The Unconventional Guide to Social Media
About 3.5 billion people use social media worldwide, and with every new generation comes an even greater number of social media users.
The market research company, eMarketer, breaks down the statistics.
48.2% of baby boomers,
77.5% of Gen x,
and 90.4% of millennials
were active social media users. And these numbers aren’t slowing down.
As social media becomes a more integrated part of the daily lives of consumers, it provides companies with countless opportunities to reach their target audience.
But there’s a new wave of consumers that are immune to advertising. Yes, immune.
Purely salesy content doesn’t make the cut anymore. People scroll past countless promotional posts every day.
Why should they stop to look at yours?
Most companies understand the importance of consistent posting and maintaining a following, but you must look beyond these familiar standards.
Here are some unconventional rules to expanding and improving your company’s social media platforms.
1. Give Your Brand a Personality
People don’t expect perfection. But, according to Shama Kabani, author of The Zen of Social Media Marketing, what consumers are looking for is humanity and a genuine response.
Companies taking a more active approach on social media trigger an increasing amount of engagement on their posts.
Posting regularly, responding to comments, and answering private messages makes a difference.
The way you interact with your customers can make or break your business. This is just as true online as it is for face-to-face communication.
Social media gives you the unique opportunity to connect with consumers on a more personal level.
To do this effectively, align your social media strategy to your business’s overall purpose.
Let’s take a look at Netflix.
As huge and seemingly untouchable as Netflix appears, the company still found a way to break through the screen, relate to its audience, and find its voice.
Rather than simply posting promotional photos and videos, it uses its social platforms as an engine to keep Netflix shows and movies at the forefront of pop-culture conversation.
And this doesn’t go unnoticed.
Netflix has nearly 30 million followers on Instagram alone. Its social platforms give the appearance of a huge fan who lives for TV and movies.
By posting memes, personalized content, and sometimes even mocking the very audience it seeks, people are drawn to its genuinely funny and relatable content.
In the words of a leading media and entertainment company Refinery29, Netflix transformed “from a DVD delivery service to a studio for originals to a meme generator.”
Too often companies fall into a robotic posting process that consumers can spot right away for being calculated and ingenuine.
Interestingly enough, Netflix does not have a strict approval process for posting on social platforms.
Instead, the company says it’s “dedicated to increasing employee freedom to fight the python of process.”
This minimized emphasis on process may be the reason Netflix’s social platforms create such an inviting and open dialogue between audience members without ever feeling forced.
The streaming company maintains relevancy by incorporating trendy songs, cultural references, and relatable obsessions into its posts while simultaneously promoting its TV shows and movies.
Its social media strategy perfectly aligns with the company’s purpose.
It’s obvious – Netflix lives to entertain.
2. Find a Way To Spin Negative Comments Into a Positive Customer Experience
Not only does social media provide consumers an outlet to share their positive experiences with businesses, but it allows them to express their criticisms as well.
Don’t ignore negative comments. And worse, never delete them.
Sincerely apologize to the customer, analyze the issue, then take steps to resolve it – and do this all in a timely manner.
Don’t make angry customers wait for a response. This only gives them more time to spread negative information about your company, whether that be online or word of mouth.
Customers appreciate honesty and your willingness to help, even if they sometimes seem past the point of forgiveness.
Some companies have separate Twitter accounts dedicated to publicly responding to customer feedback and questions, such as SpotifyCares and Xbox Support.
Some people believe that responding to negative comments brings more attention to them when they otherwise might not have even been seen. But here’s the thing – you want to bring the attention to them.
Responding to negative feedback creates transparency and trust between the business and its consumers.
If you feel a customer’s complaint needs to be dealt with privately, respond publicly with a simple, “Hi, I just direct messaged you.
Let’s work together to solve this issue,” then privately dive deeper into the problem.
When people see that your company is willing to go out of their way to help you resolve an issue, they are more likely to buy your service/product in the
future because they see that complaints are taken seriously and your company will fix problems as they arise.
3. Know when your audience is more likely to engage with your posts.
Timing is a crucial part of social media marketing.
You work hard to create personalized content for your social platforms, so shouldn’t you give them the best chance of being seen?
There are certain days and times of the week when posts are more likely to appear higher in your followers’ feed and show the most numbers of audience engagement.
Unmetric, an online market research company which specializes in social media analytics, collected data from 100 U.S. brands between Nov. 15 and Dec. 22, 2017.
This chart communicates the number of audience interactions per post on each day of the week, with an almost parabolic curve.
Their research revealed the best day and time to post is around 11 a.m. on Wednesdays, with Sundays coming in close second.
Fridays, however, proved to have the least number of audience engagement.
The social media analytics company also found that audience interactions began decreasing after 5 p.m.
Posting videos can sometimes present different statistics and a less predictable curve.
Unmetric found that videos received the highest number of comments between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.
The data then showed a considerable decrease in comments between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. but rose again an hour later.
It’s important to note that these statistics aren’t perfect and can sometimes differ depending on the content type or social media platform.
For instance, Pinterest users are statistically known to have increasing engagement on the platform between 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Routinely comparing the days and times your posts receive the greatest number of engagements on each individual platform will help to best determine your company’s personal posting schedule.
Because it would be extremely difficult for every post to be made “live,” software providers have come up with solutions to make posting on social platforms manageable.
There are numerous tools online, such as Hootsuite, TweetDeck, and Loomly, to help schedule content to be posted at specific times.
This might be a worthwhile investment for companies looking to improve and track their audience engagement.
There is no question that every company should utilize multiple social media outlets to build their brand and improve audience engagement, and now you know how to do this successfully.
Don’t conform to advanced algorithm and calculated posts.
Instead, identify and provide the kind of experience your target audience desires.
Netflix entertains – both on its streaming service and social media platforms. Like Spotify, respond to negative comments and publicly resolve issues to create trust and transparency with your customers.
Lastly, seize the opportunity to post when your audience is most likely to see and engage with it.
According to Oberlo, the average person spends three hours a day on social media.
Let’s make those three hours count.