Social media continues to be an important aspect of a complete digital marketing strategy. As of the publication of this article in Autumn 2021, Facebook and Instagram are still overall the largest platforms, with the widest audiences.
That said, there are some cases where appealing to a smaller, more focused audience on a platform such as LinkedIn can be an equally effective way to reach leads and get conversions. The key is in understanding your target audience personas, and knowing when and where they tend to interact with social media.
What we’re currently seeing is that younger audiences tend to be more visual, so they favour Instagram and TikTok over other social media channels. LinkedIn is still the heavy hitter when it comes to industrial and professional content, though lots of professionals also find luck advertising on Facebook. To effectively target your digital marketing, it’s important to know a few basic stats about your target audience: their age group, what kind of language and visuals will appeal to them, and how to best encourage interaction.
Right now we’re seeing a growth in advertising on Instagram reels — partly because they are currently a free advertising option, so they allow for more organic growth than some of the popular paid advertising options. Reels are basically Instagram’s version of a TikTok video. They allow creators to put text, music, and links on top of a short video clip, all of which can increase audience engagement and interaction.
If you’re looking for a lot of reach, reels are a good way to get a lot of eyeballs on your post.
Calls to Action
Calls to action have been a fundamental part of digital marketing for years, and they’re not going away anytime soon. A call to action should be included with pretty much any social post, regardless of the platform. Calls to action can vary in terms of what they are “calling” on audiences to do, but you’ve probably seen a few variations on a theme, such as:
- Visit our website
- Click here to learn more
- Leave a like if you enjoyed this video
- Subscribe for more
We’re also seeing many businesses successfully increase engagement with posts by asking a question in a post caption. Audiences want their opinions to be heard, so giving people a space to add their voice is a great way to encourage interaction. Instagram has various polling options in its stories to facilitate this as well. And since graphics are so important, a call to action can be embedded right in one of your post images.
Most social media algorithms these days are preferential to posts that have more than one image. These are commonly known as image carousels. Users themselves often prefer multiple-image posts to single-image posts, because brands can use multiple images to tell a more interesting story, or provide more information.
Across the board, posts with images get more reach than posts without. It’s also important to upload an image (or a few images) directly to the social media app that you’re using. The algorithm can tell the difference between an image that is uploaded, and an image that auto-populates from a link in the post caption. Even if you upload the same image that is on the page and that would have auto-populated, taking a few minutes to upload it directly will do wonders for your reach. This also allows you to control the way the image displays, rather than taking it on faith that the site’s metadata will pull the appropriate graphic to relate to your post content.
Often the algorithms aren’t really looking at what the image is, they’re just confirming that there is an image. So despite what you may have heard about certain types of images getting more reach, there’s not currently much evidence that this is the case.
Good social media management still requires good hashtags — on most platforms. As of 2021, hashtags on Facebook are mostly pointless. On Twitter, we don’t recommend including more than 3 hashtags in a single tweet, and those hashtags should be #integrated into the #text of the #tweet, rather than clustered at the beginning or end. Instagram posts are tending to perform best with between 9 and 11 hashtags, and pasting hashtags at the bottom of an Instagram caption is still a relevant strategy. Keep usability in mind. Hashtags are easiest to read when typed in camel case, wherein the first letter of each word is capitalized: #CamelCase.
Whenever we’re planning a post, we also make sure to search for the planned hashtags on the platform where we’re posting, before the post goes live. When you use a hashtag on a post, you’re associating your post and your business with everything else that appears in a certain hashtag. So it’s prudent to make sure that the content in that hashtag is content that you want to be associated with. (And, of course, make sure that there is content for that hashtag, and you’re not just inventing a tag that no one is searching for).
On rare occasions, we find that a seemingly benign hashtag is associated with some questionable content; another great reason to search for hashtags before using them. Knowing this before a post goes live is an opportunity to take that hashtag back to the drawing board and tweak the spelling or wording to better reach the target audience.
Time of Day
Being aware of your target audience means having an idea of what time of day they tend to use the platform you’re targeting. No one is on social media 24/7 (hopefully), and everyone develops habits based on what else they’re doing and what type of content they’re consuming.
We’re hearing these days that Fridays are “where social media goes to die” — which makes sense. On Fridays most people are focusing on deadlines at work, and after work they tend to have plans and are spending less time scrolling. Monday mornings are also not ideal, as people tend to be a little more focused on work when they’re coming back from the weekend. That said, Mondays can work for certain professional industries, if you’re willing to spend money to promote a post so that it shows up on feeds throughout the day.
In general, the best days to post on social media are mid-week: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. After that, the best times for posting depend on the platform and the industry.
We’re seeing Instagram posts performing best on Wednesdays and Thursdays, between 6pm and 9pm. Facebook tends to do better during the day (people can scroll Facebook on their laptops while working in another tab, while Instagram is an extremely mobile-focused platform). Before setting up a new digital marketing campaign, we always take a look at the insights for an Instagram or Facebook page, and tailor our posting schedule to match the time that your audience is most active.
Certain businesses, like those in recreation, or liquor stores for example, might find they do get more traffic or more conversions on Fridays or Saturdays, because their audiences are looking to spend money on recreation. So it’s important to also take into account what you’re actually selling.
Using a Scheduler
Many companies use a scheduler like Hootsuite or Later for their social media management. In 2021 this is still a valid strategy, though we have a couple caveats. A scheduler makes it easy to plan posts weeks in advance, but because of this many people simply schedule posts on the hour on a given day. We don’t recommend posting at exactly the same time each day, or exactly on the hour.
Since most businesses now have some kind of social media presence, it’s important to minimize competition where you can. So don’t post exactly at 6pm — instead, wait a few minutes. Schedule the post for 6:04pm, for example. Be mindful of the fact that hundreds of other businesses are scheduling their posts for 6pm, so your audience will be inundated with posts at that exact time. Waiting a few minutes for the dust to settle might mean that more users get to see your post.
Additionally, be careful about using a scheduler especially if you are tagging people or other businesses in your posts. In some schedulers, tagging doesn’t come through correctly, so double-check your posts after they go live.
Social media is a big ball park right now, with huge numbers of businesses trying all sorts of strategies to see what works. One thing that we are seeing consistently rise above the noise is posts that speak to the human side of a company.
With many people all over the world just emerging from a long year-and-a-half with little in-person interaction, many people are eager to make personal connections. Developing a social media strategy that showcases the humans behind your brand (for example, introductions to staff or key stakeholders) is a great way to really connect with your audience on a more personal level, and to tell a story that will resonate with people.
The field of social media changes every day, and we’re already hearing about several new features coming down the pipe with Instagram. So don’t forget to check on your analytics and don’t be afraid to shake up strategies that aren’t working anymore.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the social media marketing options available out there? At Yardstick, we’re experts in digital marketing, including SEO and social media management. Contact us today — we’ll be happy to chat with you about your campaign.