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Social media is one of the greatest tools you have for building meaningful relationships with your audience.
Giving some thought about what, when and where to post; giving back to your audience; and being genuine in your relationships with followers are all important steps in the process of engaging your audience. But how do you know if you’re getting it right?
To help you out, we’ve put together five social media tips that you can get started with right now.
1. Create your own content
You may have heard of the 5-3-2 rule. Developed by TA McCann, this social media adage suggests that for every 10 social media posts, 50 percent should be curated content from other sources, 30 percent should be your own creative content, and 20 percent should be the sorts of posts that bring your brand to life, and humanise your social media presence.
What’s important to note here is that half of your social media content should be your own, individual material. I would argue that for solo creatives, you would be wise to increase this percentage if possible. At the end of the day, your audience has chosen to follow you for a reason, and I would hazard a guess that it’s less to do with what you share and far more about what you create. On no platform is this more relevant than Instagram; a channel totally geared towards high-quality, individual content.
On other platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, up-to 50 percent shared content is not a bad way to improve the regularity of your posting; but the key here is relevance. Always ask yourself whether or not the content is relevant to both your brand and your audience before hitting “post”.
One channel where you can get away with a higher ratio of shared content is Pinterest. The scrapbook nature of this site means users will follow you because of the way that you curated content from a range of sources alongside your own.
2. Know how often to post
Many people believe that simply posting more frequently will increase audience engagement with their content. If more of your posts appear in front of your audience, they’re more likely to take notice, right?
Knowing how often to post to each social media platform means higher engagement and less time wasted. Producing high-quality content is meaningless if your audience isn’t going to engage with it. Save your posts for the opportune times by following these guidelines:
Post once a day on Facebook. A study by Track Social found that there is no significant change in the total audience response as posting to Facebook increases. In fact, they found that there is a decrease in engagement with each post beyond the first.
Post up to three times-a-day on Twitter. After three posts, engagement starts to drop, a study by Social Backers found.
On Instagram, post at least once a day. The good news for the Insta-obsessed amongst you is that there’s no evidence to suggest that engagement drops off as you post more frequently. Of course, it is worth mentioning that Instagram audiences expect high-quality content, and there are some theories suggesting that audience response drops as posting becomes erratic; so, however often you choose to post to Instagram, keep it consistent.
Pinterest, similarly to Instagram, is a channel where you can post to your heart’s content, and at any time of day. In recent yeas, the brands that have seen the strongest growth on Pinterest tend to post in vast quantities. Keeping your posting organised is the best tip we can offer you here. This is especially important for making sure your own content stands out: arrange this to be the first board visitors to your profile see.
3. Choose your platform carefully
Similarly to the differences in the number of posts you should make on each platform, the type of content that works best varies also.
Facebook audiences love videos; especially live videos. In fitting with the casual nature of the platform, these don’t have to be crafted too carefully. Facebook’s setup means that native videos (videos uploaded directly into Facebook, rather than shared from other platforms such as YouTube) work best.
Twitter is great for quick updates: a link to a blog post, a shout out to another creative, or a update-style plain-text message.
Instagram is a visual feast, but requires a certain polish to its products. The easy default here is product photos: images of the end-point of your creative efforts. But, Instagram is also a great platform to show your audience a bit of behind-the-scenes action, and this works particularly well in your story.
A tip with video content for: choose the orientation of your phone carefully as it changes depending on the platform: stories work in portrait, whereas Facebook videos remain easiest to view in landscape.
Pinterest is a great mode through which to share your inspirations and ideas. Along with that, infographics and how-to posts are at home here: nestling comfortably into the platform’s narrow, vertical columns.
4. Share your ideas
It’s easy to associate a risk with sharing too much on social media. We all take so much inspiration from what we see around us; so might other people steal our ideas? There’s a certain flattery in this, don’t forget.
Now, I’m definitely not suggesting that you jump online and share all of your creative secrets. But, creating a how-to video, a step-by-step guide or posting a few tips is one way to improve the diversity of your posts, and to give something back to your audience.
Sharing your knowledge also establishes you as an expert in your field. That’s not to say that you have to be an expert to create these sorts of posts, but it’s best to play it safe and teach others what you know best.
5. Be social
Finally, it goes without saying that each of the channels mentioned here require not only thoughtfulness in your posting, but a certain sociality as well. It’s in the name, after all.
Replying to messages, commenting on posts, following others and engaging with their content are all parts of the social media game. Engaging with your audience is part-and-parcel when building a relationship, which is where the strength in social media lies. If relationships weren’t important we would have stopped with websites. But, of course, be genuine in your online relationships, and communicate with your audience in the same manner that you would with someone who you were showing around your studio or creative space.
To finish, a final note about following others. Engaging followers on social media is in part about establishing your audience’s trust. There is an enormous value in following people and brands that you love, but also a risk to your credibility if the number of people you follow is far greater than the number following you.