When used correctly, social media can be one of the most powerful forms of marketing and one of the most effective ways to grow your audience. For publishers, social media offers an opportunity to distribute content, reach new readers, and engage with their audiences. In this post we dig into what each of these channels can do for your business and offer some goals/guidelines for each one.
Remember, just because you wrote something great, doesn't mean people automatically know about it. Each social channel has a different demographic and intended use, so for the best return on investment, you’ll want to ensure that the channel’s usage matches your content and your audience. With an ever-changing digital landscape, creating a unique and targeted post for each social channel can be a challenge, but trust me, it’s well-worth the effort! Google drove 50% of total visits to sites examined in the last 12 months, but social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter combined drove a whopping 25%, which creates huge opportunity to increase your audience.
It can take some trial and error when it comes to uncovering when to publish a post. In addition to that, each major social network continues to diverge in how they are set up and also what your audiences may expect on each one. Every platform also has its own set of character limits, best times to post, ideal image sizes and more. For example, the best way to get the most engagement on Instagram won’t work the same way for Twitter – even for the same exact article or topic! Successful brands on social media are constantly changing their message between social networks for any given post. So what does the perfect post for each social platform look like? Glad you asked! Today we’ll guide you through the process of creating epic, engaging and beautifully crafted messages for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to help increase visibility and drive more traffic to your site!
No matter what type of post you’re sharing on Facebook, the copy you add alongside your content can be crucial in how it performs. Facebook audience research shows that their platform continues to be the most widely used social media channel, with 2.23 billion people logged in to the platform every month. That’s a huge number of people that you can potentially reach and convert. Although Facebook’s character limit is not modest by any means, studies show that posts with 80 characters or less receive about 66% higher engagement. So in this case, less is more! The more engagement you get on each post, the more people will see it, and the more likely they are to actually click over to your site. After all, Facebook is responsible for 18% of website traffic.
A great example of this is a recent Facebook post by Entertainment Weekly shown below. In this post they just give us a small nugget into what’s covered in the article without revealing too much, and it ultimately yielded high engagement:
Some other useful tips for creating captivating and effective Facebook posts include: adding a quote from your content, using emojis 🤗, or using a list to break out some of your key points. One of my favorite methods is asking a question-- for example, instead of saying “Here’s our Ultimate Guide to Increasing Reader Engagement” you can say something more along the lines of: “Looking for ways to increase your reader engagement? No worries! Check out our complete guide here:” Notice how a small tweak like this can totally change the way this message is delivered, making it more relatable and helpful to the consumer, in turn encouraging them to click over your content!
Twitter is a great way to reach more people using short and sweet copy. Even the smallest tweaks to your tweets can be effective in driving more engagement and traffic. The most popular tweets are about 33 characters, even though the limit is now 280 characters-- and we suggest sticking to that lower number! Tweets shorter than 100 characters get a 17 percent higher engagement rate, so we always recommend keeping tweets concise but informational! Additionally, try to avoid overusing hashtags, as it rarely translates to more clicks.
Another pro tip is to rewrite headlines when you are sharing links with previews. Using alternative headlines or picking out a key quote from the post can help hook people and diversify the content of your tweet, especially if the headline is already displayed in the post. We want people engaged enough to visit your site and keep reading, but not give too much away in the post that they don’t feel the need to read the full article.
A great example of this can be seen in a recent tweet from one of our favorite life-style sites, Grok Nation! Notice below how they re-worded their tweet to not mimic the headline in the link preview, and even gave a small summary of what’s covered in the article, which will call users to click over to the article:
Lastly, tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images, so make sure you’re adding media to your posts to optimize engagement! As a matter of fact, users engaged 5x more when an image was included in a post. Again, more engagement equals more visibility, which means more opportunities to reach new people and convert them into loyal visitors!
Instagram is an excellent way to create more visibility as one third of US internet users are on the platform! Similar to Facebook posts, Instagram allows quite a hefty character limit (2,200), but keep in mind that it will cut off the text after three lines. That being said, you’ll ideally want to hook the reader’s attention in your opening. This will encourage users to keep reading, especially if you have a longer and more informational caption continued after those initial three lines. One very effective strategy when using Instagram is adding hashtags, which, similar to Twitter, will increase your reach and allow Instagrammers to discover your content.
Another tactic is always making efforts to reply to your audience. Disqus has never been shy about emphasizing how effective replying to your commenters can be, and we stand by it! Prompting your followers to respond directly to your post is one of the best ways to increase engagement, which will build trust and encourage people to read more of your content on your site.
A new trend that’s on the rise on Instagram is to use the caption as a sort of micro-blog post to share valuable content with your followers. Here are a few different ways you can make this approach work for you:
- Tutorials: Your Instagram caption is a great way to share a tutorial with your audience.
- Behind-the-scenes: A personal Disqus favorite! Take your followers behind the scenes by using the caption to tell the story behind an image.
- Tips and tricks: Small nuggets of information related to the theme of your Instagram post. For example, accompanying an image of a freshly cooked meal, you could include secret cooking tips that you used.
A great example of a publisher that is absolutely killing the Instagram game is Jamie Oliver who covers mainly food and lifestyle. In the Instagram post below, we’re drawn in by the colorful, high res image posted, and then he directs us to his cookbook where the recipe lives!
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Meatballs alla norma...happy Saturday indeed!! Polenta in Italy is like mash over here. Done properly it's delicious, and does such a wonderful job soaking up this Sicilian-inspired aubergine Norma sauce with meatballs. So comforting, give it a go - p142 from Save With Jamie. #DinnerInspiration
A post shared by Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver) on
Utilizing a call to action is key here. Whether that’s asking your followers to flip to a certain page in your book or click on the link to your website, at the end of the day, the goal is to turn your followers into loyal website visitors. Instagram is a great platform for younger audiences, and it is always adding new functionality for marketers to reach more and more users!
So, what are your favorite social media strategies to increase traffic and drive engagement? Share your favorite methods below! 👇