by Anna McGeady
PR pros are constantly looking for metrics to gauge the efficacy of their communications efforts. And while social shares, mentions, likes and comments tell an important story, often the main metric a client is looking for is website traffic. Here, the lines between PR, marketing and sales get a little blurry, as the main goal of PR is to establish awareness about a client’s product, whereas other departments are responsible for turning that awareness into leads. That being said, there are some effective methods PR teams can employ to help drive additional traffic to a client’s website. One of the best ones? Blogging.
Did you know that blogging on Thursdays will maximize social media shares, but posting on Mondays will drive more traffic to your site? A recent article titled “A Scientific Guide to Maximizing Your Impact on Twitter, Facebook, and Other Digital Media,” explains the best times to post to various digital media platforms. The article, which was republished in Fast Company, received more than 10,000 shares on social media and certainly caught our attention.
As the author of this article mentions, results can vary depending on industry, company and audience, so readers should “use this guide as just that—a guide to help you work out what to test for your own audience, so that you can see what actually works best in your specific case.”
After looking at the data featured in this article, it’s easy to see the value of experimentation and analytics when it comes to social media. For example, if the below graph represented reactions to your tweets, you would certainly make sure to send out tweets on weekends.
Many studies on timing of social media posts are contradictory. Therefore, it’s important to study your past posts and determine when your specific audience is online, and there are several tools available to help you do this.
Evidence on the best content to post is more conclusive, though it varies per platform. For Twitter, links get the most retweets, and you can better your odds by simply asking for an “RT” or “retweet”. Check out this list of the most commonly retweeted words and phrases. Including at least one relevant hashtag per tweet is also recommended.
For Facebook, the new Facebook Insights page is a great place to determine what to post and when. With Insights you can view audience demographics and explore what kinds of posts (links, photos, videos, etc.) garnered the most likes, comments and shares. You can also look at your page’s progress over several months. As far as timing goes, posting at the end of the week and weekends generally helps boost interaction and engagement, but again it’s best to study your post history and see what’s working for your page.
We’ve discovered a few Facebook content tips while working with our social media clients as well as through some research. One thing we know for sure: Facebook users love photos. Some other Facebook pointers:
Shorter posts are more popular (under 140 characters but ideally less than 70)
Question posts get 100% more comments, but fewer likes and shares
Facebook fans love contests and coupons
We’ve seen success using these tactics with our own client, Iceland Naturally, which has more than 113,000 Likes. We post to their Facebook page daily, always attach a photo, usually include a link and often ask questions. As a result, last month’s posts reached an average of 10,000 people. We’ve also discovered the popularity of photos albums which we post monthly, with the most recent album reaching 18,720 people.
Truly understanding your audience is at the heart of every successful marketing campaign. Social media enables you to directly connect with your audience, ask them what they like, analyze their online habits and adjust your strategy and tactics in real time.
What works best for you? Do you have any social media content rules you live by?