What’s the best social media platform for your business? How long should your Facebook posts be? What about IG stories and videos? Here’s a quick cheat sheet, full of easy fixes that will go a long way when it comes to maximising your social media reach.
Facebook marketing enables your brand to create a dialogue with both existing and potential customers, in turn increasing loyalty and customer satisfaction. It’s also an effective way to reach a whole new market. When your post is shared, it’s like getting an endorsement. That’s organic social validation, and the best way to get noticed by people who might not know your brand.
Another reason to use Facebook is to create buzz and invite guests to events. Hosting the launch of a new product, or a charity run? Facebook is where you want to post that information first.
Ideal length: An ideal Facebook post should be no longer than 40 characters, according to social media management tool Buffer. That’s the optimal length for your updates to receive up to 86% more responses than posts with a higher character count. The shorter, clearer and engaging the post is, the more customers will be inclined to engage via comments, likes and shares.
Frequency: You need to post consistently to keep momentum going. Try starting with one post a day and experiment from there.
Visuals: Make sure your posts include photos or videos, as the posts with strong visuals generally receive more interactions.
Communication: Make it super easy for your customers to contact with your business. Call to action buttons include “call now”, “book now”, “use app”, “play game”, “shop now”, “sign up”, and “watch video.” Play with them, and see what works best for your business. And be sure to respond to messages is a timely manner!
Good to know: Facebook provides multiple marketing platforms tools – Pages, Groups and Ads – so you can fully customize the platform to suit your business.
No social media marketing strategy is complete without Instagram, at least not outside of mainland China. The vast majority of businesses have already embraced the platform: According to Sprout Social, 70% of Instagram hashtags are branded. Essentially, your competitors are already on top of Instagram, and you should be too.
As a rule of thumb, a good Instagram post is conversational, interesting, and highly visual. In terms of tone, try to talk to your audience – not at them. Just like FB, you want followers to share and comment on your content. The more followed engagement your posts get, the easier it is for users to find your account, since Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes content with higher engagement.
Reposting, or regramming, your followers’ images, for instance, is an excellent way of interacting and connecting with customers. You might also try giveaways, contests and evocative questions, which encourages engagement and fosters brand loyalty. Posts like “Caption this image,” “Share a time when…”, or “Tag a friend to win…,” are smart ways to boost your brand’s following and presence.
Hashtags: They’re not as complicated as they seem, but they are very important. Here are a few pointers:
- Use targeted hashtags, not random ones.
- Avoid overused tags: Adding #travel or #instagood won’t make your update stand out, as these hashtags garner millions of posts.
- Don’t spam: Keep hashtags relevant to the image you’re showing.
- Find niche hashtags within your industry. This increases the chances of attracting your ideal audience. A quick Google search will show you a good list to use as a reference. Alternatively, try Postplanner or Soldsie.
- Branded hashtags – specific tags that only apply to your brand – are a must. Create a hashtag using your business’s name, the name of a product, a slogan, etc. They’ll be an essential part of your IG marketing campaigns.
Timing: A recent poll found that the best time to post on Instagram is between 7-9pm. This is a good rule of thumb in general but does not necessarily apply to your target audience. To ensure your posts are effective, find the best times to post for your ideal customer. How? Through a social listening tool that monitors when your audience is online.
Frequency: Aim to post one to three times a day (major brands post 1.5 times a day on average). Whatever you do, be consistent: the best number of posts for your business is the one you can keep up with. Generally, always go for quality over quantity.
Visuals: IG started off as a photo-led social media platform, and it still is. Using strong, beautiful imagery will make your audience want to come back for more, and yes, buy your products. According to one study, 93% of purchasing decisions are based on visual appearance.
Caption length: Instagram posts should have compelling captions that add value, each no longer than 138 to 150 characters. Most people scroll through their feed quickly, so it makes sense to keep your captions short and sweet. Same for sponsored posts: Instagram recommends keeping the captions under 125 characters. Remember: snappy copy is easier and more enjoyable to consume.
Another way to jazz up your captions is with a call to action (CTA). CTAs encourage the customer to do something – engage with the post, leave a comment, share, read an article, visit your website, purchase a product, and so on.
Stories and Videos: Snappy, playful and informal, Instagram Stories help you show your business’ human side and boost engagement. Keep in mind that they should be short, punchy and visual with a clear CTA. While IG Stories are informal, they should still be coherent with a beginning, middle and end, and last no more than a few seconds.
Instagram videos, which display in the main feed, can more polished and longer, though we wouldn’t recommend going beyond 30 seconds. IGTV is where you can invest more time and production value – up to 60 minutes, in fact, if you have a verified account.
Account takeovers: Once you’ve got the basics down, try a takeover, where different personalities manage the feed for a day. This could be anything from various members of your team (perhaps they offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse into your company) to a photographer, influencer, or celebrity.
Over 500 million professionals use LinkedIn. That means organic attention is hard to get on the platform – which is why knowing when, what and how to post can be a boon for your company.
First things first: while Facebook and Instagram are great for campaigns and customer engagement, LinkedIn is all about tapping into professional connections, developing thought leadership and generating leads.
Getting started: Create a detailed “Company Page”. According to insights provided to Hootsuite from LinkedIn, completed Company Pages generally receive twice as many visitors than those with incomplete pages.
Frequency: Ventures that post at least once per month generally gain followers six times faster than those that don’t.
Types of posts: Linkedin isn’t about trying to sell something. Your posts should be updates on your company – new team members, results, achievements etc – hot takes on the business, or op-ed on certain topics, which you can share on the network’s publishing platform.
Length: As with all other types of social updates, it’s best to keep LinkedIn updates short. Because of the “See More” button, your message will be cut off at the 140 character mark. As a general rule of thumb, stick to 25 words or less.
Articles: This is where you can really shed some light on your expertise and business acumen. LinkedIn Articles can be shorter, 600-word blog posts or head into the thousands. According to Inc, articles under 1,000 words perform best, garnering a higher number of post views, likes, comments, and shares.
Videos: Since 2017, you can also upload videos that will play automatically in your followers’ feeds. Technically, they can run up to 10 minutes, but according to LinkedIn best practices, videos under 30 seconds are ideal.
The bottom line
Facebook: Facebook is ideally suited to small business, as it allows you to fine-tune your target audience and engage in conversations. It’s also your best bet for posting event details and building a community around your brand.
Instagram: Instagram is great for retail, lifestyle, travel and beauty brands. Based on image-driven posts, the platform creates aspirational visual content. It’s also great for running marketing campaigns that drive traffic and engagement.
LinkedIn: Linkedin is an excellent tool, but it’s less social about customers and more about discovering business leads and sharing professional insights.