How to Choose the Best Social Media Platform for Your Brand
When your company has a message to share, the most cost-effective means is to publish on social media. Not only can social media instantly reach a worldwide following, the nature of these platforms encourages the customer engagement that leads to high conversion rates. Choosing the best social media platform for your messaging is critical, however, if you’re going to get a worthwhile return on the investment you’ve put into professional messaging. Which service is the best? The answer depends on the public you’re trying to reach.
Facebook is, by a wide margin, the most popular platform today. According to the company, Facebook presently has 13.2 million active users in Australia. That puts the platform half a million users ahead of YouTube, its nearest rival, and over twice the number (6.15 million) of Australian users of third-ranked WordPress.
Not all users are equal, however, and Facebook remains very popular among young people, especially young women. Facebook is also the best social media platform for reaching a rapidly growing population of seniors, with adoption among the over-65s growing by leaps every year to a current 45 percent worldwide.
One shortcoming of Facebook is that its use among well-educated and high-income adults is somewhat lower than the overall average. This isn’t as bleak as it sounds, though, as people’s education and income tend to increase with time and Facebook’s demographics are still quite young. Given this artifact of the data, Facebook might be the best social media platform for attracting followers who will someday be paying customers.
If you’re wondering how other marketers approach Facebook then look no further. According to Social Media Examiner’s recent survey across 2,800 marketers, 97% use Facebook for B2C marketing and 89% for B2B.
Unlike Facebook, Twitter doesn’t show any marked disparity between male and female users. While Twitter does quite well in global statistics, it’s only ranked seventh among Australian users with a mere 2.5 million active members.
According to the Pew Research Center, Twitter is a favorite among 18- to 29-year-old users, with no noticeable split over education or income levels. The lack of a specific consumer profile is part of what makes Twitter the best social media platform for general (non-sales) announcements and company news. Its simple, concise messaging and the ease with which users can engage also make it attractive for building up a fan base. This is especially important for the Australian market, where Twitter use has jumped by 15 percent in the last year.
I personally use Twitter as a way to connect with businesses and individuals directly and kicking off the engagement process which you otherwise would struggle to do via email. Although you’re restricted to 140 characters, one of the strategies you could implement is have the initial chat and then progress it to a phone call, email or face to face. Business owners are time poor, working with 140 characters is a great way to maintain their attention and progress the discussion any way you like.
If you’d like to get started on Twitter and learn how to obtain your first 2000 followers, check out this guide and a few tools to help you in the process.
If you’re recruiting on LinkedIn, be ready to face an odd mix of the obvious and the surprising. LinkedIn users are predominantly male, and the platform is most popular among the 30- to 64-year-old users who are at just the right age to put serious thought into their careers. LinkedIn is also more popular with well-educated adults than most other platforms.
Surprisingly, most LinkedIn users already have jobs. A full 27 percent of currently employed adults are on LinkedIn, versus only 12 percent of the unemployed who use the platform. LinkedIn has seen its share of the Australian market rise by 32 percent in the last year, perhaps signaling a change in the way Australian professionals connect with their next job. Obviously, LinkedIn is a good place to recruit your next all-star, but be careful—many of your candidates will have bosses who keep an eye on their employees’ profiles, and it would be a shame to create an awkward situation for someone you’re looking to hire.
Pinterest is a global enigma. All over the world, the platform is growing by leaps and bounds, especially among female users—who outnumber males on the platform 4-to-1—but the Australian market is different.
In 2013 alone, Pinterest use increased worldwide by a stunning 88 percent. You’d expect that kind of growth to be spread out evenly across markets, but Pinterest’s share of Australian users dropped by 35 percent in the same period that saw the greatest gains elsewhere. Pinterest might not be the best social media platform for reaching a domestic audience, though it certainly has a big future in overseas development.
A serious approach to engaging your public has to include G+. Google launched the service in 2011, and has made every effort to become the best social media platform for nearly everything you could possibly want to say to the public. From the start, G+ has had a brute-force approach to gaining market share, which has earned the platform around 1.2 billion users.
