Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of the SPEAK|pr Podcast
In the SPEAK|pr Mastermind, it is discussed how much content is enough to get audience engagement, because it’s one thing to constantly be sending out content, but it’s another for that content to actually get people’s attention and make them want to learn more about your business. Luckily, the industry provides advice aplenty.
For external audiences, there are many metrics that can be tracked. But when it comes to internal audiences and partner audiences, the data is less forthcoming, because internal tends to fall under human resources and therefore doesn’t come within the purview of public relations, although ideally, every stakeholder that impacts the organisation should be addressed. The other reason is that the lines are now blurred with digital media consumed regardless of relationship with the company and because team members and partners can amplify a message as readily as a customer.
How to use social media effectively for the business with the ACI
According to Statista, as of 2019, the average user worldwide spent 144 minutes everyday on social media, showing a slight increase from the 142-minute average of the previous year. This seems low in light of COVID, but long-term projections for social media use estimates the average adult will spend six years and eight months of their life on social media. By comparison, the average 75-year-old will have spent 25 years asleep. This means that a company has, in theory, just over two hours per day to connect with an avatar, although if this is directed at team members and partners, they will be working so email will increase that window of time to create engagement. The goal of all of this work is to move people along the funnel from being receptive to aware to being interested and then engaged as they receive value and, ultimately, become evangelists and tell others. The question then is, how much will this take?
The solution is EASTWEST PR’s Active Communications Index (ACI), a productivity tool which will give you a metric to determine how much work will be sufficient for your social media activities against known industry benchmarks. In setting an active ACI, the aim is less about creating endless content but instead focusing on creating engaging content. The formula for the ACI is [context x frequency x channels], and it is important to remember that content creation is a circular process. It is never finished, especially when undertaking public relations. And so, what the ACI does is help companies find the optimal balance between time invested in the activity and the return on that investment of time, creativity, and money. The good news is that frequency is not key, but quality and timing, because most people are not online all day looking at content. Some may be but those working will have to work some of the time. Moreover, these are not hard and fast rules; different organisations will have different volumes, and this will also be different for business-to-business, consumer, government, etc. The important takeaway is that this is not an all consuming task, but a considered application of creativity coupled with technology for creation and amplification.
How often and when to post to social media
For social media platforms, Twitter suggests tweeting at least three times a day, 15 is ideal, and 30 is the maximum. Facebook says you should post once per day, ideally two, but it doesn’t really set a maximum. Instagram suggests 1-3 posts per day. LinkedIn, the business site, suggests one per day to a maximum of five per week. Pinterest suggests a minimum of three per day, an ideal of 10, and a maximum of 30. YouTube suggests posting a minimum of one video per week. The truth is that these metrics are everchanging as the platforms change. But overall, you will get the idea that this isn’t about generating masses of content but carefully curated high value content for your audience when they’re looking for it on the platforms they are consuming information on. The key, again, is consistency and quality, not volume in sporadic bursts. Thursday and Friday are the best days to post to YouTube, which makes sense as it is often the Netflix or Amazon Prime alternative.
On a cautionary note, oversupply can be detrimental. HubSpot found that Facebook pages under 10,000 fans experienced a 50% drop in engagement per post if they posted more than once per day. Also, avoid sharing a number of posts in quick succession. Allow at least three hours between posts as too many updates is the number one reason people unfollow fan pages. For email newsletters, the same suggestion holds. If it is too frequent, people can’t consume it all. If it is too infrequent, people lose interest.
The next important point is to think about the time you share your posts. Sprout Social shares some charts on their website which illustrate that the time of day and day of the week impact the performance of a post. Different days performed differently, and the same time on different days yield to differing levels of engagement. For instance, posting on Monday at eight o’clock has shown higher engagement levels than Tuesday at eight o’clock. In other words, people are perhaps catching up with their posts when they first get back to work, and then on Tuesday, they focus on work first. So, get those posts in on a Monday morning, and maybe schedule your next post on a Wednesday instead of Tuesday.
Boosting employee engagement
Don’t forget your partners. Partners play an important role, because other companies can be a source of sales referrals. Social channels may not be relevant because partners will want to share commercial and sensitive information. However, it is possible to use email newsletters, closed groups such as those on LinkedIn, private videos hosted on Vimeo, and partner webinars hosted on Zoom or MS Teams.
Before COVID struck, in the UK, the business events industry was valued at £31 million, with the meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions (MICE) industry globally considered as a significant platform for partner marketing. These traditional means of gathering and sharing business ideas have been disabled by COVID and may not return. Thus, partner communications in the traditional form need to be replaced with other channels in a proactive and planned engagement strategy built into the ACI. It may not be with the popular social media channels, but there are many private and dedicated business-to-business digital platforms to use instead.
This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast SPEAK|pr, you can listen here.
Cover Photo from WestPress