The world of social media is often classified as a noisy place. Posts become spammed with opinions, photos are shared and re-shared (and then shared again), and most of the time, newsfeeds become subject to thousands of BuzzFeed quizzes.
Today’s society not only thrives on digital, it depends on it, making it essential for brands to maintain a strong digital footprint. So how can your brand zone-out the noise and emerge from the clutter? Simple: Engage with your current follower base, social community and potential audiences in creative and compelling ways. Here are five ways to effectively communicate with your audience and steer clear of the social chaos:
1. Be Punctual
Be the life of the party, not fashionably late. The optimal time for your brand to post on social media channels is often referred to as the “golden hours,” or the hours your followers are already online.
According to Quick Sprout, golden hours vary based on the social media platform. However, here’s a helpful breakdown:
- Optimal Days: Thursday & Friday
- Optimal Times: 1 p.m. to get the most shares, 3 p.m. to get the most post clicks
- Optimal Days: Monday – Friday
- Optimal Times: 5 p.m. to get the highest number of retweets
- Optimal Days: Tuesday, Wednesdays & Thursday
- Optimal Times: 7 – 8 a.m. & 5 – 6 p.m.
- Optimal Day: Saturday
- Optimal Times: 8 – 11 p.m.
- Optimal Day: Monday
- Optimal Times: Off Work Hours (6 – 9 p.m.)
For more in-depth statistics, check out Quick Sprout’s infographic.
If your brand is targeting Millennials, aim to post on social after work hours, or after 6 p.m. Also, note that Millennials want to experience your brand. According to Eventbrite, nearly 80 percent of Millennials claim their best memories stem from events or live experiences they participated in. Tailoring your brand’s messages to trigger engagement is key, as it helps establish memorable experiences with your audience.
If your brand is targeting working professionals, avoid over posting during working hours because your audience is less likely to be engaged on social. Instead, post in the morning or later in the evening.
Two times where posting during the day is acceptable are during lunchtime hours or during the “afternoon slump” (3 p.m.). During these hours of the day, many individuals take a quick break from work, scrolling through social feeds to catch up on the latest and greatest news.
For additional help pinpointing your brand’s golden hours, consult insight / analytics tools like Facebook Insights or third party applications such as Likealyzer.
2. Be Relevant
Join in the conversation. Keep your posts relevant to current trends, including timely events, holidays and #trending topics. Relevant posts are happening in real-time, and people want to know what’s popular.
White and Gold or Black and Blue
Earlier this year, an image of a dress shared on Tumblr caused a worldwide, viral phenomenon. Users debated the color of the dress, as it was perceived two different ways: a blue dress with black accents or white dress with gold accents. Many users commented and shared the image of the dress, including celebrities and brands.
Salvation Army used this phenomenon to build a creative anti-violence campaign. The campaign not only featured the dress and the #blackandblue and #whiteandgold hash tags, but it also displayed a powerful message that resonated with social followers:
3. Be Sharp
Long, descriptive captions are a thing of the past. Your brand has less than six seconds to make an impact; otherwise, it’s just scrolled over. Short, punchy, clever taglines resonate with viewers. Your brand should showcase images with captions that make the picture come to life or include a component of story telling. Content should also be original and contain an entertainment factor to humanize the brand as well.
Let’s take a look at Instagram. This platform is entirely visual based, making it important for brands to share high-quality pictures or dynamic cinematography that tells a story. Captions should contain concise, relatable copy rather than a slew of irrelevant hash tags. And, captions should avoid being too sales-y. Instagram users are looking for humanistic content they can connect with, not scripted, business-centered ads. Here’s an example of an Instagram post from Oreo:
In this photo, Oreo is advertising for its new #OreoThins in a engaging way. Not only does the brand post a high-quality, dynamic image, but it also crafts a clever caption to compliment the picture (New#OreoThins: The Oreo you love, now thinner. Pairs perfectly with iced coffee and warm conversation). Oreo’s audience is extremely receptive to this witty post as it’s relatable and share-worthy.
4. Be Friendly
Engaging with your social community is important. Brands should keep the dialogue going by cross-promoting and posting user-generated material. Let your followers know about your other social media channels and how they can benefit from them. Additionally, if users are posting material involving your brand, product or lifestyle, show them you care by regramming or reposting their content.
Weight Watchers is a brand that excels at producing and promoting user-generated content. By regramming the brand’s followers’ user’s posts and images, Weight Watchers shows that it’s engaged with its audience. Fun fact: User-generated content is 50 percent more trusted by consumers than any other form of shared media (Mavrck). Engaging with your followers by commenting and liking when they post or mention your brand is a best practice. Let your followers know you are a real person, not a faceless business. Also, your audience is more likely to tell others their favorite brand re-tweeted, reported or shared their post. This creates a positive word-of-mouth reputation for your brand, which strengthens consumer trust and your reliability.
5. Be Smart with Targeting
Today, brands can create and promote posts and campaigns for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Using paid promotion to target users interested in your product, brand or service not only increases social visibility but also provides more engagement opportunities. In essence, paid promotion equals more exposure and elevated brand awareness.
Paid promotion on social also leverages your social media ads or boosted posts to drive traffic to your website. Platforms such as Facebook even offer the opportunity for your brand to target specific audiences based on demographics, including age, region, interests and zip codes. Ultimately, paid social can have a positive return on investment. Aside from significantly increasing the number of people exposed to your message, paid social initiatives open the opportunity for new sales by driving more users to your site.
The Bottom Line
It is imperative for your brand to deliver its message and establish a strong digital presence among the social chaos. The underlying truth about social media is that your brand not only needs to engage with audiences, but your brand needs to do it effectively. Developing strong social platforms won’t happen overnight—it takes effort, planning and trial and error. However, building up strong social platforms is achievable, especially if you follow these five simple rules.