Friday, October 12, 2012

Social Media Sites as Tools: How to Post Quickly for Max Exposure

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

There are plenty of tools out there that help people post the same piece of content across multiple networks. Sendible, Hootsuite, Buffer - all make posting easy and convenient. While they can be great time savers and allow heavy social media users the ability to scale properly and plan accordingly, they also create problems and do not always maximize exposure.
Facebook will "batch" images posted from the same tool when more than one is posted through it in a 24 hour period. This is a big problem for extremely active profiles and pages because these batched albums do not have a like, share, or comment button when they appear in the newsfeed. For someone to interact with the image, they have to click through to it. Most people won't. They'll just pass it right up.

Google+ poses another challenge as there are few tools that work with it. Hootsuite and other tools can post to Google+ pages, but they always post as links even if it is an image that is being uploaded. These get much less engagement than if the actual image was posted. Also, they only work with pages; Google+ does not have profile integration through these tools.
Most importantly, broadcasting the exact same message across multiple channels does not always take full advantage of each individual network's strengths. One would have to keep all posts under 140 characters, for example, if they wanted to post the content to Twitter while also posting it to other networks. This forces the posts to cater to the all networks and limits the ability of the post to flourish.
These are only a sampling of the problems. The right way to do it is to post manually, to mix up the posts using social media sites themselves as the tools through which to post. Done right, it can increase the exposure of your content and give people reasons to follow you one multiple networks.

Step 1: Prepare the Post
Since this is a vertical infographic, it will not appear properly on Facebook or Google+ as a single image. Both networks have height restrictions, so posting it as a whole will make it unreadable.
Thankfully, we have it "chopped" into its various components will allow us to take advantage of the album feature on both networks. Unlike the batched albums described above, images uploaded intentionally as albums do have like, comment, and share buttons when seen in the newsfeed.
I will want to have a long text description for Tumblr, a slightly smaller one for Facebook and Google+, and under 120 characters for Pinterest and Twitter. Once all of this is together, it's time to post.
Step 2: Post to Facebook and Google+
It's not hard to post albums properly on Facebook and Google+ if you know some of the pitfalls to avoid. First, both sites are tricky when it comes to the order in which the images appear. Just when you think you have it figured out, they make a minor change that affects it. The easiest way to do it is to name them "1", "2", etc.
In this case, the infographic has been broken down into 8 pieces. We'll have the header called "1" and work our way down to to #8.
I will title the album after the name of the infographic itself. Then, in the description I will put the text I already created describing the infographic and I will include a link to the source. This is important to do in this order - adding the link first will turn the post into a link-post rather than an image. While the click rates on the link are lower by doing it like this, the overall exposure of the content is much higher when posting as an image rather than as a link.
Step 3: Post it to Tumblr
There are a couple of different ways to do this on Tumblr. You can keep the split images and post it as an attractive gallery, something that Tumblr does exceptionally well. This hurts continuity, however, so we'll post it as the full infographic.
Now, the choice becomes whether to post it as an image or as text. The image option is best IF the content is small enough. Depending on the Tumblr theme, some tumblogs have length limits similar to Facebook and Google+, but only when posting as an image. When posted as text with an image inserted into the HTML through an embed code or image code, there is no link limit for most themes. Also, it allows for an actual title to the post versus posting as an image which only allows a caption.
The disadvantage to posting it as text is that the image does not appear on Tumblr feeds. If your primary audience is within Tumblr itself, you may want to lean more towards the gallery or single image option. If you're bringing most of the traffic in from outside sources, text posts are best.
The image or post should click through to somewhere. Don't waste the link on the image source itself. You can link it to your original content if it comes from a blog. You can link it back to your Google+ post to get more exposure to your page. Facebook is an option unless you posted it to your profile, in which case the permalink wouldn't be effective. Just make sure the image links to somewhere important to you.

Step 4: Post to Pinterest and Twitter
From here, it's time to continue the trail from the other important social networks. In this case, we're going to pin the Tumblr post onto Pinterest and Tweet it from there. We're only going to use the title itself, but we're going to add hashtags.

This is only one path you can take. There are other ways to flip it around and diversify your posting styles to take full advantage of the various social sites and the interconnectivity they posses. You can post it to Facebook from Pinterest or Tumblr directly instead of starting there. This isn't the best way; again, images do better than the links that Tumblr and Pinterest post. Still mixing it up from time to time makes your pages more interesting.
The urge to simplify by using posting tools is strong. We naturally want the path of least resistance that these tools offer us. However, with the goal of marketing being exposure, branding, messaging, engagement, and all of the other things that social media offers, doesn't it make sense to mix in a little manual effort every now and then to make your social presence as strong as possible?

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