Appearances can be deceiving, though. The same muscular attitude that has won Google a huge following has also created a largely artificial demographic profile. On balance, G+ hovers around 400 million active monthly users, or one-third of the total accounts. No doubt this is partly a result of the forced conversion of YouTube users to G+. Many of the signups didn’t intend to use G+ in the first place, but they’ve set up accounts to continue using YouTube and other Google-owned services. YouTube’s immense popularity—12.6 million monthly users—almost certainly contributes to the success of G+ in Australia.
G+ is still a great way to reach out to your public, and in many ways it’s the best social media platform of them all. There’s hardly anything you can’t do with it, from Twitter-style quick updates to full-length video and multimedia content. Getting the most out of your company’s G+ account requires finesse, and it’s worth your while to partner with a social media expert who knows what G+ can do and how to do it.
Hiring an agency to help manage your social media presence is smart business all the way around. There are a lot of pitfalls in social media management such as posting too often or not enough and posting every announcement to every channel you have. Webquacker has the in-house expertise to craft your social media content, and the experience to place your brand with the best social media platform for you.
9 Evidence Backed Tactics to Boost Twitter Engagement
Reader engagement is at the heart of a successful Twitter campaign. Getting your followers to not only read, but click through, favorite, and retweet your updates creates a sense of community and helps spread your messaging far and wide. Here are nine of the most effective ways to boost Twitter engagement among your following.
Effective Tweet Scheduling
As we’ve pointed out before, the buzz your tweets generate will at least partly depend on the time they’re released. Knowing when your followers are online, and scheduling important tweets around their social media patterns, puts you in touch with the largest possible audience every time you send through an update. HootSuite is great for this, as its intuitive dashboard allows manual control over your tweet schedule. I personally like to use the HootSuite Hootlet Google Chrome extension (see image below) and ‘AutoSchedule’ my tweets which means you let HootSuite choose the most optimal times to post your tweets.
HootSuite also helps you monitor subsequent Twitter engagement, as well as the feed your followers are getting through other social media outlets, so it’s easier to avoid swamping them with updates all at once across multiple platforms.
Hashtags Are Your Friend
Hashtags are a powerful tool for broadening your audience. Using hashtags effectively gets your tweets in front of people who may never have heard of you before, but who are monitoring the topics currently trending on Twitter. Be sure your tags are concise and relevant to reach the Twitter users who are most interested in the kind of services you offer. Touching base with the people who most want to hear from you gains followers and extends the leverage of your Twitter presence.
Leave Space for a Retweet (with Attribution)
Twitter famously—or infamously, if you will—imposes a strict 140-character limit on tweets. Don’t use all of that space, though; you’ll be sabotaging your followers attempts at retweeting your post! If you’ve used the total allowable space, anyone who tries to retweet the post will have to either omit the “RT @yourname” bit, which prevents your new audience from knowing where the tweet originates, or give up on the retweet altogether. Given that a simple retweet is one of the easiest and most popular forms of Twitter engagement, this limitation is serious business. Keep your tweets under 130 characters whenever possible to give your loyal followers room to credit you properly in the retweet.
Drop a Quote
Using quotations in your tweets dramatically boosts your Twitter engagement and encourages retweets. A tweet that includes a quote is 30 percent more likely to get a retweet, according to social media scientist and renowned clever person Dan Zarrella. One reason for this seems to be that people enjoy passing on bits of wisdom and other inspirational content. If you’re posting something that’s worth quoting in the first place, after all, it’s probably worth a requote by someone in your Twitter following.
Your Words Count
Some words get your tweets more attention than others. Including the right words in your updates can drive Twitter engagement by motivating people to share your content. Surprisingly, the most commonly used word in retweeted posts is “you.” It’s almost as if a tweet to the effect of: “you should check out this new blog post” triggers your reader to identify with the subject of the message and respond accordingly. “Check out” and “new blog post” are also among the top twenty retweeted words and phrases.
Upload Pictures—the Right Way
People respond to graphic stimuli. Adding pictures to your Twitter feed captures people’s attention and earns your posts a second look. Not all picture uploads are equal, however. As the above-cited Dan Zarrella found, when he surveyed over 400,000 randomised tweets, posts with an image uploaded via pics.Twitter.com are 94 percent more likely to be shared, while tweets with twitpic links are 64 percent more likely to be retweeted. Pictures delivered via Facebook, on the other hand, actually decrease the odds of a retweet by 47 percent!
Also according to Buffer, tweets with images received 150% more retweets – suffice to say, visuals work on Twitter too!
