Thanks to everyone who came to our free social media clinic at Riva Lounge, Flemingate on the 17th November. We are proper chuffed that so many of you turned out to speak to us, and we hope that the help and advice we gave will be fruitful to you in your future social media marketing endeavours.
For those that couldn’t come, or didn’t find out about it until afterwards, please sign up to our newsletter. We may run some more events in 2018 which could be of interest to you.
In the meantime, here are some of the issues that we dealt with and the answers that we provided.
A few words about Twitter
Our first query came from a local branch of a national company who deal with children and families. The head office wants their local branches to be more active on social media but HQ is in control of the main Facebook page. The local branch was unable to put too much stuff on the main page and was not really finding it a good way of reaching local people. Growth has been sluggish to non-existent. What can they do?
We advised that an alternative network such as Twitter could be a good option. Twitter is sharper and faster and much easier to use in many respects. You can also find, target, and follow local people in a way you can’t on Facebook without paying. You can join in local Twitter hours such as……..
- #YorkshireHour Wednesdays 8pm to 9pm
- #BeverleyHour Tuesdays 8pm to 9pm
- #HullHour Thursdays 8pm to 9pm
While all of these may not be active every week, there are people that do follow these hashtags and using them will increase your reach amongst a local audience.
Twitter tends to be quite a general audience but one that it is more affluent and better educated than on Facebook.
You should use hashtags on Twitter – about three per tweet is ideal. Don’t hashtag every word! Spend time looking through relevant hashtags to find people to follow, and to join in conversations.
If you want to know how to be more active on Twitter, Joanne has written an ebook which is a bargain price! You can learn more and purchase it at http://ow.ly/U9O030gKR9i
Anyway, back to Twitter
Many new users are scared of following too many people on Twitter as they think it will make their home page/timeline unmanageable. It will. But that’s why we have lists. Learn how to use lists and make use of them.
For following, have a look at your competitors and see what they are doing well. Take a look at who is following them and follow their followers yourself. If they’re interested in your competitor, they may be interested in you too. If they’re not, and they don’t follow back, then you can always use a tool like Tweepi to have a following clear out.
Twitter is a great social media network. If you’re put off by using it for your business because you’re not familiar with it otherwise, then get familiar!
Is Facebook always the best platform for widest reach?
A local gent was setting up a business aimed at 18 – 30-year-olds and was finding Facebook a real struggle. Any tips?
Yes, use something else! Younger people, if they are on Facebook, are not active on there as much as older people. Younger people, especially teens, prefer to use Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram. If you want to target this age group, you need to hang out where they hang out, and it’s not on the un-cool Facebook, sorry.
With all social media marketing, you need to be where your audience is. If your primary social media marketing channel is the one you’re most familiar with, then you need to step outside your comfort zone, especially when you are not your own target market.
- Targeting teens? You need Instagram and Snapchat
- Targeting 30-something females planning a wedding? You need Pinterest
- Targeting over 40s business owners? You need LinkedIn
- Targeting over 60s with a more general B2C product or service? You need Facebook (but you might need to pay to make it work for you!)
A great article about getting the most from Instagram >> https://blog.bufferapp.com/instagram-marketing-tips-studies
And one from us – beware the Insta-bots https://socialbods.co.uk/blog/instagram-the-march-of-the-bots/
And one from the boss – What is Instagram?
The third question came from a local therapist who was concerned her analytics weren’t recording properly. A couple of questions and we established that it was from her website rather than social media analytics.
As social media professionals, we are expected to know about lots of other things too. We often get asked to help a client SEO a website, or do some graphic design for some leaflets. While we can do these things, there are people out there who have these specialist skills. We suggested the lady will need to ask her web developer instead, or try again to install the analytics. We did sound like we knew what we were talking about when we mentioned putting meta tags in the header code, but website technicians we are not.
All about hashtags
So, we moved on to Hashtags. Why do people use hashtags on Facebook?
The glib answer to this is because they are annoying. The long answer is that there are many reasons why people use hashtags, even though Facebook generally doesn’t like them as a rule.
- To join in with internet memes such as #ThrowbackThursday. You may or may not be able to search this hashtag on Facebook but it adds context to your content.
