Social media posting tips and guide for facebook and Google plus

Chasing "likes" and +1s, comments, shares and retweets has become a priority in our social media lives, whether related to building a fan base, generating leads, boosting link building efforts, or simply seeking acknowledgement from our circles. The purpose of this brief guide is to educate users on how to create more engaging posts on social media networks.   

The cruel reality of a "like"

The number of “likes”, a metric known in web analytics as “applause rate”, is essential in social media measurement. Studies have shown that one of the primary reasons users “like” content is to gain something, be it special offers, online games, exclusive content etc. Compared to online advertising, the “likes” in social media networks are equal to clicks, and “views” are equal to impressions. In fact, “likes” can be misleading as they are not necessarily an indication of successful posts, let alone the fact that they can be bought online inexpensively on sites such as fiverr. 
Some interesting statistics that capture the current state of social media sharing are the following:

  • The average number of +1s or likes is less than 10% of your followers.
  • An average post on Facebook is manipulated by its EdgeRank algorithm only to be seen by only 10% of your circles.
  • Less than 20% of fans visit their brand page more than once.
  • Facebook zero, a term coined by social@Ogilvy in 2014 illustrated the demise of organic reach of brand pages in Facebook.
Therefore a post is doomed to become dramatically attenuated right after it is blast reaching only a few recipients, unless it gets promoted through paid adverting or if it happens to be exceptional to become viral.

The 3 types of social media users

Identifying the audience you are writing for, can help you develop a framework for your posts. The social media users, according to a private research (2013, Focus Bari) can be divided in:

  •  The mainstream “watchers”. Mainly passive users who easily follow and are there “because most users are too”.
  •  The “unreachable” youth. Heavy users, mainly students, who actively participate within specific circles
  • The “multitasking” fans. Heavy users, mid-aged, who seek for infotainment, connectivity, learning and offers.   

Post creation rules in social media

As you can understand the following "rules" do not consist a panacea for poor content, but assuming that content is good enough to create engagement in the form of likes, shares and comments, these steps often present statistical significance.   

  • Call-to-action works. Fans tend to like, share or comment on a post 3 to 7 times more when asked to.
  • Use emoticons. Posts including emoticons tend to have more interactions
  • Consistency in your content can attract and filter the users who are really interested in what you are writing. 
  • Include a photo. Posts with photos tend to have up to 40% more interaction
  • Aim for engagement. Include questions in your posts. Thank and answer to all replies. Aim to increase "conversation rate" with your audience.
  • Keep your posts short and snappy. Try not to exceed 200 characters, as shorter posts get up to 25% more interaction.
  • Include links in your posts. Social media is the perfect recommendation tool and along with SEO are the highest performing lead generation channels. 

Hubspot's survey on lead generation per online marketing medium
Lead generation per medium

What are the best times to post?

This part has being covered extensively by many authors, but involves a practice that is hard to analyze since it heavily depends on content subject, social medium and the respective audience. Many marketing agencies and brands have dedicated departments that monitor users attitudes towards content engagement in social media.  

  • Highest usage at weekdays between 11-4 am. 3pm especially on Wednesday is the best time of the week to post.
  • Avoid Sundays. Interactions drop significantly, as the majority of users prefer to rest.
  • Take advantage of the "morning posting". Posts in the morning are seen by users first and engagement rates can increase by up to 40%.
Be prepared to come up and apply your own methodology when trying to increase engagement with your audience. Some helpful social media monitoring tools include topsy, hootsuite and klout.

13 November 2013,Vangelis Kovaios