by Anne Szustek Talbot, VP of Content, BX3
If a website is the digital economy’s functional equivalent of a storefront, social media outreach is the equivalent of a flyer: the public hands them out, shares them, and spreads the word. In a business environment dominated by e-commerce, a business without a website is effective without a signpost. Conversely, an active social media presence is a sign to the world — specifically our potential clients and news sources that we would like to have to cover us — that we are alive, thriving, and thinking about and developing solutions for the key issues of the day.
Not to mince words, but a strong social media presence is also a company’s refrigerator: It’s the perfect place to showcase our latest projects, media mentions, or new solutions.
Some 60 percent of businesses have a Facebook presence. Given the personal nature of the platform, the primary goal of a Facebook strategy is to let the world writ large that you exist. Posting on Facebook also helps Google and other major search engines find you and alert the world to your presence.
Generally we suggest posting one piece of content to the site per weekday. If at all possible, we alternate content with whatever is being posted to LinkedIn that day (more about that later). For major company news, double posting with LinkedIn is just fine, as long as the lead-in text differs at least slightly.
Tips to keep in mind:
- Remember to tag key players relevant to the post to maximize views/interactions (and in turn, boost our page rankings in the algorithm). Relevant players can include:
- The media outlet that published the article
- The entities mentioned in the post. For example, a post about your company’s partnership with an organization should tag that other organization to improve visibility and inspire the other group(s) to like and share your post.
- Given the laid-back nature of the network — it’s where people go to kill time, after all — Facebook posts can take a breezier tone than posts on more news-focused platforms such as Twitter or business-minded platforms such as LinkedIn.
- The most engaging Facebook posts are ones that ask for interaction on the part of the reader. Try ending a post-closing with a question that asks for comment on their take on the story. For example, a post about entrepreneurship could end by asking the reader something along the lines of “What obstacles have you faced in funding, and what have you learned?”
LinkedIn is a social network geared towards like-minded professionals and potential clients and investors looking to connect with the next great minds and companies.
- Aim for at least one post per weekday. If there is no news from your company or clients in your orbit, post content pertinent and relevant to your company’s interests. Some examples could be venture capital tips, remote work tips, or how to spot the next great project.
- Get that thought leadership content to do double duty. Land a great byline in a publication? Publish something snappy on your Medium channel? Get some two-fold leveraging on LinkedIn:
- The person to whom the byline is credited should publish an excerpt as a thought leadership post from their page/account, with backlinks to the story. Once that LinkedIn post is live, share with whoever runs your firm’s company LinkedIn page. (If you’re reading this, ostensibly that might be you.) Create a post/update on your company’s feed according to best practice (more on that in a second).
- Remember to tag key players. Anyone who is connected to or follows the people and companies tagged in a post will be able to see the company post in the feed. Key players include, but are not limited to:
- The people mentioned/quoted in the article
- The publication
- Partner firms involved in the story
5. LinkedIn uses hashtags to help sort content and direct audiences accordingly. Pepper hashtags through the intro text on a post in a way that reads naturally. (That is, don’t force them into your prose. Does #venturecapital or #entrepreneurlife101 come up when writing a synopsis? Great. If not, don’t force it. Key hashtags relevant to the piece not already used should follow at the end of the post.
Twitter is where we engage with the media world writ large, as well as for quick comments with our fans and followers. The microblogging platform also helps keep our digital presence fresh, as search engine results about a given company will often show its latest Tweets.
- Aim for at least three posts per weekday: one in the morning Eastern time, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening. Some weekdays I might do four or five Tweets, with other posts just before lunch and/or mid-afternoon.
- On weekends and holidays, try to post at least one Tweet per day. Retweets are fine. (More about RTs in a minute.)
- Remember hashtags. Hashtags are how people find your content — and in the case of trending hashtags, how your target audiences and media outlets can seek you out for information — or in the case of a journalist, quote you in a story.
- Find content to Tweet by doing Google News searches/alerts for:
- Your company
- Topics relevant to your service offerings: e.g. venture capital, entrepreneurship, blockchain;
- Surefire sources of third-party content include publications geared to your industry, as well as where you might be right now — Medium!
- Anytime you have a media mention, post the story at least four times:
- When the story goes live
- At least three more times; in as much as the story remains relevant.
2. When posting, @-tag key players to encourage interaction and visibility of the post and, in turn, your brand:
- The outlet
- The journalist who wrote the story
- Any clients mentioned
3. RTs and comments are a great way to interact with and engage key thought leaders such as media outlets, journalists, and influencers in our field. If you’re on your phone and have a second, engage with some top influencers on our behalf. Replying to Twitter threads gives us visibility on several levels:
- Influencers, by definition, have thousands of followers. By replying to active threads, other key players will be seeing our brand.
- Engagement with key influencers improves your ranking in the algorithm, meaning more people are likely to see your posts.
Mostly blogging platform, a little bit social media, Medium is a great place for us to shine and make ourselves look smart (not that we weren’t already).
- The best-performing posts in general run between 500 and 2,000 words. Generally, our posts tend to hover within 100 words of 1,000 words, but that’s not a hard and fast rule.
- Include multimedia content every 300 words or so; i.e. for a 1,000-word story, include three photos, embedded videos, etc. Pixabay, Pexels, and Unsplashare good sources for free stock images.
- If there’s a solid quotable quote, include a pull quote in the piece, using the giant quote mark function.
- Be sure to include anchor links every 200 words or so. Aim to link phrases in an SEO-friendly manner; that is, phrases that a person would likely enter into a search engine, such as “how to secure fundraising.” Aim for a mix of links to our own content (as in landing pages on our website and other Medium posts), as well as to relevant content from high-traffic, well-respected websites, such as The New York Times, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Investopedia, etc.
Link shortener: Chopping down the search for metrics
Whenever possible (feasibly, when in front of a laptop), use a link shortener [bit.ly is a favourite] to truncate links before posting. In addition to creating more succinct social media posts, when logged in, the tool allows for tracking of how many times the shortened link has been clicked; which times; and the country where the reader is located. Bit.ly also allows for saving shortened links for later use. Any link entered into the platform that has already been shortened automatically will be filed with the original link, making for seamless tracking.
The trick to an effective social media marketing strategy is to position key content in a way that leads to our target audience as if they are not actually being targeted. Rather, the key is natural engagement: Leverage our spotlight content in a way that sparks conversation and interest. Chances are if you find that a piece of content piques your interest, more likely than not someone shares that sentiment — and in turn, will also share that content.
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