Once you have chosen the right networks for your company’s online presence and gauged how much time you have to devote to them (with the help of my previous article1), you can at last move on to the heart of the matter: what to share! Your online presence, especially on social networks, will be assimilated to your company’s “voice”, so the content you post and how you go about it should reflect your values, your vision and your brand. We will run through the various criteria to take into consideration in this article.
Depending on the context you are in, you communicate in different ways. For instance, you wouldn’t have the same topics of conversation, the same tone, the same casualness or even the same way of introducing yourself at a professional event or at the gym. It’s the same when it comes to social networks: even if the content is similar, how you present it, the tone and even the visual you use should be different on every one of your networks. Users (your prospective customers!!) expect a certain type of content, and if you aren’t delivering it, not only will you have little engagement but your posts will be less and less visible and your efforts will be fruitless. For similar reasons, I do not recommend using tools that automatically repost your content from one network onto the others. It is beneficial to take a few extra minutes to tailor your posts to each network. Next, how to know what users on different networks actually expect? I could list off a handful of generalities, but Google will give you more specific information for your particular case 😉. When you’re dealing with statistics, do be sure to check the demographics! How Europeans use the social networks, for example, can significantly differ from how Americans (or others) use them.
How can you keep your various pages up-to-date without spending hours creating content? Easy: no one says all your posts have to be your own! There’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time. Think about your community: what do they want to see, what “depth” of information? If you can dig up relevant content with the right tone, they will see great added value. Outside content has another advantage – you can spend a few hours compiling a list of great content and diffuse it onto your networks over the course of several weeks, giving you a continuous and high-quality online presence even if you have little time to devote to it (Buffer2 can be a helpful tool for this).
The real challenge is to find the right balance. Posting only external content makes you more of a media than anything else and your brand identity will fade into the various sources you use. You need to do some of both, and the optimal proportions depend on your target community, the network, your industry and your available time.
Have you ever started following seemingly promising young businesses… only to unsubscribe a few days later, completely flooded by their posts? It’s frustrating and can tarnish your interest for the company… So why do some pages post so very much? The main reason is usually that social network’s algorithms boost pages with “fresh” new content, and the easiest way to fit that category is to post constantly… Once again, think about your clientele: how often are they on the network in question? How much of your content are they willing to consume? It should come as no surprise, but I am not able to give you the magic formula since it doesn’t exist! Learn about your target clientele, look into what your competition or partners are doing, how they are perceived, and try to find the right formula for you.
You looooove inspirational quotes, so your customers must too and will surely be delighted to read yours every other day, right? If you’ve read this far, you know what’s coming: it’s all about finding the right balance for the types of content you post. A page that offers a variety of formats is more enjoyable to read (increasing popularity with your community, their engagement and a certain form of loyalty) than a “mono-content” page. So take time to list the range of possibilities and alternate: image / video, lightweight / in-depth content, about your sector / about your business, your products / behind-the-scenes, etc. The list is near endless! Keep in mind that the diversity you post will go a long way toward getting your community hooked on your brand, so stay authentic.
To organize your thoughts, I recommend first coming up with a list on your own, then requesting input from people within your target (whether you know them or not): what are their favorite pages? What depth of information? Etc. Concoct a first content distribution scheme from that data and use an editorial calendar to establish a well-spaced-out social media posting schedule. To help with this, you can turn to tools such as Canva3. Try it out for a few weeks, check your stats (which we will discuss in an upcoming post!) and readjust your posting schedule as necessary.
A question I get a lot… Can you add hashtags, on which networks, and how many? Just to quickly provide context - hashtags are keywords generally added at the end of a post with two main advantages: they allow users who are unfamiliar with your brand to find you via the keywords in your posts, and they can increase the visibility of your content on search engines (to a lesser degree). It’s easy to see why some pages have more hashtags than text… but heaping shovelfuls of hashtags can make your posts less readable and are not necessarily well seen by your community, who might (even unconsciously) view it as an “aggressive marketing” tactic. It can also take away from the authenticity of the content you post. This doesn’t mean they should be prohibited. Just be sure to choose carefully: what is most relevant to your line of business? Check your entourage for inspiration, and test the hashtags you are considering using: they might not bring up the type of content you have in mind (and I speak from experience)!
As you can now see, building a communication strategy for social networks will likely take longer than you had planned: it will take a certain amount of research and verifications, and will fine-tune over time. And if all goes well, your social network presence will become a valuable ally not only for your everyday communications but also for your sales!
So go dissect your favorite pages with all of this in mind 😉 I look forward to seeing what you post on your pages!
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