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Social Media Marketing: 4 Things to Know Before Hitting ‘Publish’

Publishing: it’s the first and most obvious step towards achieving social media marketing success. If you’re just getting started with social, hitting ‘publish’ can be a scary but essential step. After all, you won’t know what resonates with your audience and what doesn’t until you start publishing on a regular basis and monitoring your engagement levels.

But just because there’s a fair amount of trial and error in social media marketing, doesn’t mean you should go in blind. Effective social media, like any marketing initiative, requires a carefully planned strategy — particularly when the things you publish reflect publicly on your entire brand. Let’s talk about four crucial elements to publishing on your business’ social channels, straight from The B2B Social Media Guide to Best Practices.

Where to Publish

It’s a common misconception about social media marketing: all social channels are created equal. In reality, your audience uses different social channels for different things, so your messages need to be tailored appropriately. For instance, many users visit Facebook to view photos and statuses from their family and friends; a blatant sales pitch in the middle of their feed may be a downright turnoff. Twitter users, on the other hand, often turn to this channel to ask for product recommendations and reviews, so responding to an inquiry with a product demo offer may be far more appropriate.

Understanding the strengths, limitations, and nuances of each channel helps you know who you’re talking to when you publish — and helps you reach your audience more effectively. The chart below, from The B2B Social Media Guide to Best Practices e-book, introduces some demographic differences between three major social media channels.

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When to Publish

When to publish on social is a difficult topic to cover, because ultimately, your perfect posting time will depend on your specific audience. Luckily, it’s pretty simple to do your own research; you can usually find much of the information you need through the platform itself.

Let’s use Facebook as an example. Go into your page insights and select “Posts” (screenshot below). You’ll see a graph of peak times that your particular followers are online and engaging with their news feeds. Since a good post can perform well for several hours, the experts at PerfectPost recommend finding a three-hour block with a large audience and posting at the beginning of that time period. Posting at the absolute peak isn’t necessarily your best option, since late night audiences can peak and decline quickly.

So test out a few different schedules, check back on your stats regularly to see what’s working and what’s not, and adjust your strategy accordingly. Ready to take a deeper dive into analytics? Check out tools like Tweriod and PerfectPost to gain a deeper understanding of who your social followers are and how to reach them effectively.

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How Often to Publish

That’s right, it’s not just about throwing up a Tweet or Facebook post whenever you remember to; establishing a cadence to your social posting is imperative. If you fall silent for weeks on end, then suddenly flood your followers’ feeds with catch-up posts, you’re going to lose fans. Test a few different cadences to determine the optimal posting frequency for your audience, and make sure you’re scheduling posts (through a marketing automation platform, from within the social platform itself, or using another social tool) to go out even when you’re not in the office.

What Not to Publish

One final — and incredibly crucial — thing to remember when publishing to your various channels: proper social media etiquette is critical. Make sure you’re publicly representing your company in a positive light, and interacting with customers and prospects in ways that will benefit your brand — not cause more problems. A few basic guidelines:

  • Don’t be misleading. If you share content from another company’s website, give them credit by tagging them in the post.
  • Don’t be creepy. Be careful with how you reach out to potential prospects. Following someone on Twitter is low impact and unintrusive, friending them on Facebook is not.
  • Don’t throw mud. Talking negatively about your competition will likely do more harm than good. About 70% of marketers agree that critiquing a competitor via social media is inappropriate (Pardot).

Successful social media marketing doesn’t end once you hit the ‘publish’ button! Grab our free e-book, The B2B Social Media Guide to Best Practices, to learn about social listening, measuring social media success, and much more!