Can content marketing work for small businesses? We see the larger brands pumping out great content, more great content and even more great content. In fact we use these brands as an example of content marketing done right. But for businesses whose pockets aren’t so deep and who don’t have every possible resource on hand, can content marketing still work?
Traditional marketing methods such as telephone, print and direct mail, are becoming less and less effective in this digital age. There is a much better way to create value and engagement for your small business.
Enter content marketing.
The digital age has provided a lot of new options for marketing. It can be quite overwhelming for new business owners to understand what approaches are available to them. With things like social media marketing and SEO to get your head around, you may feel a bit daunted by the idea of planning a content marketing strategy.
Marketing is one of the toughest parts of running a successful business. Tons of startups rise and fall every year, and much of the time, they don’t succeed because they didn’t have a solid marketing plan. In this article I’m going to discuss how a solid Content Marketing for SMEs strategy can swing things in your favour.
Without being glib, the obvious answer to the pertinent question of ‘What is the Best time to post on Social Media?” Is obviously when the people you want to see the content are on the networks. Simple right? Not really.
The fact you’re here searching for ‘when is the best time to post on social media’ is indicative of you understanding that there are obviously best practices for each social network and that posting at the best times will help you get more traffic, more engagement, and more followers.
First things first: Where are your audiences?
‘On the internets’ Is not a valid answer to this question… If you’re not already using Google Analytics then get that installed and let it run for a few days. Once you’ve done that, go ahead and log in and look at where your web audience is, and potentially where you want it to be. As an agency, we’re based near London in the UK. We do work with a few North America based companies and a couple of Yacht companies based in Monaco. However, the vast majority of our web traffic is UK based, so we’ll concern ourselves with appealing to UK based customers.
Let’s take a channel by channel look at the best times to post for our UK audiences.
Best time to post on Social Media – Instagram:
Generally speaking Instagram engagement for our client base is fairly steady. We see slight engagement increases on Monday and decreases on Sunday. Overall, though, any day of the week is good. In terms of times, it’s not unsurprising to see increased engagement with content during out of work hours and lunchtimes, than during the working day.
Key time: Mondays at 08.00 – try scheduling 4 or 5 posts around 8am and note what kind of engagement you get. Then by all means experiment.
Tip: Try using Iconosquare, an Instagram Analytics Tool
Best time to post on Social Media – Facebook:
Engagement on Facebook will be greater towards the end of the week (Wednesday onwards) and although some people swear by posting on Saturdays and Sundays, we see the bulk of our client’s engagement on Thursdays and Fridays. Saturdays are also pretty good. Engagement is definitely lower on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Happy, upbeat posts on a Friday in the afternoon tend to get the most shares and clicks but bear in mind that your content is also competing against lots of other people’s at these times.
Tip: Ramp up your content from Wednesday onwards, peaking on Friday and keep your posts during the day, with nothing going out after 7pm.
Best time to post on Social Media – Twitter:
First consideration here is: Are you B2B or B2C? If you’re B2B then you’ll definitely get more engagement during the working day and working week – which is no surprise really. B2B or perhaps more accurately B2P (Business to person) twitter activity gets far greater engagement at the weekends. We tend to focus our B2P client activity outside of the working day and we see a definite uptick in user engagement and follows outside of work hours for them.
Tip: Try targeting your tweets at audiences on the commute to and from work
Best time to post on Social Media – Linkedin:
Linkedin is fairly cut and dried for us. We get the most engagement on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. With Tuesdays being the best by some considerable margin. We’re actually scheduling this post to go out initially on a Tuesday at 10.30 as this would seem to be our best time for Shareable. This varies somewhat amongst our client base, but we don’t do anything on Linkedin for clients at the weekend and we tend to keep our times between 7-8am and 5-6pm.
Tip: Schedule any long-form content to go live on a Tuesday at 8 am and see what kind of engagement you get.
Figure out what works for you.
The advice above is fairly general and we have clients whose social channel engagement falls way outside what we would see as accepted norms. As a result, we’d always recommend a process of trial and error to figure out what works. Try rescheduling your content for different times and days to see what works for you. Don’t be afraid to post content multiple times – People consume your social media content over timelines and if they’ve seen the content before, they simply won’t click on it.
Ok, let’s get this out of the way straight away:
“No one cares about your journey.”
If you’ve been in business less than 10 years and you’re not making millions of pounds a year, then you’re not a guru yet. Stop acting like you’re a Guru and perhaps most importantly stop writing your marketing content like one. No one cares. I don’t want to see pictures of you looking contemplatively out of a window and neither do your clients.
