Social media is often one of the strongest tools in any marketer’s toolbox thanks to its ability to help us connect directly with our consumers. So, letting your brand reap the benefits of social media is definitely a must.

But before you log in to any old platform and post any old content, let’s first prepare your brand and make sure that your social media plan of attack is as strong as possible.

Figure Out When You Should Post

To the untrained eye, you might be able to just post to social media whenever you feel like it. But to the trained eye, social media is much more temperamental than to allow that. Each platform has peak hours and days of traffic and engagement, so let’s discuss.

  • Facebook – Thursday, Friday. Early afternoon, before 7pm.
  • Twitter – B2B: Monday–Friday. B2C: Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday. 12pm, 5pm, 6pm.
  • Instagram – Monday, Wednesday. 3pm-4pm.
  • Pinterest – Saturday. 8pm-11pm.
  • LinkedIn – Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. 7am–8am, 5pm–6pm.
  • Google+ – Monday–Friday. Late morning.

Choose Networks That Support Your Brand Image

So you’ve got this incredible content, but where do you post it? Not every social media platform is created equally, so it’s important to be selective about the platforms you place your brand on.

Facebook

Facebook is considered to be the universal social media platform that just about every brand belongs on. Since Facebook’s user base is so large and diverse, almost any brand can reach their core consumers through this platform.

Twitter

Similarly to Facebook, Twitter is a pretty ubiquitous social media. With a hugely diverse user base, you should have no problem targeting your audience and finding your niche in the Twittersphere.

Instagram

Instagram is a platform best suited for the more visual brands. If your brand has a lot of visual content to show off (i.e. retail brands), Instagram is most definitely for you.

Pinterest

Pinterest is another platform great for circulating visual content. If you have a blog, by creating custom graphics and sharing them to Pinterest, you can up your traffic big time. Pinterest’s user base also happens to be predominantly women, so if your brand targets women, it might be time to start pinning.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the perfect brand for Business to Business (B2B) brands. If you have a lot of professional content to provide, want to network and connect to influencers, LinkedIn is definitely for you.

Snapchat

Didn’t expect to see this on the list, did you? Snapchat is a social media that is just gaining more and more traction with brands. Snapchat is perfect for brands with fun, vibrant personalities who want to tell stories. This platform is definitely geared towards younger audiences, so if your brand is a little youthful, get snap-happy.

Google+

While not as prolific as the others, Google+ is still definitely worth a mention. Google+’s user base is predominantly men in the tech industry, so if that sounds like your target demographic, be sure to hop on board.

Design Your Social Media

Customising your social media profiles should be another priority. After all, making a stellar first impression is just as important as having content that shines.

So, what do you need for your social pages? First thing’s first:

Profile Pictures

Profile pictures are the staples of every social media page, but a common question for brands is what do I put as my social media profile picture?

A general rule of thumb is this: use your logo for your profile picture unless the main product your brand is promoting is yourself. If people are visiting your page to interact primarily with you, then use a photo of yourself, but otherwise, stick to the logo.

Banner Designs

Next step is your banner designs. Twitter, Facebook, Etsy, Youtube, Tumblr, and Google+ all use banner images, so you will need to create yourself a striking banner that speaks to your consumers.

If you need some inspiration with Facebook cover photos, be sure to check out these 50 inspiring examples as well as Canva’s free templates like the one below to get your creative juices flowing.

Put some TLC into your Twitter banner design and get inspired by these 50 stunning Twitter banners.

Is your brand on Google+? Canva has a huge set of stunning Google+ banner templates, ready for customisation as well as a bunch of tips and tricks to help you design the perfect Google+ banner.

Set Up A Content Plan

Social media doesn’t have to be the same regurgitated content, in fact there’s a whole lot of different types of content you can post. So try to establish a plan for yourself that includes a nice variety. Be sure to have a look at these 10 types of social media ready visual content to get you inspired.

Some common and useful types of social media content you can post are:

  • ‘Behind the scenes’ photos
  • Quote cards
  • Videos
  • Educational materials
  • Crowdsourced images
  • Blog posts
  • Exclusive coupons/offers/deals
  • Engaging questions

Whatever type of content you choose, just be sure to use your type, color and imagery palettes consistently and thoroughly to keep things visually branded.