- Posted by Erin O'Bannon
- On February 9, 2017
I’m not going to tell you this is a “simple way to increase traffic” – it takes some work up front.*
(*Though there is a simple way, and that’s with Cortex.)
But once you figure out what works, you can optimize your social media content, automate publishing in the future and spend less time using social media scheduling tools.
The good news:
You don’t need to be a
rocket data scientist to figure out the optimal posting schedule for your brand. You probably already know what you need to do, just not where to start.
The formula for compelling content –
Relevant topic + posting at the best times + using engaging keywords, hashtags, and media + smart promotion.
Easier said than done.
I’m going to make it as easy as possible for you. This post will outline the steps to follow to improve your social media publishing schedule and increase engagement.
First: Share the same thing multiple times
The number one way to increase engagement on your social media posts is to increase the number of times you share it. As Razor Social points out, “scheduling your social media content correctly will result in more traffic to your website.”
How many times do you usually share a piece of content? Once, right after you publish it? Once per social network (3+ times)? Maybe a few times per channel?
How many times have you had a follower complain that you share the same thing multiple times? I’ve never had it happen. That’s because your audience most likely doesn’t see most of the content you share. People are on social networks at different times of the day, usually during their morning commute, lunch time, and after work.
How to Share the Same Post Multiple Times
To make sure your audience won’t complain about seeing the same post, create several variations that they will want to click on.
No, you shouldn’t just share clickbait. Though it does work as long as you deliver value. Even when talking about his ‘Cosmo Headline’ technique, Brian Clark at Copyblogger says, “your headline makes a promise that your sales copy or content must fulfill, so a smartly written article headline tells you exactly what the content must provide to the reader in order to keep the promise you made.”
Start with understanding the needs of your audience. What problems you can help them solve? That is what you should be writing about (and curating). So include the “What’s in it for me?” in your social media posts.
When you are sharing content, make sure you include a call to action. Even though your post is interesting, readers need to know what to do next (“here’s how,” “learn more,” “read the post”). Otherwise, they will just read your status update before moving on to the next one.
Experiment with headlines. You may already do it as part of the writing process. If not, you should because “Headlines are worth 90% of the advertising dollar” as Neil Patel explains.
Why not get some added value out of them? You can also take key highlights from within your content and use those in a tweet or Facebook update.
How to find the best headline for your blog post using Twitter
> An hour later, share the post with the second-best headline.
> Use Twitter Analytics or Bitly to see which tweet got more clicks.
> Change your blog post title to the winner (if necessary).
Other social media post strategies that drive engagement are how-to guides, lists and asking questions. CoSchedule has a great tool to help you analyze post copy: http://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer
Second: Automate your social media posts to save time
Best way to post more frequently is with automation tools. Social media publishing tools let you save time by sharing to multiple social networks at once and increase engagement by scheduling posts for the future.
You can read hundreds of reports and “ultimate guides to the best times to publish on social media.” But how accurate are those reports? They generalize based on their own audience.
Neil Patel also has a great post on this topic.
Why not let algorithms analyze the data and recommend a schedule? Social media automation tools can also determine the optimal times to reach your audience based on their behavior. Mary Wallace explains: “The trail of activity left by a lead’s digital engagement — like opens, clicks and website visits — can be harnessed to drive better engagement.” The best publishing tools track your audience’s digital activities and predicts the ideal times for you to reach them with a post.
Finally: Find the most engaging deployment and content factors
Most of the time you still have to guess and experiment with content to see what works.
Matt Wolpin, Senior Manager of Social Media at Juniper Networks, did an audit of the brand’s social media content “to find the content that engaged and inspired their audiences and get rid of the content that turned them off.”
This is the most challenging part, requiring some data analysis.
Audits take a long time, and what engages and inspires your customers changes every day. But, hopefully, I can help make it easier for you.
Look at your social media analytics (get as much as you can from competitors and your industry). You’ll need to go into the insights/analytics section of each network, or in your social media management tool of choice (like Spredfast, Sproutsocial, Curalate, etc) and export the post performance metrics.
How to calculate post engagement rates
- Look at the total number of engagements for each post (shares + likes + comments + clicks) and divide that number by the total reach of each post to get the engagement rate.
- Facebook no longer shows you a breakdown of specific engagements beyond link clicks and photo views on individual posts. If you use a social media management platform, it may provide metrics of how many shares, comments, likes or other interactions on a post level.
- Twitter, on the other hand, provides a breakdown of each type of engagement (retweets, replies, likes, follows, email tweet, etc)
How to find the highest engagement by day and hour
- Facebook provides metrics at the page level showing when your fans are most active.
- You can use Google Analytics to see what days and times people click through to your website from each social network. The easiest way to access that data is by creating a custom report, or you can use a template created by Marketing Land: http://mklnd.com/1koPNr1
Since the whole process of analyzing content is pretty tedious, I went ahead and created a template for Facebook and Twitter analysis.
You can use this spreadsheet to identify the top Facebook and Twitter posts by engagement and see which days and times your posts get the highest engagement. Just make a copy for yourself, and you can copy data from your Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics reports and paste it into the template to find your top posts.
Now that you’ve identified which posts your audience engages with the most, you can make more content like them.
Unfortunately, you have to redo the research on a regular basis because, well, tastes change.
How to optimize publishing with Cortex
With Cortex you can skip step 3 entirely (and make step 2 easier). Cortex is designed to easily optimize your social media posts using AI, so you can focus on being creative. You don’t need to use excel or spend hours weeding through data.
Like the GPS of content marketing, Cortex tells you which routes to take to save time, save money and get the best views 😉
See how Visit Utah did it
Utah is home to five national parks and arguably the greatest snow on earth. The natural beauty of the state attracts visitors from all over the world.
The Utah Office of Tourism, uses social media to show all that Utah has to offer. From skiing to fishing, from hiking and eating, Utah has it all. And in order to make sure all their key messages are turned into social posts that drive success in each travel season, they use Cortex to make data-driven creative decisions.
Using Cortex to help them create and distribute their content, Visit Utah has been able to
- Increase engagement rate on Facebook by 346x within 5 months of using Cortex
- Sustain an engagement rate on Instagram 360% higher than their industry average
- An engagement rate on Pinterest 263% above their industry average.
Figuring out the best times to publish on social media is not a simple task.
You have to experiment, dive deep into the data and audit your content.
But that won’t be the case for long. Early adopters are using AI in digital marketing to improve their marketing results and save time for more creative work. We expect the AI trend to become the norm over the next 2-4 years.
Get more engagement by publishing more frequently.
Find the best times to post by looking at the data yourself or use publishing automation tools.
See which content is the most engaging with a content audit.
And now, you can use artificial intelligence not only to find the best times to schedule social media posts for each of your accounts, but also to learn what content drives more engagement.
We are looking forward to seeing how AI can be applied to surpass goals, save time, and help free up marketers to be more creative.