Engage in Social Conversations around a Brand

If you build it, they will come. Social media engagement is inevitable for brands that have invested the time and money into building up their presence on key networks. Unfortunately, when a company is new to social media and not sure how to participate effectively in the conversation, they risk wasting resources and missing opportunities.

Building a strong, relatable brand in today’s social market is contingent on being able to communicate with the public in a way that’s not overly promotional or too passive. To achieve this delicate balance, a brand must know how to engage in social conversations around their brand and have a firm understanding of each platform.

Getting the Most Out of Twitter

While there are many tools to help streamline scheduling and posting of tweets, over-automation can be detrimental to your brand. Followers want to stay up-to-date on the latest your brand has to offer. If they sense a bot and not a real person is behind the account, it can be a real turn-off that might be hard for the brand to recover from.

Instead, make sure that you’re posting relevant, thoughtful content targeted at your followers, not the generic Twitter community at large. And consider adhering to a variation on the Rule of Thirds—spend a third of your time sharing your own content, a third on curated content from other reputable sources and the remaining time on engaging with followers.

Additional Twitter techniques:

  • Use hashtags like keywords—precise and sparingly. Relevant hashtags allow would-be followers to find and join in on a conversation, but too many can lower engagement. While tweets with hashtags get two times more engagement than tweets without, using more than two hashtags in a single tweet can drop engagement by an average of 17%.

  • A strong brand doesn’t resort to using trickery to attract new followers. Instead, they rely on creating and sharing quality content of interest to their audiences.

  • Twitter isn’t just 140 characters any more, adding images can help drive engagement. In fact, tweets that include images are nearly twice as likely to be retweeted! Images should be 1024px by 512px for optimal display

Leveraging LinkedIn for Thought Leadership

Once known only for its job search capabilities, LinkedIn has grown to be an essential publishing and content sharing platform. In fact content pages now receive seven times the amount of traffic than job postings. All LinkedIn users can now publish on LinkedIn making this the place for brands and thought leaders to share insights, advice and expertise.

Tap into this powerful platform by publishing long-form content that showcases your brand’s knowledge and expertise. Shorter, more frequent posts perform best and don’t forget to pay attention to your headline!

Additional LinkedIn techniques:

  • LinkedIn users are looking to foster business relationships, bolster their personal brands and find resources to help them perform better in their jobs. Readers are looking for value-added content that’s not overly salesy—stick to publishing industry news, product breakthroughs and thought leadership.

  • Appoint brand ambassadors to join the conversation in relevant groups. With millions of groups dedicated to every topic and industry, there are countless opportunities to leverage ongoing conversations to build your brand’s image. Smart brands know that the key to any relationship is good conversation and relevant content.

Effectively Engaging in Facebook

With approximately one in six people on the planet using Facebook today, the platform has matured from just a place to connect with old friends to an essential communications and marketing tool for both individuals and brands.

Facebook developers are constantly updating and adjusting the algorithms that determine how a brand’s content appears in users’ newsfeeds. Just when you think you’ve cracked the code, a new update will change the game. If Facebook is part of your toolbox—and for many brands it definitely should be—be prepared to keep on top of development changes and updates to ensure you’re reaching your audience.

Additional Facebook techniques:

  • Video content is essential for all platforms, including Facebook. In fact, videos uploaded directly to Facebook are now outperforming YouTube videos in terms of engagement. Upload your next video directly to your brand’s Facebook campaign and be prepared to watch your engagement soar!

  • There’s no guarantee that your followers will see your content appear in their Facebook newsfeeds. Not without paid distribution, that is. Consider leveraging paid options offered by Facebook to boost posts and maximize audience reach and engagement.

Becoming Pin-Worthy with Pinterest

Pinterest is a highly visual platform with boundless potential for consumer and B2B brands. Even if you think your brand isn’t inherently visual, almost every brand can benefit from visual storytelling; the key is thinking beyond your products and curating content that relates to your industry and customers.

No pin-worthy content? Think again; infographics, charts or graphs, ebook or white paper covers, event photos and video stills can all make for interesting Pinterest boards.

Additional Pinterest techniques:

  • Tap into top trends. While fashion, recipes and home decorating are the top categories on Pinterest, you can tap into these trends with a little creativity. A manufacturer of polymers could create a board for the automobiles that use their products or this season’s bathing suits that use their fibers in the fabric.

  • Nothing is more photogenic than your employees or customers. Pinterest can help to bring a human element to your brand so use it to highlight team members, capture a corporate history or show your customers that you appreciate them.

  • Inspire your followers. Graphic images with inspiring quotes or slogans are popular on Pinterest. Capture the wisdom of your brand and create images that feature great quotes from speaking engagements, blog posts or even tweets.

Getting Your Good Side on Instagram

A recent report revealed that brands are now posting to Instagram more than Facebook. Brands know that photos they post on the platform will appear in their fans’ feeds, which is appealing if paid promotion on Facebook isn’t an option.

But that isn’t the only reason why you should consider using the photo sharing app. Like Pinterest, Instagram is a great way to share your brands’ visual story and it definitely isn’t just for B2C companies. Find creative ways to bring a human element to your products. Showcase the individuals whose lives may have been transformed by your cutting edge technology or highlight your incredible internal corporate culture

Additional Instagram techniques:

  • This definitely isn’t the place for boring product shots. Instagram is highly visual and therefore highly creative. Find new and interesting ways to share your brand’s story and take advantage of the platform’s built-in editing tools and filters to make sure you’re capturing audience attention.

  • Hashtags are just as important to Instagram as Twitter. This is a great way to build your following by connecting with potential audiences. But like Twitter, beware that less is more. Filling up your Instagram feed with countless hashtags on each photo doesn’t lead to increased engagement. Pick a few relevant, popular hashtags for each photo.

Pressing “Convert” with YouTube

Online viewership of video continues to surge, and a recent Vidyard poll confirms the use of video not just for entertainment or generating awareness, but as a legitimate source of revenue. According to the results, 71% of participants confirmed that video was better at driving conversions than other types of content such as text and photo .

Video can be a creative and efficient way to tell a story in a way that connects—emotionally or intellectually—with audiences. For some types of content, like “How To…”, video may be the best way to present your story. Including video and YouTube into a communications program is just one more way for marketers and PR pros to achieve their goals—and why a recent PR News and PR Newswire survey found that communicators are planning to increase video budgets.

Additional YouTube Techniques

  • Complex story? Break it into smaller pieces. Viewers may not have the time to watch an hour-long presentation on your latest research, but “serializing” your findings will make it easier to attract audiences—and make video easier to share.

  • Explain how. According to Forrester “how to” is the top searched qualifier on YouTube. Create videos that teach your audience how to do something and make sure to include these golden keywords in the title of your video!

  • To convert, have a strong, relevant call-to-action. Don’t leave your viewers hanging, make sure you have a next step for them to take.

The compilation of these techniques, when used to engage audiences, will help to forward a company’s relevant on the various social media platforms—including emerging social channels— crucial to their success.

ABOUT THE EXPERT: AMANDA LAIRD

Amanda Laird is Communications Manager at CNW, a PR Newswire company. With more than eight years of experience in agency, corporate and non-profit environments, Amanda has a proven track record of leading successful communications projects from concept to launch for a variety of brands.

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