Hyperlinks are at the heart of what makes Twitter engagement possible. By including a hypertext link, you can turn a 140-character tweet into an introduction to your longer, more thoughtful blog posts. Including hyperlinks in your tweets also gives your followers a simple, one-touch way of joining the discussion by connecting them to your complementary posts on Google+ and Facebook.
Active, Not Passive Voice
Verbs are action words, and they lend themselves to a more active voice in your tweets. Given Twitter’s built-in space limitations, you need to deliver your message in a short, punchy way that has an immediate impact on your reader. The kind of clarity that verb-packed writing permits makes for a quicker and less demanding read that gets shared much more than noun-heavy tweets written in the passive voice.
Remember how “you” is the most commonly retweeted word? “Twitter” is, perhaps unsurprisingly, number two. Numbers three and four on the list are “please” and “retweet,” while the eleventh most-common phrase is “please retweet.” Clearly, the direct approach of simply asking followers for a retweet works well enough to drive heightened engagement.
If you’re as serious about social media marketing as we are, attracting a large Twitter following is only the beginning. Remember to schedule your tweets for peak times to connect with your current followers. Integrating quotes, TwitPics, and hashtags to encourages sharing, as hyperlinks encourage your followers to visit your other resources for a better look at what you have to offer.
Tip: Speaking of Just Ask, if you’re looking for a quick opinion from a busy ‘influencer’, use Twitter to ask your question. I use it all the time to gain insights from key personnel across many industries. Take the below question to Gary Vaynerchuk as an example (they are more likely to respond to a tweet over an email).
Webquacker specialises in this kind of comprehensive social media approach, and we’d love to hear from you.
UX Design: Why Page One Shouldn’t Matter
Want to know the name of the freaking game when it comes to being successful with a website? Seriously; I’m not kidding…you ready for the truth? Here it is in two simple words: user-experience (UX). Otherwise known as website usability.
Everyone’s focused on so much nonsense and then completely forgetting the simplicity of pleasing human beings. The evolution of human and computer interactions is going on 30 years old. In this article we’re going to look at examples of websites that are doing well and will continue to do so even if they’re buried in search engine results.
Example #1: CleanProgram
That right there is, well, is a really clean site. Meaning the design is top notch and responsive. Within microseconds even someone who landed on it by mistake will pause. It’s captivating because it’s crisp and everything is in its proper place. We’re talking web-psychology, or web-based cognitive science 101. Here’s a screenshot of everything “above the fold.”
These are the hot spots and the average scanner will hit all of them within seconds, their mind taking in the keywords and impressions and probably spending a bit more time on the smiling face of the doctor there. They’re thinking…
- “Clean, doctor, health, cleanse, happy.”
- “Oh sweet, I can call them [comforting, establishes trust].”
- “Do I want to start my doctor designed cleanse right now?”
The Point: the more value and authority your website brings to the table for the HUMAN BEINGS who visit your website (vs. web crawlers) the higher your chances of success. In fact, even if this company never spent a penny on outbound marketing or conventional SEO services and instead simply focused on information marketing over the first year (exactly what they did) they would grow by double digit margins easy…who cares about Google?
The web is so incredibly big. So big, you’re going to get traffic no matter what you do. Some of the worst sites in the history of the web get traffic. What matters is how impressed your users are.
Here’s some of their thoughts once the site captures their attention and they go from simply a scanner to being directly involved in the content:
- “Whoa, there’s a video I can watch.”
- “OMG, that’s Gwyneth Paltrow [social proofing]!”
- “Books. Support. Red cabbage.”
I could go on and on about how impressive this website is. The designer is amazing. The team that came together to create that really knows their stuff!
Example #2: UnBounce
This website uses all the same things, just in different ways. If you look closely you’ll see an almost identical approach though – UX design. There’s a human face, this time a more serious one. It also has a video. Then there’s social proofing. Hyper-simple copywriting; all above the fold along with a clear and present phone number. Let’s take a look and I’m going to order the likely way people’s mind’s bounce around the page this time:
Initial exposure lasts about 3-5 seconds. Boom, boom, boom. Human beings are scanning and looking for a connection…an emotional and intellectual connection.