- Because for pages with a lot of followers (I think it’s about 5k – 10k followers) hashtags do actually work. If you have less than 1,000 followers, you should avoid using hashtags as it damages reach.
- Because some things are set up automatically. For example, if you cross-post from Instagram from within the Instagram app or using something like IFTTT, then it carries the hashtags across. Some people get around this by putting all the hashtags in the first comment. For others, depending on how things are set up, it’s trickier. Facebook makes the assumption that you’re lazy and don’t care enough to remove the hashtags, so suppresses your reach. That’s the theory anyway!
For Twitter, hashtags allow people to follow a conversation on a specific topic, potentially opening up your content to a much wider audience than just those that follow you. Use hashtags that are relevant to what you do – people search on Twitter like they do on Google, so if you can use keywords in your content, then do so.
For Instagram, hashtags are essential in telling Instagram what the image is about and how to categorise it. There are whole communities on Instagram built up around specific hashtags and if you can infiltrate that community with some well-placed and engaging images then all the better. Just keep them relevant.
There is good evidence to suggest that nine hashtags are optimal for Instagram – too few and the reach is low, too many and Instagram assumes it’s spam. Use sparingly and appropriately.
Is timing everything on social media?
Next – when is the best time to post on social media?
The obvious answer to this is – when your audience is online.
BUT if you do post when your audience is online, then so are your competitors, so competition for people to look at your content is increased. In reality, it’s a balance between posting when lots of people can potentially see it, and posting when your competitors are not. For example, 4 am is a time to post that will pretty much guarantee there won’t be a lot of competition, however, how many people will be around to see it is another matter.
You should refer to the analytics and insights provided by Facebook and Twitter to see when your followers are generally online, but also take this with a pinch of salt. It’s best to think about your ideal audience and when they are likely to be able to see your content. If you’re trying to reach parents of school-aged children for example, then sending something out during the witching hours of 3 pm to 7 pm is probably pointless. You should tailor your content to the audience you want, not the audience you have. Yes, Facebook may tell you that all your followers are more active in the morning but are they the audience that is actually going to buy from you? Some thought around who you’re actually trying to reach will help you.
The best tip is to try different times on different days and see how you get on, although, from experience, we know that it’s hard to replicate the success of something that happened in the past. Some things are just down to luck and the black magic that is social media.
Even better tip – when you have a reasonable number of followers on Twitter (500+), then use Tweriod to run a report into your audience. It’s free.
Is it worth paying for Facebook advertising?
Next up was a fellow marketing professional who asked whether we thought that boosting posts is better value on Facebook than paid ads.
Our view is that in general, if you want to be successful as a business on Facebook then paying to play every now and again is wise. We have found that boosting an existing post can be much better value per click/like than a paid advert to promote the page to Facebook users. Often, we will create a post with the intention of boosting it at a later date. These posts will be created with a general unfamiliar audience in mind rather than being aimed squarely at existing fans who are familiar with what you do.
Facebook can be hard to grow organically for commercial companies. Facebook is trying hard to be fair to businesses while optimising user experience and keeping as many people active on the platform as possible. If more people want to see more posts from friends and family, Facebook knows this and it pushes content from commercial companies further down on the priority list. This makes it hard for commercial companies to get their content seen and paying to boost a post is a good solution – however, you should pay to give successful content a wider reach rather than paying to prop up poorly performing content.
“Can you make something go viral?”
What is viral content?
Viral content is when something spreads beyond the virtual four walls; the content has an appeal beyond the established fan base. There aren’t really any numbers assigned to something being classed as ‘viral’. Viral is hard to do. If we knew the trick to making something go viral, then we’d be doing it all the time. The fact is that viral is a mix of good content which people want to share and luck.
One secret to making something have a good reach on social media is to make it happen. When you see something trending on Twitter, for example, there’s a reasonable chance that it was made to trend – people got together elsewhere such as on a private forum and decided on a topic, hashtag, and a time and date. People think that being popular on social media happens by magic, whereas the reality is often because of a lot of hard work behind the scenes.
Don’t get hung up on social media popularity. You want to get good reach and engagement on social media? Share cat videos. Honestly, cat videos do very well. But unless you’re in the pet industry, what does it mean? Cat videos attract an audience of cat lovers. Is your target audience cat lovers? If not, then you have to question why you’re looking to build up your popularity with them.
