Social media gives your company the opportunity to connect and engage on a personal level with both current and potential customers. This avenue is a direct driver for business, as 74% of customers rely on social media to guide their purchasing decisions. However, you need more than simply a social media presence to help grow your business.
By having an overall strategy and using specific types of posts to reach your goals, social media can be a cornerstone of your marketing. Social media is more important than ever, with PwC finding that 58% of people have increased their social media use since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 86% expect to maintain their current level of use.
Every social media post should have a goal and purpose that ties back to your overall brand strategy. Here are five types of posts that get results for businesses:
Pull back the curtain
Customers want to feel like they have a relationship with a brand.
Many companies create product-based social media posts, but behind-the-scenes posts can help potential customers feel connected to your brand. When you share how you create a product or post an accelerated version of creating a new window display, customers feel like they’re getting to know your company. This type of post can also help you fill gaps in your content and post consistently on your channels.
Employee-created informational videos that share tips or celebrations such as birthdays can help build rapport with customers. This level of sharing can translate into increased revenue, as 53% of customers say they are likely to buy from brands that are transparent on social media.
Many companies create very formal behind-the-scenes posts, but even an informational video of an employee speaking or a funny TikTok video showing the product loading process can help engage customers. Often, the most effective posts of this type use video, but images can work as well, especially if they include great captions. Whenever possible, direct people back to your website from your social media post. Your goal is to keep your website and online store at the center of interactions.
Behind-the-scenes posts are great to share on Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories, which are posts that are visible for 24 hours. In a Facebook survey, 62% of respondents said that they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Facebook and Instagram Stories.
Best channels: Facebook, Twitter (video), TikTok, Snapchat
Example: A pet supply company could tweet about the office pets. You could show a dog playing ball in the warehouse with an employee, and pictures of the fish tank in the lobby. For extra creativity, you could have the tweets come from the fish or dog sharing office updates.
Teach your followers
Businesses often create posts that talk directly about their product, such as discussing features and why someone should buy it. Instead, create posts that help customers see why they need your product and how they can get more use from it. For example, a specialty bakery can create posts that talk about how to cut a cake properly or how to set up an appealing cake table. Because 54% of social browsers use social media to research products, companies that show customers how to get more value from their products can increase sales by teaching people instead of selling to them.
You can either share content you’ve already created, such as an infographic or video, or create new educational content specifically for these posts. While sharing other people’s content can be effective, this type of post involves your brand providing educational information — so creating your own unique content works best.
Videos work great for demonstrations, and they’re easy to share on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Sprout Social Index found that 67% of consumers consider video to be the most transparent type of social media posts. For Twitter, you can create photos with captions that show different ways to use a product, or tips and tricks. Pinterest works well for sharing photos and infographics that give tips — or a link to an article that provides tips. If you sell to other businesses, consider creating a LinkedIn article that provides information about solving your business customers’ challenges.
Best channels: Facebook, Twitter (video), YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, LinkedIn
Example: An insurance company can create a short video showing parents how to start a conversation with their kids about the dangers of drinking and driving. Through role play, the video can give parents ideas of how to broach the topic and talking points to use in their own conversation. This type of content helps potential customers realize that the insurance agent understands their challenges and can provide more value than simply purchasing a policy.
Make them laugh
Companies often err on the side of being too serious and businesslike. However, Sprout Social found that 71% of consumers watch videos on social media to laugh. By using humor on social media, you can increase engagement with current customers and grow your follower count when people share your post with their friends.
However, humor can easily backfire — which is why many brands shy away. Start by considering your audience. Think about what they find amusing, as well as what would likely offend them. Also think about whether the post is something that your followers would feel comfortable and compelled to share publicly on their timeline.
Creating a funny meme by adding words to an image is a simple and effective way to create a sharable humorous post. You can also use a video produced on a phone with outtakes or funny commentary. Customers appreciate brands showing their human side. TikTok is also a great way to make your followers laugh with funny musical parodies. With many people other than Gen Z now on TikTok, brands that target buyers in different generations may want to consider posting on the platform — for both education and comic relief.
Maintain your brand voice. Your social media posts should use the same tone and voice as all other communications. According to a survey from Stackla, 86% of consumers say authenticity influences which brands they like and support. Remember that your brand is speaking to your customers — not you, the person writing the posts.
Best channels: Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat
Example: A dentist’s office gets the dentist and hygienist to create a TikTok to the latest song to show their fun side while also showing the proper way to floss teeth.
Share interesting content
By sharing content from other businesses and people who are interesting and relevant to your followers, you can build trust and increase your value. When you share another person’s blog post or infographic, they are more likely to share your content with their followers — which increases your exposure as well.
When selecting content to share, make sure that the originator shares similar values as your brand. Because curating high-quality content takes time, many brands will find content to share for the next week or month and then use a scheduling tool. By scheduling your posts ahead of time, you can set aside time each week to build your social media calendar and ensure consistency. To be as relevant as possible, be sure to include posts related to recent events or what’s happening in your customers’ lives.
One way to share content is to find blogs, articles, videos, and infographics posted on websites, and then create a new post with a link to the content. You can also share social media posts from another person or business that contains their content. By adding your own commentary in the post, even if it’s a share, you can increase the content’s value for your followers.
Best channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
Example: A children’s clothing store can share news articles on the latest toy recalls, as well as articles about fun things to do with your kids during rainy days.
Sell your products
With 37% of consumers saying that social networks are their biggest source of inspiration for purchasing, promotional posts should be part of your strategy. However, posts that directly promote your products should make up only a small portion of your posts. When you create promotional posts, consider adding a reason buyers should purchase the product now. One reason could be a limited-time discount, or you could encourage customers to be the first of their friends to own a new arrival. You can also promote products that are timely, such as sharing that you have 10 sleds left in stock as a winter storm approaches. Be sure to include a high-quality picture and price information in the post.
Promotional posts should be created as shoppable posts, meaning customers can buy directly from the post, making it as easy as possible for someone to buy your product. Each month, 130 million Instagram accounts tap a shopping post to learn more about a product.
Because mobile shopping has grown in popularity, with 45% of people increasing their number of purchases from a mobile device since the COVID-19 pandemic began, be sure your posts are optimized for mobile and that products are easy to purchase, especially if you’re not using shoppable posts.
Best channels: Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook
Example: A hardware store could post a picture of a young boy holding the sled his dad just bought for the upcoming snowstorm, which will be the first time he sees snow. The post should include the price and also encourage customers to come to the store now — because there are only 10 in stock. Even though the store is brick and mortar, it creates a shoppable post using a Square Online Checkout link to allow customers to pay from home and pick up in the store.
Create a strategy to move forward
While social media has long been a cornerstone of marketing, the pandemic has increased usage among customers, which makes it even more important for businesses to devote time and resources to their social media. By carefully creating a social media strategy, following, and voice, you can gain followers and new customers for your business.
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