The following is drawn from research conducted by Compendium, a content marketing platform that helps organizations easily distribute branded content to a variety of marketing channels. (They provide a number of free content marketing resources here.)
Of course the better you know your audience the better you can tailor your social media marketing strategy to meet their needs. So your results may vary, but the following is a great place to start.
How to Say It
1. Is there an ideal social message length?
Twitter: One to five words is the ideal length for B2C companies; consumers appreciate short and sweet. Where B2B is concerned, 11-15 words is ideal; any shorter and the message may not provide enough information to draw them in.
LinkedIn: For B2C, 21-25 words is the ideal length. For B2B, 16-25 is best.
2. Do question marks draw interest or spark conversations?
Twitter: Messages receive 52% fewer clicks if a question mark is included for B2C, 39% fewer for B2B.
Clearly people tend to use Twitter and LinkedIn to find answers, not answer questions. Facebook may be a better option for surveys and questions.
3. Are exclamation marks effective?
Twitter: Using exclamation marks results in 8% fewer clicks on Twitter for B2C, 15% fewer on B2B. Evidently hyperbole or breathless enthusiasm isn't helpful on Twitter.
LinkedIn: B2C messages with exclamation marks get 27% more clicks for B2C and 26% more for B2B. Exclamation marks work--but as Compendium notes, "Only use exclamation marks when relevant... if everything is exciting, nothing is exciting."
4. Are hashtags effective?
Twitter: For B2C companies, messages on Twitter receive 82% fewer clicks if they include a hashtag, but hashtagged messages are 193% more effective for B2B. B2B followers appreciate relevant hashtags; B2C followers do not.
LinkedIn: 20% fewer clicks for B2C, 56% more clicks for B2B. LinkedIn users are able to follow conversations using hashtags and for B2B connections, they work.
5. Does using a number really make a difference?
Conventional wisdom says social media posts (and blog posts and article titles) with numbers in them generate more clicks. The results are mixed:
Twitter: 3.5% more clicks for B2C, 50% more clicks for B2B.
LinkedIn: No real effect for B2C or B2B.
Use numbers when they're appropriate, especially for Twitter B2B. But otherwise don't force them because they don't make much difference.
When To Say It
1. Best days of the week
Twitter: Mondays andWednesdays yield more clicks for B2C,Wednesdays for B2B.
LinkedIn: Sharing content on Mondays generates more B2C clicks than any other day of the week; for B2B, the best day is Sunday.
Share regularly, but save your best stuff for the prime days.
2. Best hours of the day
Twitter: Between 10 a.m. and noon. After about 2 p.m. there is a significant drop, probably because many people check their Twitter stream after they settle in and are less likely to check near the end of the day.
LinkedIn: From 9 a.m. through lunchtime.
Facebook: Lunchtime and later afternoon. Schedule Facebook content for the last half of the workday. That is especially true for B2C, which typically shows heavy activity towards the end of the workday.
3. Best minutes of the hour
Twitter: Tweets are generally read during the top and bottom of the hour, whether B2C or B2B. (Possibly at break time or between meetings?)
LinkedIn: For B2C, content is generally read evenly through the hour, but content shared in the first 10 to 15 minutes performs relatively poorly. For B2B, the top and bottom of the hour is best.
JEFF HADEN learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business. @jeff_haden