Michael Reynolds in General on Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Social media can be a great way to connect with your customers and prospects. You can post all sorts of media, ask questions, engage in conversations, and bring traffic to your website. When managed well, your social media presence can be a significant part of your inbound marketing strategy.
There are many factors that can affect your conversion rates. A conversion can be a like, a comment, a share, or a click. Ideally we want to maximize the chances that a conversion occurs, with the most desirable conversion being a click that leads to a website.
The structure of your social media posts can be a significant factor in how well your activity converts. Some of these details are a bit nit-picky but can play a big part in increasing your click-through rates, shares, and general response on social media posts.
Let's take a look at the anatomy of a well-structured social media post for some of the most common social networks.
Twitter is short and sweet... 140 characters. This means you need to spend some extra time optimizing your message to be clear and concise. Let's take a look an example:
This tweet is short and to the point. It asks a question and offers a link for more information. It does not clutter up the message with company names or extra fluff. Here's another example of a tweet that shares a specific blog post:
Again... short and direct. When someone clicks "Tweet" on this blog post, it simply populates the tweet with the title of the article and leaves out anything unneccesary and distracting.
It can also be useful to include hashtags in your tweet to add context and help others find them. Here are a couple of tweets from one of our cleints, Elfcu, that show good use of hashtags:
The hashtags #wedding, #baby, and #family help group these tweets into a topic to help others find them if they are looking for content on that topic.
Another polite thing to do on Twitter is to warn people about the type of media you are sharing. Most links from Twitter go to articles but if you are sharing a link to a video, it's polite to place the text "[Video]" at the beginning of the tweet so that your followers know what to expect, like this:
Now for some cautionary advice. Please please please don't link your Twitter and Facebook accounts together so that all Facebook posts also push to Twitter. You end up with truncated tweets that look like this:
As you can see, the message gets truncated in the middle of the tweet. The safest... what??? Yes, I could click on the link to go to Facebook and see the rest but experienced Twitter users sometimes see the truncated tweet and the "fb.me" URL and immediately flag that Twitter user as un-engaged and will move on. Use proper software like HootSuite so manage your social accounts so you don't have to resort to lazy auto-posting from Facebook.
Another thing you want to avoid is too many hashtags. One or two can be good... five or six is just plain annoying and hard to read. Restrain yourself.
Finally, tag others appropriately. If you're sharing content from another source, be polite and give them credit by tagging their username, like this:
Some of the same guidelines apply for Facebook but it also has the added bonus of displaying photos and videos in the previews of posts. This means that you'll want to optimize your posts to display properly for maximum impact. Let's take a look at some elements of a well-structured Facebook post from one of our clients, CultureRx:
This post promotes an ebook that offers a lot of value to organizations that are looking for ways to reduce cost on office space. It's a great ebook so feel free to go download it... I'll wait :)
The preview image is important in this post because it helps the content stand out. Images tend to get noticed more than text in a Facebook newsfeed so you'll want to make sure the image displays properly and is relevant to the content. In this case, the image of the ebook cover really ads some impact to the post.
The call to action is also effective because it invites the viewers download the ebook by explaining what it is and adds some context.
The preview blurb also adds some impact because it creates some interest in the offer. The phrase "There's a big, obvious way to save your business money" sounds pretty enticing, right? This text is controlled in the meta description area of your website content so you'll want to make sure this is optimized.
Also, don't forget to tag appropriately when posting content that involves others. Here is an example of a great photo from Massamio (a SpinWeb client):
Massamio did a contest at a recent convention and tagged two other organizations in the post. This helps ensure that your partners see your post and can also share and engage with your content.
Like Facebook, LinkedIn also shows preview images and blurbs so you'll want to follow the same guidelines. Here is an example LinkedIn post:
Again, notice the preview image, blurbs, and call to action.
You guessed it! Google+ is a lot like Facebook, as well and the same guidlines are relevant here:
Make sure to include an attractive preview image and preview blurb.
Creating effective social media posts
Optimizing your social media posts is not difficult but it can lead to higher conversions and better engagement. Remember to be mindful of the details and maximize your return on your social media activities.