For many small businesses, social media is a free way to advertise their businesses. They fill up their platforms with posts urging people to try the product or hire them for services. The graphics are loud, annoying, and not what most people want to see.
Successful social media users know these three things: who their audience is and where they engage on social media,; the importance of brand awareness, and why engagement leads to better sales than hard selling does.
What does it take to create content that accomplishes these goals? A lot of time and research. Here at AZ Media Maven, when we manage social media for a client, it’s about more than posting consistently, though that is one element. Let’s look at all the steps required to create one great post to engage followers.
Your brand, your voice
The first step is adding the building blocks of color and style to represent your business. Using consistent colors and fonts creates a subtle awareness of your brand and builds a beautiful, cohesive appearance across your website and social media platforms. Using your logo is also a good way to remind people of where a post originated, especially if the post is shared multiple times.
Another part of brand identity is determining the “voice” you want to have for posts. Do you want to rip a page from the playbook used by flight attendants on Southwest Airlines and use a friendly, joking writing style? Or do you want something more serious to reflect your corporate culture? How your voice will be portrayed with written or recorded language is another important part of building consistency and brand awareness.
Designing the content
With your building blocks of a brand palette and the voice of your content in place, the next thing social media managers do is create content. Where do the ideas come from? Posts can be tied to events your business is doing (sales, webinars, open houses), or to tips you want to share about your industry. They can be behind-the-scenes photos or videos, five-star reviews you want to share, amusing anecdotes tied to your business or brand, inspirational quotes or reflections, observations on current events, and more.
A social media manager mixes this all together to create a post that has brand components and content that will engage followers. Designing a post and writing the accompanying content can take as little as 20 minutes to as much as two to three hours to edit a video or create an animated post.
Each post must be sized for optimization on each individual platform. Instagram primarily uses a square format of 1080 pixels by 1080 pixels. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter all use strongly horizontal structures for posts. Each platform has parameters that mush be followed as well for video speeds, and sizes. While none of the measurements are set in stone, each platform has a recommended size that social media managers must know to best showcase their clients.
Scheduling a time and place to post
Now we’re ready to schedule the post on the platform that is most likely to work best for your company, at a time when we can optimize traffic. Many large social media companies such as HubSpot, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social track when posts are most popular on which platforms based on engagement gleaned from their hundreds of thousands of users. For example, Instagram generally fares best outside work hours, whereas LinkedIn and Facebook are more popular between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Twitter sees more activity in the evenings.
But the work of a social media manager doesn’t end when the post is published. Now the content is monitored for engagement. Do people like it? Share it? Comment on it? A social media manager will respond to comments and monitor the analytics to see which posts over a time period are most popular. That information guides the planning for the next round of posts.
As you can see, there is both an art and a science to social media posts, and most small businesses that try to do it themselves aren’t always successful. It takes away from time and effort better spent on core operations, but it’s an essential element in building a customer base.
AZ Media Maven is based in Laveen, AZ, a suburban village in the greater Phoenix area. Owner Rose Tring has more than 30 years of journalism experience as an editor and writer, many of those years in business news. AZ Media Maven was created in 2012 to serve other business owners in learning how to best use social media and to provide affordable public relation services. Reach AZ Media Maven at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (602) 373-8371.