How to get ahead with social media

Social media can be used to increase the traffic your site receives by creating a relationship with social media users, and show that your company has a personality. Social media provides the opportunity to attract (and maintain) people to your brand by discussing your brand, products, and related topics. According to HubSpot, in order to amplify your content on social media, it is best to use the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time that is interesting and helpful, and the other 20% of the time, discuss your brand and promote yourself.

I worked for a seaplane business that flew to the San Juan Islands last year, and they used the 80/20 rule effectively in their social media practices. About 80% of what they posted on Facebook was pictures of Seattle (usually with a seaplane above), happenings around the San Juan Islands, and other information about events happening around the Puget Sound (where they fly!). The other ~20% they posted revolved around the company, and promoting themselves.

According to The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media, when posting on social media, it is important to keep in mind which platform you are posting on, and customize what you are posting for each platform. Twitter should be used for small and chatty snippets of information. Even though Twitter allows your tweets to contain up to 140 characters, it is best to keep your posts around 115 characters to keep the attention on your main point, and maintain the Twitter atmosphere of short, interesting, and chatty pieces of information.

Comparatively, LinkedIn (the professional network) is more focused on more intellectual information that will take longer to read, and many users use the platform to gain credibility among their followers. On Twitter, it is best to post often, but on LinkedIn, it is best to post less frequently but provide more in-depth content.

Facebook is the most popular platform in the world. Facebook posts should be less than 250 characters, and provide companies with a place to be fun and personal with their audience. Facebook  is most effective with pictures, and when you ask your Friends questions. Get your audience engaged by asking fun, brand related questions. For example, if you run the Facebook page for Subway, a good question to pose to your Facebook friends might be, “What is your favorite topping on your Subway sandwich?” and include a picture of all the toppings Subway offers. This gets your followers participating with you and thinking about your product.

Wendy’s (the popular burger chain) had huge social media success back in 2013 when they premiered their Pretzal Bacon Cheeseburgers. Using the hashtag #PretzalLoveSongs, customers told Wendy’s over Twitter how they felt about Pretzal Bacon Cheeseburgers, and Wendy’s proved that they were listening to their followers by taking all the tweets about their new burger, and turning them into song lyrics and posted the videos on YouTube for users to enjoy. Wendy’s stock flew up, and they even made the news.

Social listening allows you to discover what social media users are saying about your brand, and your competitor’s brand. According to Listeners Never Lose by Evan Dunn, social listening refers to any software that searches social networks and websites for mentions of a keyword. Social listening allows companies to get unsolicited, high quantity information about what consumers think about their product. HootSuite is software that is capable of social listening. In HootSuite you can set-up social listening by creating a new stream for the keyword you want to listen for. To listen effectively, you need to check the conversations tab at least once a day to see what is being said about your keyword.

I have been learning about HootSuite these last few days. HootSuite is a social media management system that allows you to post to multiple social media platforms at a time. This can be useful occasionally, but in general, it is best to customize the content you publish to each platform to ensure you are following the customs of each site. HootSuite provides much more than a place to send out content from to platforms, it also allows you to track what people are saying about your brand on social media, track analytics, and team collaboration space. I will be taking the HootSuite certification exam Wednesday- wish me luck!

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