The top tip for any business looking to reach their target market on social media is to share content that is relevant to their target market. Stay on brand as much as possible. Yes, your audience will be smaller but it will be more appropriate to your marketing goals.
It’s much easier to be successful on social media when you’re sharing things that people want to engage in. It’s a fact that some products or services are a much harder sell than others. Don’t be disheartened if other businesses seem to be having more success than you – it might just be that they’re dealing with something that would be popular with others, online or otherwise. Persevere.
Social Media is a two-way relationship
Use social media for listening
As exemplified by the case of attendees finding out about our social media clinic through social media, you should use social media to spot opportunities rather than just reaching potential customers. Use social media to ‘listen’ to what is going on – in your local area, in your industry, or in the wider community.
Use it to see what your competitors are doing. To find new suppliers. To spot opportunities to get involved with community events. Social media is a two-way process.
Pinterest: The under-rated social network which isn’t really a social network
So hands up who is on Pinterest?
About half of the room were users of Pinterest. Others hadn’t even heard of it, or had but didn’t see how it was useful to them.
Pinterest is one of those social media networks you either get on with or you don’t. Really, it’s not actually a social media network, and if you consider it as more of a visual search engine then you might find you get on with it much better.
To find out more about Pinterest, what it is, and how you can use it to promote your cause, see http://joannebrady.co.uk/blog/how-to-pinterest/
You can even get traffic to your website from Pinterest without being too active on there yourself. Here’s how…. http://joannebrady.co.uk/blog/how-to-get-traffic-from-pinterest-without-being-on-pinterest/
The big advantage of Pinterest over other networks is the longevity. You can still be found on Pinterest and get traffic from it months, even years after you shared your content. For the right company, Pinterest can be a fruitful source of traffic.
Social media analytics
Nearly at the end, and a gent wanted to know more about social media analytics
Our summary is basically:-
There is no need to pay for an expensive package to measure stats. All social media networks have some sort of analytics built in which are as good as it gets and are free. You may have to activate a business account (mainly on Pinterest and Instagram) to access these analytics but you shouldn’t have to pay for them.
LinkedIn audience demographic data isn’t as reliable as that in Facebook and Twitter, but again, you should write for the audience you want, not the audience you have. Your analytics might tell you that your social media fans are females aged 20 to 40, but if they’re not the biggest buyers of your product (you will need to compare your social media stats to other stats you have such as from your eCommerce store), then you might want to change your social media marketing strategy so that your social media audience aligns with your actual customer demographic.
Can I get a Facebook page back?
Last but not least, a lady had taken over the marketing of her local branch of a national organisation and the lady who set up and run the page previously had not handed the Facebook page over. They were having problems trying to get the lady to hand it over as she had left the organisation acrimoniously and the new people wanted to know how to get the page handed over to them.
This is a tricky one. It’s far easier if they can convince the old page admin to add a new page admin, and then take the old one off. Like WAY easier.
However, if you are hitting a brick wall then you can appeal to Facebook. You will need to be able to prove ownership of the brand name represented on the page. It’s a manual job and could take some time.
This is how you do it. On the Facebook page you want back under your control, click the three dots in the header image, and click on ‘Report page’. Check the box that says that they are using your intellectual property. You will then be asked to complete a form. Be clear with them what has happened. Tell them the admin on the page is an ex-employee (or volunteer) and they have left and refused to hand the page over. Give it a week or so, and if you’ve heard nothing, get others to do it too. – Good luck!
It’s always wise to have more than one person as an admin on a Facebook page, especially for an organisation where people come and go all the time. The trick is, when it turns acrimonious, is to get that person off the page ASAP before they get rid of you.
You can set levels on a page so only one person is an admin, and others have reduced rights such as being able to post and respond to content (editor), or just look behind the scenes (analyst). Admin means you have the power to do everything associated with the page including add new people and kick people off again.
Hope this helped! We would be grateful to anyone who attended the clinic leaving us a review on our Facebook page. If you’d like to be kept informed of future events, please email us and we will add you to our mailing list, or you can add yourself at http://eepurl.com/bQK66P