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Everything You Want to Know About… Social Media Marketing

A conversation with social media expert Beth Ryan

Welcome to Everything You Want to Know About Marketing, where we pose common marketing questions to our community of certified Mailchimp experts.

We spoke with Beth Ryan, Mailchimp partner and Chief Experience Officer at RyTech LLC, to ask her how to optimize your business’s presence on social media and make every post count.

What's the best time to post on social media?

Beth: It depends on your business and your audience, but I think the best time to post is when you can get engagement right away. Social media algorithms look favorably on your post if it’s getting action—and the sooner, the better. So, it really depends on your audience, age demographics, and all of that. If your content is good, helpful, and engaging, that can help it get seen.

Let’s say you’re hosting an event—what’s the optimal window to get the word out?

Beth: Try to give people time—a week or two would be ideal for something like a webinar, but also send post reminders. Some people will still have openings in their calendar, so they could be willing to attend last-minute events, as well.

We’re also very strong advocates of not posting the same thing on all channels. If you post the same thing everywhere, it may not get read. For example, if you post on Facebook, put out something that’s unique to that specific audience and will speak to them. Really explain why those people should want to come to your event.

Which social platforms are great for a small business?

Beth: It depends on the audience, where they’re spending their time, and the kind of content you have. Really think about who you’re trying to reach. We recommend picking 1 or 2 channels and doing those really well instead of doing 4 or more channels and not committing to them.

For example, we have a healthcare client that works in recruiting and LinkedIn drives great results for them, while B2C (Business to Consumer) businesses can thrive on Instagram and Facebook. If it’s short and sweet—let’s say you have a food truck, for example, and people just want to check the location—being on Twitter makes sense. TikTok is growing every day, but if you can’t commit to creating a couple of videos every week, it may not be the best choice for your business.

Any tips on how to grow your audience on social media?

Beth: The first would be to educate the audience and not just try to sell to them. Explain why things are helpful and why they solve problems for other clients. Explain the vocabulary and the definitions that you use. Make it really easy for them to engage, too. With Instagram Stories, for example, put in poll buttons to encourage them to stop scrolling, take an action, vote on if they like red or blue better, or if they’d rather drink coffee in the morning or in the afternoon, or whatever. It’s about making them stop to make an active choice.

Our other biggest tip is to show real faces. People love to see real people. They know when it’s stock photography; they know that they’re not “real.” Share behind-the-scenes pictures, posed group photos, photos of people working—they typically drive engagement and get comments. They also help humanize you and your client’s brand.

What’s your go-to advice for people that do social media marketing—or any marketing, really?

Beth: As far as writing is concerned, short and sweet is better. Get the information across, but avoid too much wordiness. Don’t make references that could confuse people. You may think people are seeing all of your content and know what you’re referring to, but the reality is they probably aren’t. You need to treat each post as an island.

And don’t feel like you need to rush posts out. Give some thought to writing a quality caption, and feel free to reduce, reuse, and recycle visuals. If you had a team meeting, you can post a photo of it and say, “Hey, we had this great team meeting and we talked about X.” Six months later, you can post, “Hey, we’re doing X now!” You can use the original picture; it's okay that you used it before.

Is it important to differentiate your content strategy for each social media platform?

Beth: Yes! Please, please, please don’t post the exact same picture with the same caption on every platform. Think about your audience and the different segments that you’re speaking to—potential clients, potential employees—and pick a different channel for each. Really thinking about who you’re talking to can make a big difference.

The takeaway: Beth Ryan’s top social media marketing tips

  • Post when your audience is most active
  • Focus on using 1 or 2 platforms well
  • Create platform-specific content
  • Keep your posts short and sweet

Beth Ryan is the Chief Experience Officer at RyTech LLC, a Midwest-based digital marketing agency with an international reach. At RyTech, Beth helps businesses develop social media strategies that can help expand their reach and boost their bottom line, one post at a time.

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