Cooke

Social media how-to, part two: don’t wing it

Cooke

Not all tweets and posts are created equal. Some are boring, others brilliant; some useless, others informative; some offensive, others inspiring.

They are bound to yo-yo when you consider the sheer number. According to Twitter, “more than 500 million tweets” are launched into cyberspace during a typical day, while Facebook claims around “55 million status updates” over the same time period.

Indeed, if tweets and posts were paper, we’d use the displeasing ones as birdcage liners.

Which begs the question: How can you ensure your content isn’t for the birds?

First, says Hayley Mitchell, Director, Social Media & Community, FRHI Hotels & Resorts, embrace the Cardinal Rule of Social, which is: “Just because you can talk all day long, doesn’t mean you should.” Meaning, when you do talk, make it worthwhile.

Brad Cicero, Director, Communications & Public Affairs, Porter Airlines Inc. adds, “Think specifically about your clients and customers. What will they find valuable?”

For example, Porter knows its followers value its breaking news. Last month, when the Toronto-based carrier announced an interline agreement with JetBlue Airways on Facebook, the post became what Cicero calls, “possibly our most popular announcement ever” with 1,000 ‘likes’ and many more shares.

That’s traction, and it’s exactly what you want out of your tweets and posts.

Here’s a question to help you determine what may be tractionable: When clients and prospective clients call, what do they typically seek from you? Is it the best travel deal? Questions about the hottest destinations? What to pack?

After you’ve figured out the type of information most valuable to your followers, employ these simple steps to make it tractionable.

Keep it short and sweet. The perfect length of a tweet is 100 characters. For Facebook posts, it’s even less: 40 characters.

Hash, but not too much. Use hashtags on Twitter to flag your subgroup of topics, such as #travel and #sale. But don’t go hash-happy; limit your hashtags to two.

Attach images. As we mentioned in part one of our social media series, users engage far more with tweets and posts that have image attachments.

While it may be tempting to save time by double-dipping your tweets and posts (i.e. tweeting the same content as you post), it’s not necessarily the wisest approach, warns Mitchell.

“The perfect pin (on Pinterest) would not be the perfect Facebook update, and so on. You have to understand the social network and what is ideal for that channel,” she says.

This might take some experimentation on your part, as well as a watchful eye. “For us,” Mitchell continues, “we can tell if our content has been successful by the amount of engagement we see from our audience. Did people comment, like, and share our content?”

Keep in mind that the world of social media is fickle, so don’t be too hard on yourself. An update that works well one day, may fall flat the next; the popular channel today, may be so yesterday tomorrow. With hundreds of millions of pins, tweets and posts zinging around in the course of a single day, the only constants are the birdcage liners. Just don’t be one.