Interested traffic will investigate further but first they get a good solid professional vibe, feel sort of serious emotionally and then quickly put together the value proposition. Again, another example of a website that’s going to capture and retain more of the organic and referral-based traffic along with inbound marketing flow.
Example #3: CloudSponge
Okay ladies and gentlemen, this is what’s known in my world as “gentle virality.” Meaning this service, or their product is a minimal viable product (MVP). And, their website is absolutely dummy-proofed. It makes me smile as someone who’s really into web design. In fact, I get a kick out of this site because it’s built for success from top to bottom.
Let’s look at the above the fold area one last time. I’ll mark the 4 important areas and then touch on them briefly before we bring this article to a close.
Okay, so the very first thing that people’s eyes will be attracted to is the red thumbs down. “Huh? Wha?” Then, just before reading what’s next to it they glace at the clear and nifty branding image. Within seconds they get the gist: “In five minutes I’ll have a much better and more shareable form!”
Afterwards they see they can try without signing up. Simple as that. No muss no fuss. There’s very little distractions and scrolling down for more information is optional, not necessary.
Are you seeing the magic here vs. putting all your efforts into trying to be #1 on Google results? Who cares if you’re the website that gets the most traffic but the highest bounce rate with abysmal conversion!
Conclusion: High Quality & Responsive UX Design Trumps Everything Else
An absolutely mind-boggling amount of new content was uploaded to the internet within the time it took you to get from the title to this sentence. And, the amount of new websites would astound you as well. So, trust me, your website is going to get some traffic no matter what.
If you invested wisely in quality imagery, UX design and a top notch platform a small trickle of organic traffic can easily over time turn into a raging river. We’ve all watched it happen before. It’s happening right now. But the question is, will it happen for your website? If you’ve got any questions don’t hesitate to drop me a line!
The Best Time to Post On Social Media is…Not Again
It’s a simple question: when is the best time to post social media updates? But wait, before you answer that let me tell you upfront this is NOT another post telling you to post between x hours per day on x network.
Knowing the answer to that question can be the difference between watching your post go viral and seeing it sink into the background noise of competing posts for lack of attention. A 2012 study by Socialbakers found that branded Facebook posts achieved half their views in the first half-hour after going live. Fully one-third of these posts’ views came in the first ten minutes, with traffic all but dying within seven hours. Posting when nobody’s looking, therefore, lets important updates slide right past people who would otherwise have responded to your message.
So, posting to social media during high-traffic times gives your content the oxygen it needs to go viral. But when is that, exactly? Much of the research that’s been done focuses on traffic cycles for the major social platforms, such as this colorful infographic, showing the best days for Facebook traffic:
From this graphic, it’s obvious that Thursday and Friday are the best days to post.
Case closed. Thanks for reading.
But wait—what if your target demographic isn’t the one driving those figures? What if you’re trying to influence the buying habits of schoolteachers, and a Thursday post is forgotten by the weekend when they have the free time to shop for the school supplies you’re selling? What if your slice of the demographic pie is online on these days, but so is every competitor you have and they’re all posting updates at the same time to compete for views and shares?
The fallacy at the heart of most arguments over the “best” time to post social media updates is the assumption that what every branded post wants is to be dropped into the ocean during peak traffic times. This assumption ignores the two factors that are really driving your conversion: is your audience online at the time, and can your content outshine the competition?
This is where knowing your public is crucial. Never mind when most people are checking their Twitter feed—when are your people online? If the people in your share of the market are early risers, the standard assumptions about posting updates at lunchtime and during the evening commute home have to be time-shifted back a few hours. If they’re night owls, a later post will catch them after they’ve missed the competition’s afternoon updates. Targets who work in an industry with odd days off will show a pattern of social-media hits quite different from the average day-over-day metrics for Facebook and Twitter, which makes Thursday and Friday less desirable real estate. Know who you’re trying to reach, and how they live, and you have a good chance of reaching them during off-peak times when nobody else is updating.
Tools Which Help Determine Your Best Times
Serious marketers use a variety of tools for tracking their audience members’ behavior and breaking traffic down by time. Apps such as Tweriod, which tracks the peak traffic times among your followers, as well as their behavior after viewing your posts—favoriting, retweets, and other positive engagement with your content—help you nail down the optimal time of day to post new content on Twitter.
