Social Media Tips

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Navigating the minefield of social media

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Karl Mather, Senior Copywriter, Engine Group

Social media is where we all meet. And it’s where you need to meet your audience, start a conversation, reinforce their perceptions of your brand, demonstrate your products and interact with them in a space they feel comfortable in and in control of.

According to LinkedIn, the cost of using social media to advertise your product or service is by far the cheapest way to connect with your audience. The chart below suggests that for every $57 dollars you need to spend to reach 1000 people with a direct mail piece, you only need to spend $2.50 on social media.


But you need to tread carefully. Everyone’s on social media these days, even your grandma is exchanging tweets with her friends down the bowls club, so how can you cut through the deluge of information and make social media work effectively for your business?

To begin with, you need to know who the main players are.

Where to post – Being channel savvy

We’ve all heard of TikTok, with more than 500 million active daily users it’s the fastest growing social media app on the planet, but how much do you know about Lasso? Or Houseparty? Or Steemit?

They’re all out there, they’ve all got their supporters and they could all turn out to be the next big thing. Choosing the right platform for your messaging is harder than ever and that’s why you need to listen to your agency and trust that they have their finger on the pulse of what’s up and coming and what’s trending right now.

Having said that, there are still several proven channels where the majority of your audience continues to spend its time:

1.8 billion daily active users.
Use it for brand awareness and advertising.

125 million daily active users.
Mainly Millennials.
Use it for PR and customer service.

1 billion monthly active users.
Mainly Millennials.
Use it for user generated content, ‘real’ advertising.

675 million monthly active users.
Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials.
Use it for business development, B2B and job seekers.

2 billion monthly active users.
Millennials and Gen Z.
Use it for brand awareness, driving your SEO, entertainment and how-to videos.

229 million daily active users.
Generation Z.
Use it for brand awareness and advertising.

367 million monthly active users.
Baby Boomers and Millennials.
Use it for visual inspiration.

Paid media generates awareness.

It sounds obvious but the social media platforms are businesses and they want to keep their customers happy. In other words, if you pay them to show your ad they’re more likely to make sure it gets the best exposure compared to an organic post generated on your account page.

Of course, your own owned channels are free and a great place to post to converts, but if you’re looking to reach the maximum number of people you need to invest in a paid advertising strategy.

According to statistics released in 2020 by leading social media dashboard Hootsuite, the average organic reach for a Facebook post is 5.17% of a page’s total reach, which means if your page has 10,000 followers only 517 will read your post, while the average paid reach is 28.1% – that’s a five times better chance of your message being seen.

When to post – The clock is TikTokking.

How often should you post on social? It’s almost impossible to give a definitive answer to this question because social media is constantly changing and evolving and results vary industry by industry.

For example, this diagram from sproutsocial shows an overview of the best times for a non-profit organisation to engage with its audience on Facebook but the optimum times for a media business to engage could be very different.


There are plenty of studies available online that break posting frequency down industry by industry, so it’s a good idea to find out what similar businesses to yours are up to before you begin formulating a posting strategy.

The truth is, every business is different and you’ll need to determine what works best for your audience. But there are some basic rules:

Too many posts and you’ll start annoying your audience. Too few and they’ll start looking elsewhere.

The key here is to recognise the sweet spot for your particular messaging and audience. The amount of ‘likes’, rankings, replies and engagement you’re generating is one obvious yardstick that your posts are finding an audience, but remember, the vast majority of viewers won’t give you feedback. Industry standard metrics are your best guide to how often and when to post.

Time of day matters.

There are peak times on social media just as there are on traditional media. The delivery method may have changed but the way human beings absorb and process information remains consistent – our ability to focus is dependent on what’s going on around us at work, home and in life.

Social media by its very nature is driven by the opportunity to interact with others and in general tends to attract more users around the middle of the day (between 11.00am and 3.00pm on most platforms) rather than early morning or late at night. This doesn’t mean that you should post all your messaging at lunchtime. You need to know how people are interacting at those times – are they in the right frame of mind to accept your messaging or are they too busy catching up with friends and family?

Knowing exactly when your audience is at its most receptive to social media is vital if you’re going to maximise their engagement. If you’re a fast food outlet, lunchtime is perfect. If you’re selling flashlights, it may not be the ideal moment.

What to post – Cats good, dogs bad?

The ease with which social media posts can be created, and the perception that a communication received on a social platform is automatically more attention-grabbing for the person receiving it than one encountered via traditional media, has led to businesses flooding the channels with messaging that has little or no relevance to their target audience.

Quality kicks quantity’s ass every time.

The fact is, most of us skip over the ads even faster on social media, simply because we can. A single touch, swipe or click gets rid of that annoying ad and we can get back to the dancing cat videos. Therefore, the same rules apply on social that have always applied to advertising and communications – make your message engaging, informative and relevant or nobody is going to watch it.

Video content – 5 sec vs 15 sec.

Videos are shared 1200% more than text and links combined, but with short attention spans and information overload what’s the ideal length for your video? The study “Does Every Second Count?” by YuMe and IPG Media Lab examined the difference in effectiveness between 5 second ads compared to 15 second ads. The results show that the effectiveness of fully-watched ads increases with their length, while shorter formats can still achieve strong recall performance but their inability to inspire purchase makes them more suitable for brand awareness than retail campaigns.


Acknowledge your audience faster.
The good news is, Twitter says that 77% of its users claim they appreciate a brand more when their tweet is responded to. So, no matter what platform you are using, if your post generates feedback, make sure you reply.

The bad news is, Twitter says most businesses take around 10 hours on average to get back to a customer’s tweet, and customers are hoping for a response within four hours. So, make sure you respond as promptly as you can.

Top tips for social media.

WHERE matters

Be clear about who you are targeting, social media channels and apps have very clear demographic distinctions and there’s no such thing as the right time if you’re in the wrong place.

WHEN matters.

With so much content being generated and shared every day, picking your moment is often key to getting your message across. The ability to target your audience more precisely through social media means you can guarantee your media spend is hitting its mark.

WHAT matters.

Make sure what you post is relevant to the audience and the social channel you are posting it to. Engagement is the cornerstone of consumer action, the more you are in tune with your audience the better your message will resonate.

At Engine, we help our clients achieve their goals through lots of collaboration, drawing on the research, mining it for insights – including defining and uncovering the nuances of the audience – and a whole lot of clever back-end thinking to create serious positive change.

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