5 Key Social Media Tips
There are many ways to implement social media. And I’ve tried a lot of them. Over the years, some of those methods have risen like cream to the top. I now focus on those and find that they produce consistent results.
This page includes some of the core strategies I use to get great results, day after day. It’s important to say that although some of the tips below can increase your results almost immediately after implementation, the real value is in using them long-term. This is because you will not only have more social media connections and interaction, but you can also garner search engine traffic for articles that receive a lot of social traffic.
Here are my top 5 tips for getting good results:
Images are Critical to Social Media Promotion
You’ll notice that the Tip 1 image reads “be aware when using images,” instead of just “use images.” This is because there are many things to consider when using images in social marketing.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s a given that you would use images. I simply don’t post to any of our accounts without them. The difference between the results with and without graphics is without dispute. This article will give you more details if you want to know exact statistics.
But all images are not created equal when it comes to social marketing. Each platform has a size that works best:
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+
I generally use a square shape of approximately 800 pixels by 800 pixels for Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Facebook, and that still works perfectly. I’ve modified our approach lately, though, because on our blog we use a featured image that appears on our blog landing page. This image is a little more horizontal. Depending on how busy I am, I sometimes use this to post to our accounts, so I don’t have to make an additional square image. But as you can see below, the square image is preferable. It kind of hits you between the eyes compared to the horizontal proportion:
So, the bottom line is that if you have a choice, use a square shape. The horizontal shape isn’t bad; it’s just not optimum.
It’s important to note that vertical images will sometimes be cut off (Twitter and Instagram, on your profile page only), or will not display across the full width of a column (Facebook Instagram, on your profile page only). Vertical images do have their place though. They display beautifully on Google+, and on Pinterest, as indicated below. They don’t play well on Twitter and Facebook though.
I always include an extremely vertical image in our blog posts, so we can accommodate Pinterest. It used to be that just people who were interested in food and art used Pinterest, but no more. Everyone has jumped on the bandwagon and the platform is now much too big to ignore. Since we don’t ordinarily have pretty pictures of food or Christmas trees associated with our work, I usually design an infographic to go with each post. I realize not everyone creates them professionally as part of their services like we do, so even just two stacked photos and some text will do.
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To decide how to create your vertical images, I recommend that you look around on Pinterest and see what other people are doing. Check out the number of repins on any given pin and you’ll get an idea of which looks will produce results. To be fair, though, it’s important to note that a brand or site’s popularity also affects the number of repins, so that doesn’t give a strictly accurate reading.
To Brand or Not to Brand
I’ve experimented with branding our Pinterest images, meaning that I included a black block at the bottom with our logo, tag line and URL. And we’ve had mixed results with that. The bottom line always seems to be the popularity of the information conveyed in the pin. I’ve done elaborate, colorful and eye-catching infographics for topics that have been covered a lot by other people or that just aren’t sexy to Pinterest users, and they don’t get much traction.
I think there’s also a negative effect if you try to go too hard for branding with your pins. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest, and I have definitely noticed an inverse relationship between how aggressively an image is branded and how many repins it gets. Pinterest users have an almost Pavlovian reaction to information they think will help them–they will repin it in hordes. The key is to make your information look like it will make a difference somehow in people’s lives. If it looks as if you’re trying to SELL the concept instead of offering it freely, you’re likely to get diminished results.
As you can see, I’ve only included a tiny URL for our site in the pin for this post. That isn’t there so much to get people to type it and come and visit us; it’s there because I’m a firm believer in putting people on notice that we created our images. This is particularly helpful now that any image can show up in any number of places online. You’ll never be able to control that. Believe me, I’ve tried. So always have your brand or URL somewhere–subtly–on your social media images. Alternatively, you can use a copyright notice, such as this: © 2016 B2BContentSolutions.com or Copyright 2016 B2BContentSolutions.com. There’s a big difference between any of the previously mentioned options and splashing your logo across a pin though.
The same concept applies to the other social media platforms, too, but from my experience, the negative affect of too-aggressive branding is more pronounced on Pinterest.
- Always use images when you post to social media.
- Square images are the optimum format for Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
- Vertical images are best left to use on Pinterest and Google+. They don’t work well on Twitter and Facebook.
