To Increase Social Engagement, Don’t Follow the Crowd

The basics of a content marketing strategy revolve around when and where – what day and time to publish blogs and on which social networks to share them – to increase brand awareness and drive traffic. The how is just as important, too.

The myriad communication channels grow and change at a rapid pace, thus your strategy should accommodate those changes at a similar level. In competitive intelligence platform TrackMaven’s recently released Colossal Content Marketing Report they detail “new ingredients” for a successful strategy.

The research covers 1.2 million blog posts from more than 4,600 blogs, which garnered 2 billion social shares. Here are a few key highlights from the report.

When

So when should you publish your blog posts? The findings show that while Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the most popular days of the week to publish (accounting for 18 percent each), blogs posted on Saturdays and Sundays actually receive higher engagement on social networks (18 percent and 14.6 percent of all soial shares, respectively). Tuesday and Wednesday were tied for the next best days for social sharing with 14.1 percent engagement.

Posting Frequency Base on Time of Day

Time of day is important, too. Though most blogs are posted between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM (with peak hours between 11:00 AM and 12:00 PM), the most social shares are awarded to those published between 9:00 PM and 12:00 AM.

Takeaway: Publishing content outside of peak hours seems to attract more social engagement. The report notes that “leisure hours are readers’ preferred time to read, reflect and share content,” so it’s worth it to experiment with marketing outside of business hours.

Where 

Social Shares by Channel
It should come as no surprise that the ubiquitous Facebook is the top social network for content engagement, accounting for more than 60 percent (33.8 percent “Likes” and 26.7 percent shares) of the near 2 billion social shares in the study. Twitter came in second at 38.6 percent. Pinterest and LinkedIn each had a less-than-1-percent of the pie.

Before spending all your energy on Facebook and Twitter, however, it’s important to keep in mind the massive number of users each network has (1.56 billion, in total) compared to the others, which skews the numbers a bit. In addition, remember your target audience and what communities are most applicable.

Takeaway: A good marketer knows that a company doesn’t have to be on every social network, just the ones that are relevant and beneficial to the brand. You want to go where your audience is; and while many of them just happen to be on Facebook and Twitter, B2B marketers have had consistent success in engagement with LinkedIn’s 240 million users as well.

How

Presentation is just as important on determining the when and where for your content. The report found that titles with about 60 characters received the most social shares, and those exceeding this number experienced a “sharp decline”.

Format of Social Posts and Headlines

Additionally, while interrogative titles only accounted for 5 percent of the millions of blog posts in the study, the percentage of social shares for those including one question mark was almost twice as much as those without, shooting up to 46.3 percent. Any more than one, however, and engagement went way down.

The opposite seemed to be true for exclamation points – don’t contain your excitement!!!! While one exclamation point didn’t do much to attract reader attention, the less than 0.1 percent of posts with titles including four exclamation points received over 2,000 shares on average. “Lukewarm excitement, it seems, is forgettable, but real excitement!!!! is share–worthy,” the report says.

In terms of capitalization, titles that align with standard practices perform better.

Takeaway: Keep it simple when it comes to punctuation, and try piquing your audience’s interest by asking questions in the titles of your blog posts. As for exclamatory posts, overly excited titles did perform better, but it’s best to know your audience and whether this type of punctuation will be appropriate.

Final Thoughts

Overall, it pays to take the road less traveled when it comes to timing, and standard practices mostly prevail for punctuation and capitalization. Try experimenting with different times on the weekend to make an appearance during your audience’s leisure hours, make sure to track your page views and click-through’s and see if you get a boost in engagement.

One size does not fit all for content marketing advice, however; the people reading your blog posts differ from one industry to another. Luckily, online content allows us immediate feedback on what works and what doesn’t, and you can tailor your marketing efforts accordingly. Numbers are another way that your readers communicate with you. The most important takeaway here is to know your audience and what will work for them. Plan, experiment, and discover your path to success.

About Kristen Ciccolini

Kristen Ciccolini is a freelance writer and online marketing consultant. She works primarily with small businesses to help build a web presence, develop their brands and increase website traffic via content marketing, SEO and social media strategies.

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