Let’s talk social media. Depending on who you are, you’re either rolling your eyes and closing this tab while you open up your printed-on-paper magazine/newspaper, or rolling your eyes and wondering out aloud what an older person in their 30s could possibly have to say about the dinosaur platforms that they use. If you’re the former, you’re probably on Facebook and maybe even my parents’ age in which case I’ll like to do the world a service right now and say: Don’t believe everything you read in Facebook! Don’t rabbithole YouTube! The moon landing is real! 9-11 isn’t a conspiracy! Ghosts aren’t coming out of the walls! *deep breath* If you’re the latter, gerroff my lawn and take your Snapchat/Periscope/whatever with you. No, wait! Teach me how to use Snapchat! …Just kidding. I know you’re all on Instagram stories now. Which I confess I don’t use often, save to engage in the time-honoured tradition of having picture-based social media in the first place: posting endless content about my cats.
Posting on social media is very much a microcosm for our time. You shout into the void and sometimes the void shouts back. That’s usually unpleasant. Having had a couple of posts go viral before on twitter, after a few hours you’re pretty much just praying the deluge is going to stop, and if you’re lucky, your viral post hasn’t brought any trolls to your yard or worse.
The void is segmented — depending on your age, circumstances, and culture, you’d probably prefer one app over another. Well-meaning diagrams like the following one often just heavily study a certain pocket of users (Western countries, English-speaking) and ignore most of the rest of the world, so take them with a grain of salt:
For example, WeChat above actually has a billion users — according to statistics, only Facebook (2.1) and WhatsApp (1.5) have more. Yes, it’s more popular than Instagram, Twitter, and all the other social media platforms you likely use or have heard of. It even has an inbuilt payment system, which you might have seen pop up in some of the Asian restaurants in Melbourne, making it ubiquitous in a way that some other social media platforms can only dream of.
In that sense, a post like this is meaningless. With social media so diverse and used all over the world, what does a post setting down rules about timings and content matter? It’ll be as useless as those endless lists you see about writing advice. That being said, when we post, chances are we’re not looking to reach everyone in the world, only a particular audience. Especially if you’re an Aussie brand. You’ve likely already got a target market — if you don’t, we can help figure it out for you — and from their habits, you can work from there.
Navigating Social Media
As part of our work for clients in the digital space, we often create original content, repackage older content, and used mixed media to sustain engagement and create leads. Nobody wants to follow a random company’s page unless there’s something about it that’s worth their time. This is easier for some clients than most — for example, more people are naturally going to be more inclined to follow something like Sea Shepherd than the Instagram page of a car parts company or something. We’ve successfully pushed the public to clients’ digital platforms through considered strategies that we tailor-make for each client depending on their needs. This can include anything from coming up with competitions to having a ready-to-go roster of facts and fun content.
It’s possible for clients to run all this in-house if they want to, of course. Still, unless you have social media managers in-house, chances are, the poor admin person you’ve tasked with updating your Facebook hasn’t been trained to do so. This can lead to inefficient posting or worse — inappropriate posting. It’s important to have someone around ready to respond to customers on social media and the digital space in a polite and professional manner. Whether you outsource that is up to you, but it’s often good to have a strategy in place regardless. We often work with clients’ in-house marketing to create more effective strategies.
Effective Posting in General
There are any number of posts out there about when you should post on social media, and many of them are contradictory, so we won’t get into that. Suffice to say it isn’t often a huge stretch of logic. When do you often check social media? During breakfast and your lunch break, yes? Maybe on the commute home after work? Depending on which target market you’re looking at, if you post around these times, chances are whatever you’re writing won’t fall into a black hole. Experiment with your existing audience to see what times work best for which posts.
As to which social media platform works the best, well. Facebook is still king, at least in the bits of the world where it hasn’t been banned or supplanted by other apps.
Content matters. Is the image attached to your post in the right resolution and crop? Is there even an image? Is the content something people would want to — in other words, is it clickbaity? Worth someone’s time? Funny? Or are you being a non-automated can of processed pork product? The more value you add to someone’s life, the more likely they’re going to come back to you for more. If you can’t make it visually interesting, at least make sure it’s readable. Note that spreading misinformation in 2019 is quite likely to bite you quickly in the butt, and few things will damage your brand more than it being seen as untrustworthy by the masses. Be very careful about what you can state and what you can’t. Don’t post factoids that you’ve found off Facebook. Even if you’re sure that something you’re posting is right, you should also be careful about the language you use. Is it respectful? Something that you’d be happy saying out loud offline? Be inclusive. That means being respectful to everyone, including the disabled, marginalised genders and sexualities, and other minorities.
+ Post during a time that works for your audience. Test different times to check whether it has an effect on engagement.
+ Tailor-make content for your target audience that benefits them in some way.
+ Don’t lie or intentionally spread misinformation.
+ Make sure the content is readable.
+ Don’t be offensive — unintentionally or not.
+ Be as inclusive as possible.
Need a chat on any of the above? Get in touch.