Part of a business’s struggle to manage their social media presence is that social media is always changing. There are a few things that remain the same, claims Neal Schaffer, social media strategy consultant and CEO of Maximize Your Social. In Schaffer’s presentation “Social Media Best Practices” at the 2016 Content Marketing Conference, he shows how Content Distribution for social media does not need to be a matter of jumping on the latest trend. If you apply these tips to your social media practices, your social media engagement will grow.

Get a Visual Voice

Schaffer notes that you must create your company’s visual voice, even if it is simply your logo placed in unforgettable locations. He identifies visual content as one of the most important things you can add to your social media campaigns, arguing that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text. When you only have a few seconds to reach a reader, moments matter. Images must be both strong and numerous. He suggests considering multiple tactics, providing images by themselves as eye candy as well as pictures with a story or text summary. Your tweets must have images to draw readers in. Schaffer cites the doubling of use of Instagram and Pinterest since 2012, two social media platforms relying heavily or exclusively on images.IMG_1801

Tweet Like a DJ

For part of his presentation, Schaffer called upon a much-older form of communication: radio. What do disc jockeys do? They provide small bits of information over and over again, until it is ingrained into listeners’ brains. They do not tire their listeners with constant ads. You can achieve the same goal with Twitter. Start with stories and information that your readers want to know or need to learn. Follow Schaffer’s 9-1-1 rule for posting content. For each post you make with promotional content, offer one post of useful branded content and nine posts sharing information or content from trusted sources and industry influencers.

Schaffer notes that it not enough to post your content once, as perhaps only 5 percent of your readers will see it at any given moment. Use software that will repost your content at different times throughout the day. If you want to repost content days or weeks later, Schaffer recommends that you select only content that is either evergreen or at least still timely.

Accelerate with Paid Social

Schaffer points out that some businesses believe that they can reach their target demographic with organic search, but this perspective is at least a couple of years too old. Almost 92 percent of marketers pay to place or boost posts on Facebook, making the practice entirely mainstream. These days, Schaffer argues, paid social is the accelerator that gives you equal footing among your readers’ friends sharing social content. “I know that there is a golden spigot that I can turn on,” Schaffer says, referencing how paid social helps you meet your key performance indicators, selects your ideal audience and guarantees that your posts will be seen. However, you must be careful about the investment you make. He suggests that you calculate the money you spend for 10 conversions, and design a plan for paid social engagement with that funding. Create a magnet for your leads, such as an eBook. Launch a landing page asking for readers’ email addresses, and see how it pays off.

Brand Advocates First

Once you have made your investment into getting your message out to your followers, Schaffer claims that you also need to focus on the people on the other end of your social media marketing campaigns. Research:

Who is reading your content?
Where did they find it?
How do they engage with you?
Do they share your message with others?
Schaffer notes that 60 percent of customers researching a product look for peer reviews. You may have an amazing untapped resource in your brand advocates. People who support your business influence how others see your products and services more than you may think. Brand advocates are a very safe source to practice working with external social users. They are also 83 percent likely to share content you post.

Leverage Employees

Your employees are a wellspring of possible social media interactions for your business. Schaffer cites a 2016 study to show that employees are in the top three types of spokespeople who can improve your company’s credibility. That group in particular saw the biggest increase in consumer trust from 2015 to 2016, as well. Branded content that is shared by your employees is eight times as likely to engage your readers. If you multiply the number of your employees by the number of possible connections they may have, you are looking at hundreds of thousands or even millions of connections social media can make. Perhaps surprisingly, even larger corporations have a minimal amount of overlap in their employees’ social media connections. If you include your employees in your content and share messages that make them proud to work for you, they will become some of your strongest brand advocates.

Schaffer aims to make social media management much more practical than it may seem. When you improve your visual voice, create and distribute content that people like at a rate they prefer, invest into paid social, and engage with your brand advocates and employees, you build a social media presence that will withstand the constant changes to platforms.