Brands use a variety of social networks to connect with fans, customers, and brand evangelists who use each site. Facebook may be a great place to engage one customer segment, while another can be found on Twitter. A brand’s B2B clients may be on Twitter and their B2C network on Google+.

More often, the brand following on each site contains a mix of people, following the brand for their own individual reasons and seeking different things from the company. How can one brand effectively engage and connect with these individuals on each social network?

Use these insights and best practices to optimize your brand’s social content on the most popular social media networks: Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

Optimize Google+ Posts with Keywords & Targeted Content

For keywords and topics you'd like to be known for and found with, create and share content as well as make comments along those themes on G+,” recommends Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing. “Those actions can surface your content and activity within the search results of those who have added you to their circles. The more people you have in your circles, the more who will be exposed to your content and social actions.”

Though there is no official character limit on Google+ posts, content over 100,000 characters in length may contain errors. Some see this as an opportunity to post entire blog posts, though there is something to be said about housing lengthier content on your own website and using social to promote it.

Michael Dell optimized Google+ post.

Keep Google+ posts brief and use images or video, where available. Post a call to action to increase engagement; for example, ask a question about a video posted, or tell followers to +1 the post if they agree with a statement you’ve made. Use Circles to expose different segments of your audience to targeted content.

Facebook Optimization Requires Creativity and Brevity

Facebook also has a substantial character limit: posts can be up to 63,000 characters in length! For best results, though, Facebook content should be brief, interesting, and visually appealing.

Facebook recently released the results of a study that examined the posts of 23 brands over a period of four weeks. They found that posts related to, but not specifically about, the product or service, were most engaging.

Facebook advises using different types of content to drive engagement based on brand goals:

  • If your goal is to generate shares, post on topics related to the brand; use photos, photos albums and videos.

  • If your goal is to generate likes, post on topics related to the brand and include a clear call to action, for example “Like this if…”

  • If your goal is to generate comments, post on topics related to the brand and ask a question in the post.

Optimizing the time content is posted is another important consideration. URL shortening service Bit.ly says the peak time for Facebook traffic is mid-week, from 1 to 3 pm EST. According to their research, “While traffic starts to increase around 9am, one would be wise to wait to post until 11am. Traffic from Facebook fades after 4pm. Despite similar traffic counts at 8pm and 7pm, posting at 7pm will result in more clicks on average than posting at 8pm.”

Optimize Tweets with Images, Video, Keywords

Tweets are limited to 140 characters. While some see this as a challenge, for others, this format is exactly why they use the site. Messages must be succinct, relevant and get to the point. This is a great opportunity for brands to get in front of a huge audience and build a loyal following.

Bitly examines timing trends on Twitter.

Bit.ly found a different timing trend on Twitter (see above chart); afternoons early in the week are the best times for click-throughs on links within tweets. They recommend, “Posting after 8pm should be avoided. Specifically, don’t bother posting after 3pm on a Friday since, as far as being a gateway to drive traffic to your content, it appears that Twitter doesn’t work on weekends.”

Images and videos can be displayed on followers’ mobile devices and right on the Twitter platform. Use keywords and hashtags to help your content appear in relevant Twitter searches.

Optimizing your social content makes it more easily discoverable and digestible across platforms that all function differently. Share your social content optimization tips for other readers in the comments!