Timing+ (shown below) does a similar job for your Google+ content and displays results for you in an interface that can be customized to display only the information you need in a format that makes intuitive sense to you as the user.
Facebook, too, has an in-house tool in its well-regarded Insights tool, which is available to you after your content has earned at least thirty likes from users. In addition to Insights, you can keep track of your Facebook following with a third-party tool such as Fanpage Karma, pictured below:
Of course, no matter how well you know your audience, there’s no substitute for quality content. Good content gets shared; the time it drops is, at most, an aid to getting it in front of a receptive audience. Where your content goes from there depends on how engaging and useful it is. Whatever time you’ve identified as best for posting updates, it’s a sure bet that somebody else in your industry will be posting at the same time. Outshining those rival posts is always going to come down to how appealing your content is to the reader.
Working out the best time to drop new content for your social media followers is far from an exact science. Posting updates at peak-traffic times gives you the widest possible general audience, but it also puts your content in direct competition for views with every other marketer out there. Posting during off-peak hours and on slow traffic days might spare your posts the competition, but you could be calling into an empty room where nobody is listening. Finding that sweet spot—when your audience is at its most receptive and the background noise is at its lowest ebb—is the key to answering this article’s opening question.
How Do The Experienced Users Approach It?
Andrij Harasewych from Social Media Hangout shares his approach and interestingly suggested it might be problematic to post at these ‘ideal times’ given other businesses and/or users would also be trying to compete for attention.
Peg Fitzpatrick maintains a simple yet effective approach – there is no science to it but she does have her preferred time slots for each network.
When is the best time to post social media updates? Answer: when they’ll be noticed and shared, which is a different time for everybody.
Do you have a success story about finding the update sweet spot? Have you been trying to connect with your public on social media, only to be frustrated by low traffic? Let us know in the comments below or, even better, drop us a line and let us help you zero in on an effective content-management strategy.
Note: The Featured Image was sourced from Flickr.
Stop Using the Term "Social Media". It’s Not Cool
I can remember when I first heard someone say:
“Find me on Facebook!” I nodded politely and smiled, but internally I was asking myself:
“Facebook? What’s Facebook?” That was 2005 but somehow it seems like a different world, many lifetimes ago.
For those of us in the marketing and communication sector, Facebook became the definition of ‘social media’ – the seamless blending of technology and the social interactions of users that resulted in the co-creation of some kind of value.
While Facebook certainly became one of the most popular examples of this, value creation by way of techno-social blending had already begun to appear in a myriad of forms – including internet forums, blogs, wikis, and content sharing.
The opportunities for capitalizing on the commercial value that was being created by these new channels was quickly seized upon by the key players in the sector, driven by the huge popularity and user uptake of platforms such as Facebook – which in 2012 passed the milestone of having one billion active users.
Since its inception, we have generally talked about ‘social media’ as being a distinct category from ‘traditional media’. Traditional media being seen as newspapers, magazines, television, and film – high quality, expensive to produce, and requiring a significant investment in time and money. Social media became synonymous with a younger audience or market, inexpensive, accessible, created and distributed with viral pace.
The speed at which these new channels were developing and being adopted by users was overwhelming for many businesses and their marketing teams:
“We need a social media strategy!” “How do we increase our number of Facebook likes?” “Is that really something we want on YouTube?” are all frequent distress calls that are still being thrown around today.
What you need to understand is that the game has changed.
Social media is no longer the new and the different. The distinction between traditional media and social media is now irrelevant.
Advertising on prime time television is still a very effective way of presenting your brand and your product. But prime time television is not the only way that your target market obtains their information. Conversely, spending a lot of money on a campaign that increases your number of Twitter followers may seem like a good idea – but if that doesn’t convert to product sales or revenue, it is difficult to demonstrate that you’ve delivered an acceptable Return On Investment.
Whether it is broadcast, print, or online, these are all channels that you can potentially utilize to reach your target market, to effectively engage with your audience, to tell your story.
You don’t need a social media strategy – you need a marketing strategy that shows how you are going to utilize each available channel and allocate your resources to deliver the results that you are looking for.
How do you know which are the right channels to use? Marketing has always been a combination of trial and error, guesswork, and sometimes striking it lucky. That hasn’t changed, we’ve now just got a few more options to play with.
It’s time to remove the term ‘social media’ from your vocabulary. It’s just not cool.