When we live in a world inundated with useless “What I’m eating” status updates and random cat posts, how does a brand leverage social media to successfully earn brand equity and drive fruitful traffic to its website? The answer lies in the perfect social media posts and the ideal recipe of branded content mixed with a hearty helping of outsourced content.
When a brand is planning to take their social media interaction to the next level – from one “happy holidays” post a year, to averaging two posts a day – there are many variables to consider. What may work for one brand will most certainly not work for the next. The first step to take is to understand your audience, or if you don’t have an audience, your target audience. It is important that your brand posts content that your target audience would find valuable and relevant. The next step is to determine the ideal ratio of branded to non-branded content. Your social followers are not going to respond positively to your posts if you are always spamming “me, me, me.” It is important that you mix in outside news, interesting facts, and relevant content to help support your branded messaging. Once your have determined the idea ratio then you need to perfect your branded social posts. An ideal branded social post would incorporate five particular elements to maximize reach, engagement, and staying power in your follower’s minds. The six elements include: an image or video, a trackable link, hashtag(s), page tagging, and relevant content.
Images in Posts
Having an image in your post will help grab the attention of the casual social platform skimmer. When adding an image to Twitter, it is important to keep in mind that the image is converted to a shortened URL, so the image takes 27 of your precious 140 available characters. The minimum size requirement for in-stream photos to appear on Twitter is 440 x 220 pixels. If the image is larger, it is likely that the image will be collapsed. For more detailed information about Twitter image requirements, visit the Twitter Help Center.
The sizing requirements for Facebook posted images differ significantly from Twitter. The ideal shared image size is 1,200 x 630 pixels. Unlike Twitter, images posted on Facebook will always appear in the newsfeed. Facebook also has a linked image feature where you can choose a picture to be linked to a URL to drive traffic to an outside web page.
When planning your perfect post, it is important to note the differences between social platforms. So far, we have been focusing on Twitter and Facebook because those are the most commonly used social media platforms. When it comes to adding links to your posts, the link functionality for each platform differs substantially. In the case of Twitter, you get the straightforward option to include a link in your post. It is advisable that a trackable link shortener be employed to minimize the number of characters used by the URL and it adds a tracking functionality to analyze your click-thru rate.
When adding links to Facebook, you are awarded a variety of functions. First, when a link is added to a post, a review of the link will be generated below the content. You then have the option to choose the image that comes with the preview or upload your own image. Then, you are able to delete the URL from the post content to clean up the look of the post.
The use of hashtags in branded social content is an ever-debated topic. As users become more comfortable with social media norms and the evolution of conversation changes, the acceptable uses of hashtags change as well. It is for this reason that it is important to keep up to date on what hashtags are relevant, what they mean at that particular point in time, and if they apply to what you are sharing. It is also important not to inundate your branded content with hashtags. If half of your social message is taken by hashtags, perhaps it is time to reconsider your message.
Whenever an opportunity arises where you are able to reference an existing company or social page, it is important to use the “@” handle before the name of the page. This will link your post to that page and notify the page that you are mentioning it. This is a tactic that can be used if you are trying to gain the attention of a prospect and you subtly want to bring attention to your brand.
You can use all the right hashtags and pretty pictures you want, but if your content is not appropriate for your audience, then what is the point of social posting? It is imperative that your content holds value for your viewer. This will increase the likelihood of that person liking, sharing, or somehow engaging with your content. The more interaction your social posts get, the greater reach you can expect.