There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to making social media work for your brand, but there are four elements that work together to determine the success of a social media strategy in any vertical.
BuzzStream and Fractl have collaborated to research the content keywords, social platforms, influencers/amplifiers, and publishing dates that can have the most impact on your plan for social traction in 2015. Using BuzzSumo, we analyzed 220,000 pieces of content from 10 high-engagement and 10 low-engagement publishers in 11 industry verticals. The result is a picture of the broad trends and vertical-specific nuances that can improve your social media strategy.
Some of the high-level findings include:
- Content posted on weekdays average 317% more social media shares than the average Saturday or Sunday
- Different content lengths affect social sharing rates: business content should be 2,000-3,000 words
- The best time to publish content in the food vertical is Monday
The social media strategy research is embedded in the form of a multi-page infographic below. Use the arrows under the graphic to scroll through the data, and see below for a summary of the research.
Social Media Strategy & Content Keywords
As good SEOs already know, there are no magic keywords that will always earn thousands of clicks on every platform across all verticals. While headlines with positive adjectives and knowledge-based verbs tend to earn more shares overall, keyword traction is much more varied and specific when we drill down to individual verticals and their high- and low-engagement publishers.
These distinctions can make a big difference in your SEO strategy. In the finance vertical, for example, the term “Obama” was the eighth-most-shared term from low-engagement sites across all social networks. However, these shares were only generated on Facebook and LinkedIn; “Obama” didn’t earn a significant rate of shares on Twitter, which is the source of 20% of shares for low-engagement finance publishers. In the food vertical, Pinterest earned more than half of all social shares for high-engagement sites and 30% for low-engagement sites. Yet the top 10 Pinterest keywords for both high- and low-engagement domains shared only one term in common: “zucchini” ranked 10th on each list.
One exception to the rule of nuanced keywords is terms related to visualizations. In nearly every vertical, words like “photo,” “photos,” “pictures,” and “images” earned significant shares for both high- and low-engagement publishers.
Social Media Strategy by Platform
Smart planning for social traction begins with knowing which platforms attract the strongest audience for your content, then finding the publishers who have the most engagement on those networks. For this reason, knowing the networks in which your vertical has an audience is crucial for your social strategy and should be a consideration for your outreach strategy as well.
Facebook, the social media giant, earned more than 340% more shares than the weekly average of each of the other five social networks. Unsurprisingly, this statistic made Facebook the top network for 10 of the 11 verticals in this study. The only exception was high-engagement publishers in the food vertical, which received 51% of their shares on Pinterest. However, marketers looking to diversify their social portfolios should take note that Twitter proved a strong second place network among both high- and low-engagement publishers, with 10–19% of shares in four verticals (low-engagement travel, health, and news, and top-engagement tech), 20–22% in two verticals (low-engagement business and finance), and 31–34% in two verticals (low-engagement tech and entertainment).
Health, lifestyle, food, and education brands should also keep an eye on their Pinterest potential, as that network was responsible for the second-most shares among a mix of high- and low-engagement publishers. LinkedIn also earned a particularly strong following in the business vertical by owning 21% of shares generated by top-tier publications.
Social Media Strategy: The Effect of Influencers and Amplifiers
If your social media goal is to grow or improve your engagement with an audience on a specific platform, you’ll need to know which publishers, authors, and sharers have the most traction in your target network. These influencers and amplifiers can make a drastic difference in the shares your content earns.
Your research to determine the best influencers and amplifiers for your content should consist of the following criteria:
- Their prior coverage of topics related to your content
- The number of shares on each network generated by their content in the last six months
- The number of shares generated on each network for keywords in your content
- Total average shares per piece of content
- Domain Authority
For social media amplifiers:
- Page authority
- Domain Authority
- Number of followers
- Retweet/share ratio
- Reply ratio
- Average retweets/shares
When considered together, these factors can give you an idea of the potential reach an influencer or amplifier can help you achieve. Publishing partners share your goal of wanting to earn as many social shares as possible, and offering them high-quality content that will resonate with their audience is a benefit to you both. Establish strategic, mutually beneficial relationships, and you’ll see your social engagement take off.
Social Media Strategy and Publishing Date
After identifying the keywords, networks, influencers, and amplifiers that can help you achieve the most social traction for your content, the final task is to identify the best time to publish. Although the ultimate decision to post a piece of content lies with the editor at a publication, you can boost a pickup with PPC on the days most likely to earn more shares for your vertical.
By volume, more content is shared on Wednesday than any other day of the week, and approximately 50% less content is shared on both Saturdays and Sundays. This pattern is broad, however, and changes based on both the vertical and the engagement of the publisher. High-engagement business publishers, for example, earn 20% of their shares on Tuesdays and Thursday. Low-engagement finance publishers earn the most traction on Fridays, and both high- and low-engagement food publishers see peak sharing on Mondays.
The bottom line? A calendar can be a valuable asset in your social strategy, and not just to keep your messaging organized. Our research on the best days to publish in each vertical can help you increase the shares your content earns and improve your brand’s social traction.
Download our research results for free from each vertical (automotive, education, finance, food, tech, travel, health, business, entertainment, lifestyle, and news) for an inside look at how these four factors can improve your social traction.
About the author
Kelsey Johnson is Marketing Coordinator at Fractl. After a decade of designing education and marketing programs for science and history museums, Kelsey Johnson joined Fractl in 2014 to lend her penchant for research, writing, and thoughtful, well-designed content to the group. When she's not working to help make digital content better, Kelsey can be found baking, paddle boarding, or obsessing over the Walking Dead.