Get smart with your social media


In the excitement of getting online it’s easy to let social fall by the wayside. Far too often a social profile is registered and left to become a list of last-minute links to company press releases with no thought given to any kind of strategy.

I’m going to share some questions you should be trying to answer to refine your social marketing efforts and suggest some tools which might help you answer them along the way.

Let’s get going!

If you’re familiar with research or journalism then it’s likely that you’ve heard of the W’s; who, what, why, where and when etc. These are the fundamental questions which should be the starting point when trying to understand or investigate something. You can use them to help you here too.

Who am I posting for?

At the top level, you’ll want to understand your audience as a whole. Where are they and what language do they speak? How old are they, and what are their interests? You’ll probably already know a lot of this from other market research, but you may find some surprising answers when delving into your actual audience.

Facebook gives some demographic data showing the breakdown of fans based on age and gender which is shown below. This may help you find your tone or target the kind of content you post, just like you would for a television or PPC campaign.

It’s also possible to get an idea of the locations of your audience. This is shown to the right using Followerwonk to generate a map of the locations of Twitter followers of @highpositionseo. Knowing information like this can help to identify any alternate timezones your followers are in and therefore give opportunities to push content at the right time for everybody (something discussed in more detail later).

Additionally, something which was mentioned at the let’s talk social with agencies event was the practice of identifying influencers. These are people who have some form of influence over your target audience and therefore potential buyers. Find people in your industry who you can connect to, and there may be a chance that this will give you exposure further down the line.

What should I be posting?

Knowing what to post is one of the harder questions to answer and there’s not a “correct” answer. This said, a bit of research in the area can help get you on track or inspire you.

First of all, taking a look at the social profiles of your competitors and the content they’re posting can help you identify what is working in your sector. For instance if infographics or photographs are consistently getting a great response, it may be something you wish to consider in your own social strategy. Make notes of ideas which interest you or you think might work for your brand.

Keeping an eye on social trends is also a great way to find current and topical content to be talking about on your social pages. Is something happening in your industry that you think people should be aware of? Tweet about it and start a conversation. Is there anything in current affairs or the local area that you could talk about? Show some personality.

However as Matt Mynors mentioned in his post, keep it tasteful and remember you’re in the public eye.

When should I post?

You can have the best piece of content in the world that should be going viral, but if you post it when all of your audience are offline the chances are that you’re not going to get the reaction you’d hoped for. The sheer quantity of posts combined with the chronological nature of timelines and news feeds means that it’s far too easy for your brilliant content to quickly disappear beneath pictures of cats and posts about the X-Factor final.

Identifying the optimal times to post may help to improve your levels of engagement and give your social a much needed boost. We will want to look for when our users are online and active, and therefore the most likely to see our posts.

Whilst Facebook provides this information, other platforms such as Twitter are not so generous. Fortunately, tools such as Followerwonk can again help out here.

Once you’ve identified your peak times, you may want to consider scheduling posts using a service such as Buffer.

Where should I post?

Take the opportunity to look at what content works on your different social channels. If nobody follows you on Twitter but you have thousand of Facebook fans, you probably want to share your content more on Facebook. This will be something you can improve over time, but it’s worth taking a look back at the success (or lack of) that you’ve had so far on each platform and find what works for you.

Why should I post?

Finally, look at the motivations to post. Why are your competitors posting certain content? Is some of it purely for commercial benefit? Are they doing it to encourage engagement? What can you learn from this?

When you’re posting on social media, consider why you should post something. Are you posting for the sake of posting or do you have a point to make? Striking the right balance is key.


Hopefully this post has given a starting point on the type of information which is available which might help you improve your social media efforts.

Do you have any tools or techniques that you use to understand your audience? What kind of insights do you look for? Let us know!


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