If you’re starting a new business or starting out on your own for the first time the prospect of jumping into content marketing can be a little daunting. Content Marketing for Entrepreneurs means creating engaging content and takes time and experience. The more experience you get, the faster you’ll get at creating engaging content. Before you write anything, we recommend you read everything you can. This, of course, takes time, time that you probably don’t have. In fact, the vast majority of the entrepreneurial clients we work with are extremely time poor.
At the time of writing, we’re roughly 7 months away from the introduction of GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation which comes into force on the 25th May 2018. A quick Google search for GDPR pulls up a host of PPC ads asking you “Are you ready for GDPR?” and “GDPR Compliance – What you need to know”. If you delve a bit deeper you’ll probably find some highly emotive headlines telling you the world is going to end, the EU are going to fine you 20m Euros, the dead will rise from the grave, dogs and cats will live together… you know the drill.
Do you know that brand advocacy is the most powerful element of your marketing strategy? Not top notch SEO, not expensive UX Design and not next generation Ai. None of these things come close to beating the voice of your existing customers, in fact, word of mouth can be attributed to being behind 20 to 50% of all purchasing decisions.
What a person says about your brand, whether on social media, Google reviews or even while in the pub, converts like no other channel. Customers who are willing to share their great experience with your brand are your greatest asset. Leveraging them into your marketing strategy will give you more ROI than anything else.
Brand Advocacy: Understanding your customers:
A large proportion of consumers, and importantly your customers, don’t trust traditional advertising but 90% believe in brand recommendations from their friends and trusted industry leaders.
This phenomenon is why marketing techniques like influencer marketing and word of mouth have become massive in recent years. But it’s nothing new. Brands have been utilising influencers and industry leaders in order to promote their products and services for as long as there have been brands.
One practical example is Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract with a popular brand. In 2016 alone, he generated $500M in value for Nike.
“Ronaldo posted 1,703 times overall on social media in 2016. Those posts generated 2.25 billion social interactions (likes, comments, shares, retweets, and views on videos). Nike was referenced or its logo visible in a photo or video in 347 of the posts. These posts had 477 million interactions. The result: $499.6 million for Nike in media value from Ronaldo’s posts.”
Marketers are turning to brand ambassadors, social media influencers and even motivated customers to help them meet their marketing goals – in the process, they’re building brand awareness, acquiring new customers and keeping retention numbers at a healthy level.
At Shareable we help you create more of these highly satisfied customers. We help build brand awareness and relationships with customers who will become brand advocates for you, posting pictures of your product on Instagram and taking the time to write reviews on your business’s Facebook page.
Brand Advocacy: How we do it.
Let’s face it, incentives work and when you’re first building your brand advocate army they can be a way to get an easy win. Ask yourself: ‘why’ someone should follow you on Social Media. Generally speaking, people won’t engage with your brand if other people aren’t – even if your product or service is exemplary.
By incentivising your social media engagement (especially in the early stages) you are more likely to build lasting positive relationships with your target audience demographic. Getting the ball rolling with a competition, discount or give away can be a very cheap way to rapidly build a highly targeted audience.
Brand Advocacy: Building a customer-centric knowledge base
As marketers, we are often using our content marketing activities to educate our clients’ customers about the products or services they’re selling. This content becomes highly shareable information that customers can share with their own friends and contacts on social media. Are you writing a blog for your customers? Ask yourself if the blog posts you’re writing are something that your customers would be likely to share. If not, why not? If the content isn’t up to scratch then it’s unlikely that they’ll view it as something to share with their network of friends and colleagues.
Adobe’s recent ‘State of Content’ report found that some of the top reasons for sharing content are because people want to:
- Raise awareness on an issue
- Share knowledge
- Show others content that’s enjoyable
- Connect with others
Create content with value
More than 50% consumers, worldwide, are happy to pay more for products or services from brands that are aligned with their values. Is your brand environmentally friendly? Is it sustainable? Do you want to be known for social awareness? Consumers are more passionate about the brands that advocate their passions.
Be involved. Have an opinion as a brand. You don’t have start some great cause to inspire your audience and turn them into advocates, simply speaking out or becoming involved as issues arise can show consumers how much your brand cares. More importantly, you’re giving your brand advocates a good reason to talk about your company.
Brand Advocacy: Saying thanks
When someone writes a positive review, say thank you. If they refer a friend, say thank you. Have they shared their experience with their social networks or in any way advocated your brand, say thank you. Real brand advocates are the ones who shout out your brand whenever they have a positive experience. Want to encourage more advocacy from your satisfied customer base? Let them know their act was appreciated.