So, you’ve reviewed our beginner’s guides to using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, and you’ve set yourself and your agency up with good, professional, branded profiles on these social platforms. Next up, you need to make them work for you. The four questions you’ll need answered are:
1. What do we post?
2. When do we post?
3. How do we get more engagement (likes, follows, shares, re-tweets, etc)?
4. How do we best monitor and manage our performance?
1 What to post?
Remember that posting is part of a conversation with your connections, and with others who may follow or view your profiles. So, it’s certainly best to avoid relentless streams of promotional posts: although you want of course to publicise what you do, only about one in five of your posts should be considered as promotional posts, such as new to market properties or property management offers. Most should be part of your general conversation, so some additional general tips include:
- If you possibly can, attach a picture or a video to every post. Studies frequently show that brands gain the most interaction on their social media pages when they post photos, rather than simply text or plain links.
- Feature your agency staff from time to time, by posting pictures of them where possible or relevant. For the same reason that many agencies increasingly use staff profiles on their websites, so it holds on social media: people buy from people.
- Make posts personal where possible: pictures of people, news that a staff member passed a professional exam, a charity bike ride, a new member of staff, Doris retiring, etc… local, personal, relevant information, backed up where possible with a photo.
- Follow good local news sources to glean local interest posts, charity events, school events, art galleries, play openings, etc.
- Keep posts on Twitter to under 130 characters, preferably under 120. Check the number of characters after link and picture are added, as this leaves room for someone to retweet your post without shortening it, as their hashtag will be added when they retweet it.
- If you ever post a ‘new to market’ or ‘price reduction’ property (and you must be careful not to overdo those posts), make sure it links to property details on your own website and not to the details on a portal.
2 When to post?
One challenge we come across frequently, when talking to agencies about their social media activities, is the time commitment that’s required to do it properly. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself committed to dedicating many hours a week to creating, building up and maintaining your social media profiles across various networks. It’s a very important part of your marketing, but it’s also important to keep it balanced.
Typically the best time of day to post is mid to late morning and late afternoon, as this is often when people are beginning to spend time on “things other than their main work”! It’s important to monitor the engagement, both to understand what to post but also what time to post it.
There are some excellent social media management tools available, such as Hoot Suite or Buffer. These usually provide a free basic package that will allow you to post across numerous social platforms with one click. Usefully, you can also use the delayed posting system whereby, for example, you can write nine posts on Tuesday at 5pm, and it will post three immediately, delay three for Wednesday morning at 11.30am and then the final three on Wednesday afternoon at 6.30pm. We find this a great timesaver, and a very good way of spending some focussed time on creating posts that can then be delivered over several days.
3 How to boost engagement?
Once you make all this effort to establish yourself and to post on various social networks, you need the wider world to engage with what you’re doing, especially the potential vendors and landlords whom you want to impress. The more deeply connected all your profiles are, the more likely you’ll be found by new connections (and new potential customers). As such, it’s worth following some simple guides to increase your connectedness and engagement:
- Always follow back on Twitter and like back on Facebook. Follow/like people you want to engage with and who provide interesting content for you to post.
- Follow and like accounts that are active. Accounts that have not posted for a month are unlikely to follow you back.
- Avoid people who have many followers and are following few accounts, as these these are also unlikely to follow you.
- If Twitter is not letting you follow any more accounts, go back over your ‘following’ list and de-select some of the accounts that are not in turn following you. Only keep accounts that are following you or who provide good engaging content.
- For Facebook, build your friends list and send requests to friends to like a ‘page you manage’, i.e. your business page. On your ‘Page Manager’ under ‘invite friends’ click on ‘see all’ and just click ‘invite’ where friends have not yet liked your page.
- When building friends, do not send friend requests to people you do not know; however, there are plenty of businesses to which you are generally safe to send a ‘friend request’.
- Cross post across all platforms as you reach landmarks.
- Make sure you have live links to all your social platforms on your website, mobile website and all your email signatures. If you don’t have one, there are some very good reasons why you should have a mobile website.
- Put social logos and profile URL on all your printed documents. business cards, letterheads, property details etc.
Quite an important reason for social media activity is the effect it has on your website’s SEO. We know that Google looks at social to help it rate and rank websites, but Google is more interested in engagement rather than simply the number of followers or friends: engagement (re-tweets, likes of a specific post, etc) are a better indicator of sentiment, which is what Google is trying to assess when it ranks websites. It is very difficult to mislead Google by buying retweets, shares and likes on individual posts or followers’ comments. For this reason, avoid buying followers or friends – you must build your own.
4 How to monitor and manage your social activity
The old saying that “what gets measured gets done” is as true with social media activity as with anything else. Given the effort and resource you end up investing in social media marketing, it’s important that you understand how it’s performing for you, and what you can do to improve it and to make your investment ever more effective. We frequently embark on exercises to compare how many agencies compare with each other in their social media, which always shows a very wide range of performance.
Fortunately, all the social platforms give you instant access to engagement analysis, such as number of followers, number of connections and number of likes; furthermore, there are numerous tools available to help monitor your activity, including for example the analysis suite built into your Facebook ‘Page Manager’. We would recommend you start by keeping a track of your connectedness and engagement, and as you progress you may want to graduate to a measurement tool, such as provided by Moz.
If you need any help or advice with how to get the most out of your social media activity, and how important a part it can play in your online marketing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.