- Don’t be too aggressive with branding your images. Your social media images should look like they’re providing helpful information; not selling.
- Make sure that you include some sort of identification for your site on your images. A URL or copyright notice in small text will work.
We All Get Further When We Work Together
I’m a big believer in teamwork. It’s not only more fun (for the most part anyway, and depending on the team), but you get SO much more work done. By its very nature, social media is a true group experience that lends itself to teamwork–if you know how to do it.
The whole point of social media is to interact with your audience. Some promoters don’t treat it this way though. They post something and just go about their business. And that’s not surprising; that’s a lot easier than spending time interacting. But you can’t compare the results when you post and run, compared to when you interact.
How do you do that so it doesn’t take all day and night though?
This is where teamwork comes into play. At Chadwick and White, we use a FREE group on Facebook of like-minded entrepreneurs who help each other promote. It’s called the Blog Engagement and Promotion Group, and in my experience the title is an accurate representation of what the group does.
During the week there are usually at least two threads that you can use to promote your blog. There is an organized weekly schedule that covers all the major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest) or allows you to get comments and interaction on your blog posts. You have your choice of one of these each day. There are sometimes other random promotion posts that allow you to get all kinds of other interaction. They even have a weekend post–my favorite–which allows you to say, “I would like you to…” and fill in the blank. Everyone then posts a link and asks for people to do a particular action. It can include anything reasonable, such as “download my ebook,” “like my Facebook page,” “follow my Twitter account” and any number of other tasks. You have to do 25 of other people’s tasks to participate, but this is actually quick work. And the benefits are amazing. Having problems getting repins? Just ask. Want more Instagram followers? Just ask. You get the idea.
I can’t say enough about how this group has accelerated our social media results. Because of the group, we garnered 110 comments on our blog in the first month. It has also increased our search engine traffic, because, to varying degrees, the engines read signals from the amount of social interaction a site receives. And if you participate in the threads that require leaving blog comments, you will also often get back links to your site. Search engines tend to like these, and we even get traffic from people who click the links next to our comments.
There are also plenty of other similar Facebook groups. You can find many of them in this post. The group mentioned above is the first on the list. I started there and never went any further. That’s because I found everything I needed in one place.
- You get much better results with your social media efforts if you collaborate with others.
- Social interaction can translate to search engine traffic.
- There are many free Facebook groups that will help you promote your blog posts.
The Right Tool Makes All the Difference
It didn’t take me long after jumping into social media to figure out that I needed a tool to automate my promotion efforts. I tried a few before settling on my ultimate choice. The most notable among those I rejected was HootSuite. Although powerful, I found it didn’t give adequate support for including images. Yes, it allowed me to do so, but I couldn’t SEE them in their interface. That was unacceptable to me, since as an artist I’m all about images. Maybe this has changed, but at the time it just didn’t work for me.
So I switched to Buffer. I get nothing for mentioning them; they were just the clear choice for me. Their format allows images and videos to be added with ease. They also allow the same image to be posted to Twitter, Facebook and Google+ at the same time. (There is also Pinterest support on Buffer, but only on paid accounts.) This has been a huge time savings for me.
Buffer also allows me to post images when I’m doing promotion for other people. This comes into play when I do that with group members, as described in Tip 2. It has free browser addons that help with this. For example, if you click most social media share buttons for Twitter, you get something that looks like this (minus the Buffer button):
Pretty boring, right? What do you think the chances of someone clicking on that link will be once it’s on Twitter? Not much, I’m guessing.
But look what happens if I click the Buffer button above, the Buffer link in the sidebar to the left (or below on mobile), or on a Buffer browser addon:
The images from our article appear, along with our text. I like to manipulate the text to make it more readable–and with any luck, more clickable. So I usually end up with something like this:
You’ll notice that there is now an image on the left. This is because I have selected an image from the right side to post with the tweet. When I post it through Buffer (which I can do right away or schedule for later), it looks like this:
That’s so much better than plain text.
You might be wondering why I would go to the trouble if I’m doing that for someone else, when I can just post a text tweet so easily. Well, you certainly don’t have to. But to me, it’s it’s a matter of what I want our Twitter feed to look like. We get a lot of followers spontaneously because our feed is always full of brightly colored images and good content. Presentation is almost as important as content, so making your feed look good should be just one step down in importance from the type of information you post there.
