldn't be a one-person effort. Employee advocacy programs work because they bring a broader voice to a brand's messaging, employee posts tend to see better organic reach and people, in general, like to see that a company's staff is engaged. For more, go read, "Creating an Employee-Advocacy Program for Social Media."
Remember those auto-schedulers mentioned earlier? Buffer is a terrific tool for posting at the optimal times but also for curation. When a social media manager comes across an article, video or other content they like, they should ask themselves whether it would be appropriate for their audience as well. By simply clicking on the Buffer Chrome Extension, managers can start to fill their queue with material their audience will enjoy as well as have a more balanced profile in that they are not only sharing brand material.
Sometimes inspiration (and posts) come from where a brand least expects it. For example, a social manager may notice that a particular brand asset keeps getting shared, and they will likely want to share it again as well. It's also important, of course, to listen to brand mentions for customer service complaints and compliments so that the company can respond. Equally important is listening to industry chatter on the whole so brands can be aware of what is being discussed and how they should get involved or if they should (just think of the recent #DeleteUber social movement).
Everyone gets busy and even marketers with the best intentions neglect tasks now and again for other priorities. By scheduling "evergreen" posts throughout the month, social media managers can ensure quality content is being posted even if they can't get to it at the moment.
Evergreen examples could be promoting an affiliate program, popular content that is always relevant, staff spotlights, throwback Thursday type material and the list goes on. The one thing to know about scheduled posts, however, is to know that they are there. We can't anticipate world events and sometimes - by no fault of the social media manager - it can be distasteful in some way or the other. Remember they are there, check on them every now and again and the manager will be fine.
If a brand can't post every day, fine. What's more important than frequency is quality but a company should set a schedule so not only does the manager get in a routine (e.g., posts to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest every Monday, Wednesday and Friday) but engaged followers do as well.
Organic reach is embarrassing on most networks and while following some of the best practices mentioned above will help increase organic reach a bit (like optimal timing and employee posts), one of the most time-effective strategies a company can do is to advertise on the social networks. They'll not only reach target audiences (which can be hyper-specific) but they'll also be able to do so very quickly in a way that supports their goals (e.g., app downloads, website traffic, acquisition).