The meteoric rise of social media as a legitimate marketing strategy has brought a lot of attention to the big players like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Small, medium and large businesses alike are all out there trying to figure out the best strategies and tactics to best utilize this free form of digital marketing using things like paid social media ads, influencer marketing, guest profile takeovers and countless other advanced and guerrilla style strategies to be one step ahead of the competition. We aren’t going to cover those strategies in this post. Instead, we’re going to focus on the one thing that is the epicenter and groundwork of every social media channel and the basis of how effective a social campaign will be. We’re talking, of course, about:
The Social Media Post.
In this blog post we want to serve up 10 things that every single social media post should checkoff before hitting that “Publish” button. These serve as the basics of any social media post. They are the items whose goal is to not only will satisfy what a user wants to see but to satisfy what each social networks algorithm wants to see. The more you satisfy both the user and the algorithm the more visibility your posts, and ultimately, you brand will receive.
Social Media Posting Best Practices
1. Be concise with your post captions. People won’t read everything you write, there just isn’t time for it, so try to keep your content as short as possible while still relaying your ultimate message. Not to mention most social media channels don’t show to entire contents of what you just typed so this would require a user to take an extra step to see the entirety of it. Facebook, for example will only show the first three lines of a post — plan accordingly.
2. ALWAYS have a visual. For the benefit of the user and the algorithm. No visual = fewer people seeing the post. Every post you create does better with a photo, graphic, video, drawing, map, graph or something else visual that represents your idea. Visual posts get significantly higher traffic than those that don’t include a graphic because of the way social algorithms prioritize those posts that have a visual of some kind.
3. Less text in an image the better. Social networks don’t necessarily like images with a lot of text in them. They will show them to fewer people. We’ve tested this and can confirm the legitimacy of this. Some text is ok, but an image that is almost all text will be shown to fewer people in the Feeds. Try to use visually striking images that are colorful and light to draw a users attention and then use the status area to convey the rest of your message.
4. Always have a CTA (Call to Action). Whether it be a link to your website or simply saying “contact us now” CTA’s will actually psychologically put the idea to make an action into a user’s head that they normally would not have. Also, great ways to get engagement on a post, which will help the algorithm show the post to more people, is by saying things like “comment below” or “like if you’re excited” etc. These things help garner organic engagement which spreads quickly online. The more engagement on a post organically, the more social media algorithms show the post to other users.
5. Post Image + Video Sizes: For Facebook & Instagram your posts should either be sized to a square (600 x 600 and bigger) or what’s called the golden ratio (940 x 788). The reason for this (and Facebook even recommends this) is that these sizes help your post take up more real estate in a user’s news feed as they are browsing around (especially on mobile devices). For Twitter posts should try to be around 1024 x 512 because of how images are displayed here. Twitter displays their image differently in their feeds so be aware of how an image is displayed across multiple social media channels.
6. Use Hashtags (appropriately): A must on Instagram and Twitter to find new users and followers. There are a number of apps and websites that will help you find relevant hashtags to use for your relevant users. Users can now actually follow specific hashtags that they are interested in so it’s important to be using hashtags relevant to your business. Find a good mix of broad Hashtags (things like #Food, #ShopLocal, etc.) and specific or branded hashtags (#webFEATComplete, #CincinnatiDigitalMarketing, etc.).
7. Follow the Rule of Thirds: This rule is more of a general strategy than a post by post one but it is an extremely important rule to follow if you want to organically grow your audience and promote authentic and organic page engagement. The rule of thirds states that to cover all of your bases and attract the optimal number of engaged users that you can by you should post:
- 1/3 Sales-y Content
- CTA’s, information on services, company promotions, etc.
- 1/3 Informative Content
- Blogs you’ve written, content from your website that helps users or is informational and useful in nature.
- 1/3 Misc.
- Inspirational quotes, motivational posts, fun memes/content, #TBT
- 1/3 Sales-y Content
The reasoning behind this rule is that users don’t like being sold to 24/7. It’s a turnoff and will actually deter people from following you on social media. By mixing up the content you are making sure that you are diversifying your content which will help diversify your audience.
8. Use Stories: The biggest and most effective medium taking over the social media landscape are IG/FB Stories. Stories (which could/will be an entire blog by itself) are the single most engaging types of posts on social network today. Take advantage of these “in-the-moment” style posts by routinely uploading engaging stories.
9. Use Video & Live Video often: Facebook has come right our and said it: they are rewarding pages/posts that are using video. They will actually give your post a boost if it is a video and an added boost if that video is at least 3 minutes long. It is built into their algorithm to show more video to more people so trying to post as much video content as possible is a smart decision.
10. Interact with your users: After you post something your job isn’t done. Replying to comments on your posts is extremely important. The engagement factor to replying to your posts is monumental because it shows the social network that the post is beneficial and interesting enough for users to comment on it, which in turn will trigger them to show that post to more users. Plus it also just looks good for your business to be active. Don’t ignore comments, messages, or tags. Stay on top of these and make sure you are replying quickly.
So there you have it. If you’re making sure to keep in mind all of these points as you go about crafting your social media posts you will be well on your way to organically growing your businesses social media following. Feel free to print this list out and hang it next to your computer as a reference each and every time you go to post something on your channels.
Now, go free young social media master and start your journey to social media dominance!