Oh, and the technique above also works when posting from your own site.
And that’s only a fraction of what Buffer does! Here’s a partial list:
- Two types of scheduling: times and dates for individual tweets or daily times for a queue of posts
- Post to multiple platforms at once
- Image and video support
- Choice of free, $10-per-month, and various more expensive business plans with escalating features
- Quick and friendly support, even for free accounts
- Analytics for each tweet
- Some plans allow for multiple team members to access the same account
- Automatic link shortening
- Promotion is much easier when you use an automated tool.
- Buffer helps you post images to your social media accounts easily.
- It’s a good idea to post images for other people’s posts, because they affect how YOUR Twitter feed looks.
Make Your Content Accessible for Social Media Sharing
Have you ever wanted to share an article and couldn’t find a button or link to do so? Did you leave the page and forget about it? That’s what I do.
These days, it’s easy to find both free and enhanced paid options to share content. You need to use at least one of them. The best ones provide share counts (if you want to display them), easy access to the share links and a variety of social media account options.
We use Monarch, which is a paid plugin by Elegant Themes. Just look to the left if you’re on a computer or tablet, or below on mobile devices, and you’ll see the tabs that allow you to share this page.
This tip is short and sweet: if you want people to share your content, make it easy for them.
- There are free and paid plugins that can allow people to share your posts.
- You HAVE to have at least one of these sharing features on your blog if you want to be involved in social media.
Sometimes Paying for Promotion Help is the Most Economical Option
Last but not least, I recommend that you use boosting to augment your social marketing. There are various forms of these services out there, but the one I use is Empire.Kred.
Empire.Kred (EK) is similar to the free Facebook group mention in Tip 2, but there is greater potential for daily interaction. You can choose what you want to promote and when, so you’re not to subject to the group structure. There are some things better promoted through EK than through the Facebook group (and sometimes vice versa). So I use both to get full coverage.
How It Works
At the heart of EK lies the ability to run missions. These are requests to other EK members to do social media tasks for you. To incentivize members to do your bidding, you pay them in eaves–the currency of the site. Eaves are earned through doing other people’s missions, as income when you invest in other players (you get a percentage of each of your investments every day as income, so the more you invest in others, the better), or when people throw them at you. That last one probably seems pretty strange if you’re not familiar with the site. EK regularly has events during which you can throw 250,000 eaves in one bunch at other players. This function costs money, but I find that if I throw eaves, I also get them back from people who believe in reciprocation. So it’s a great way to boost the eaves in your EK bank account. And it’s really affordable. I pay between $5-10 per throwing event. That small amount allows me to run many more missions, which is the whole reason I’m there.
Here’s a sample mission for a Twitter tweet:
This mission paid between 25,000 and 65,000 eaves per person, depending on the person doing the mission. You can see how many retweets and likes were garnered from it by looking at the bottom of the tweet.
Investing in Empire.Kred
There are free and paid versions of EK. Both require an investment of your time, which I have found to be well worth it. I started with a free account and worked up to a Leader account, so I know how both work. Because of that, I recommend becoming a Leader as soon as you can after joining. If you plan to use EK daily to promote your social media, the Leader benefits are more than worth it. The cost to become a Leader is usually a one-time fee of $160, but they often have sales that reduce that amount to almost half.
One of the main benefits of becoming a Leader is that you spend less time earning the eaves to do missions. This is because Leaders automatically get higher rewards for nearly every mission they do. Since people know this, they will often do Leader missions first. If you have limited time per day, and most of us do, then of course you will gravitate toward missions that pay you more. That doesn’t mean people don’t do missions for free accounts; they do. But I found a tremendous boost in my results on the site as soon as I became a Leader.
I don’t get anything for promoting the Leaders program, by the way. I just really believe in it and have seen it work well for us.
- Kred can help you truly accelerate your social media interaction.
- The paid Leader account will save you a lot of time, which makes it worth it if you use the site every day.
I hope you found these social media tips helpful. Yes, they take work. But in my experience, they’re well worth it.
* Please note that the Monarch link above has affiliate code in it. This means we would get paid a commission if you happen to buy from our link. But it doesn’t cost you any more to buy through our link; the commission is paid by Elegant Themes.