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Social media is a low cost but highly effective marketing tool. If you do it right, it can be a great source of traffic to your website and content. It also allows you to track statistics, depending on your goals. There are many channels to choose from, and the more networks you join, the more engagement with your brand you receive.

This doesn’t mean that you need to be on every social media platform. What works for one business may not work for another. At the same time, what works for your business on one channel will not necessarily reflect the same elsewhere.

Each social media channel has its own best practices for marketing your business. For the purpose of this article, we will provide some hacks for advertising your small business on only a few of the larger networks, as well as their pros and cons.

Facebook

This is the cool kid from school that everyone knows. If you had to choose only one social network for your business, Facebook would be it. It sends more traffic to one’s website than any other platform, plus it has members from almost every generation (especially if you want to reach millennials and Gen X). Most users spend more than 20 minutes on Facebook every day for entertainment and news, making it the most popular network to reach potential and current clients, depending on how you use it.

Best practices for marketing on Facebook:

  • Keep your post copy short and sweet.
  • Don’t overdo the hashtags – if you have to use them, no more than two per post.
  • Add an image whenever possible and a video now and then (video content is slowly growing on social media networks).
  • Use a link that refers users to the original content of the post.
  • Avoid posts that present overly promotional copy.
  • The best days to post are Saturdays and Sundays, followed by Thursdays and Fridays (especially upbeat content that will make people smile).
  • Posting from 12h00 to 13h00 will get you more shares while posting at 15h00 will get the most post clicks.
  • Keep in mind: the half-life of a typical Facebook post is 90 minutes.

Facebook is broadly used on both desktops and mobiles, at work and at home. So when you make use of this platform to drive traffic to your website, make sure it is readable on mobile as well.

Twitter

The little brother of Facebook with no attention span, this platform considers itself as both a news and social platform where retweeting (sharing) and curation are encouraged. Even though users only spend an average of 2 minutes on this oversaturated platform daily, and more than half of them almost never tweet, every business should consider having a Twitter account, especially if they want to appeal to their male clients.

Best practices for marketing on Twitter:

  • Use images in every tweet to get 150% more engagement than tweets without pics.
  • For more exposure, tag influencers and partners that have more followers in your tweets.
  • Do not spam your tweets with hashtags. No more than #three #relevant #hashtags.
  • Respond to all comments in order to avoid a negative impression and leaving clients dissatisfied.
  • Any day is a good day to tweet, but Wednesdays will get you more exposure.
  • B2B marketing performs 16% better during business hours, while B2C advertising has 17% better exposure on weekends.
  • Best times to tweet: when people are most likely to have time reading updates (think lunch, tea breaks and commuting times).
  • Keep in mind: the half-life of a tweet is 24 minutes. That’s why it’s necessary to post more regularly than on other platforms.

This network is suited for businesses that love sharing blog posts and promoting their website content to the younger generation (ages 18 to 49). It is also a good place for quick customer service.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the professional connection in a suit you take with on a business lunch. He is not your best friend, eager on hearing your personal issues or how your family is doing. However, he does provide you with the tools to find the right people and companies to connect with.

Best practices for marketing on LinkedIn:

  • Always keep it professional.
  • Aim to make business connections rather than social ones.
  • Do use images in your posts.
  • It is encouraged to share industry related posts that are related to your business.
  • The best day to post is midweek (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays).
  • Users read updates on this platform like a newspaper before work or while they are in commute. Thus, the best times to post is directly before the start and after the end of a workday.

LinkedIn is the perfect platform to reach high earners and recent graduates. Keep in mind that users of this network are less likely to hang out on other platforms. So if your target market is slightly more broad, do not focus all your energy on this one only.

Instagram

The fastest growing platform out of them all. This little sister of Facebook is carefree with a different outlook on life and a follower of big brands. Users are predominantly young women (under the age of 35) who spend a lot of time on their phones.

Best practices for marketing on Instagram:

  • Aim for authentic rather than promotional posts.
  • You don’t have a choice. You absolutely need an image or short video here!
  • Use location tags on posts – you will get 79% more engagement since people love seeing interesting places.
  • For more exposure, tag influencers and partners that have more followers in your posts, especially when you share their content.
  • Go wild (whoa, not too wild) with hashtags. Stick to about 10 hashtags towards the end of the post to not overload your post.
  • The best days to post are Mondays and Thursdays. Stay away from posting on the weekend.
  • The best times to post are outside the normal social media peak hours – between 08h00 to 09h00, 14h00 and 15h00 and after 20h00 in the evenings (videos posted at 21h00 get 24% more engagement).

Instagram is suited for your business if you have a strong visual brand (think food and design industries). However, this platform is not the best place if your objective is to drive traffic to your blog or website since the audience here is more visually inclined.

Pinterest

This platform is the online personification of creative scrapbooking. Most ideas posted here are used over and over again, provided it’s done correctly. This channel is a great place to reach women from most generations (even though most of them are under 40) that are not on Instagram and use Pinterest to find inspiration for projects. Users are 10% more likely to make a purchase on a website that was referred by Pinterest than any other social network.

Best practices for marketing on Pinterest:

  • Keep your posts positive to inspire your audience. No bad energy.
  • Include a link back to your website or content.
  • Focus on visuals as well as good content.
  • The best days for posting are Saturdays. If you are posting any other day, make sure to follow the subjects of the day.
  • The best times to post are in the evenings after 20h00. Think of Pinterest as a platform that people would use as if they are watching TV or reading a magazine to relax.
  • If you do need to post during work hours, which is not recommended, make sure to include a call to action. Otherwise, 80% of users will not interact.
  • Make sure your post descriptions are evergreen to keep users interested for a long time.
  • Keep in mind: the half-life of a pin is 151 200 minutes. To put it into perspective, that’s 2 520 hours or 105 days or 15 weeks.

YouTube

Some say YouTube is better than TV. Around 2 million videos are viewed per minute on this platform. This platform is worth mentioning as it is the second largest social media network, and 55% of men that spend time online will use this channel. It can be difficult to provide a constant production of videos for your brand, but it is worth the try if your target market is spending time on YouTube.

Social media channels have different personalities and therefore will attract different audiences. Knowing what makes your business unique will help you decide which one to use in your social media marketing strategy. And remember to have fun with it!

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