We use social media to promote the Cantilever vision, values, brand, culture and projects. It's a good way to keep Cantilever in the minds of our current clients and forge new relationships. We think that apart from engaging current or future clients, we can also bring a lot of great knowledge from our field to those outside it — helping them better understand what web developers and designers do all day long.
Often we use Unsplash to grab photos for articles and social posts. It's fairly easy, just search for what you'd like and grab what's best. We do have lots of social tiles already created (thanks JT & Rina!) which you can find in our Google team drive here. These tiles let you create a composite graphic from a stock image which carries Cantilever branding and style.
Guiding Questions For Social Content
When creating social media content for Cantilever, make sure to keep asking yourself...
- Does this post provide inherent value? In other words, does the viewer gain personally from having seen the content? Would someone, having seen the content, decide to click ”Follow”?
- Which of our Brand Values does it discuss? Does it reinforce our overall brand?
- Is this post something that only Cantilever could have created? If not, make sure we have a justification.
The most important output of our social media efforts is new clients. Therefore, even though most of our current audience are in the industry, we should tailor our content to appeal to potential clients anyway.
As a second level goal, we want to make sure that our clients and network think of us often, so we are top of mind when they are referring studios to their friends.
Inherent value can come from plain text, or it can come from lavish imagery and animation. It can be done in 5 seconds, or 50 hours. Value is a mindset. The social media manager must immerse themselves in the design and tech world, and our own culture, to be able to generate value through the content we produce.
Even our perfunctory posts, like "new project" announcements, should create inherent value.
- Projects: We make beautiful and clever design solutions in our projects all the time. When we post about our projects, we should deliver inherent value by showcasing what we came up with and inspiring our audience – whether they are designers doing similar work or marketers who might start to dream about what their site could look like. Don’t "announce" it with a tiny screenshot. Use the design of it to generate beautiful tiles. Find out what unique coding challenges we faced and write "pro tips" that explain our solutions. Etc...
- New team member: We have a standard tile to welcome new team members. We should try to go further. Don’t just announce them, use their unique qualities to spin off content related to them that allows us to put them in the spotlight. How about a funny GIF of them? Or a joke that plays off of our pillar topics? If it’s actually funny, it’s inherently valuable and therefore good content. Do they work in an unusual location? Talk about remote work through the context of that person’s experience. Are they a designer? Show off the beautiful things they have done.
- Blog posts or videos: Don’t just link to the video, excerpt it and showcase the best parts of it. Don‘t just link to the post, quote the most important bit and make a catchy tile.
- Internal culture posts: Don‘t just tell people we’re playing GeoGuessr, show a screenshot of one of the challenges and add a poll to see who can guess the location. Don’t just talk about how great Remote Work is, find some stats about how it makes people happier and turn those into a tile. Give people something with a takeaway and some insight they wouldn‘t have had before.
- Behind-the-scenes: Don’t just show people what we are up to, give them a tip that they can use in their own work. For example if we are whiteboarding with a client, don’t just announce that we are whiteboarding and post the photo. Talk about why whiteboarding can be a helpful tool and use the current session as an example.
This is inherent value:
So is this:
We should generate new posts – with as much inherent value as possible – when the following things happen:
- New Project
- New Team Member
- 1-year, 5-year, 10-year, and 20-year Cantileversaries
- New blog post/video
If the posts you come up with are visual, put them on all channels. If they are mostly text-based, keep them restricted to Linkedin/Twitter/Facebook.
We don’t need to wait for a trigger in order to post about projects or our people. They are just a good time to do it. When our calendar is light, it’s a good time to use non-triggered content, like showcasing old but beautiful projects, or fun code challenges we’ve solved in the past.
This is our most used platform. Twitter is dynamic and conversation-driven. When it comes to managing Twitter, it’s as much about responding to others and engaging with other people’s content as it is publishing our own content.
Unlike on Instagram or LinkedIn, when we have something important to say, we are willing to post multiple times about it. This is because the half-life of a Tweet is less than 30 minutes. Only 10-15% of our followers will see one of our tweets the first time, so it can pay to re-post.
Keep tweets as short as possible. We have 280 characters but don’t need to use them. Brevity, wit, etc.
We need to check Twitter every single day, and the social media manager needs to have alerts on so that when we are DMed or @-mentioned they know right away. This is very much not the Cantilever lifestyle, but in order to succeed on Twitter we just have to do it.
Twitter is a higher-volume medium and we can use it to share links to articles/projects/websites we find that we think are great. This provides inherent value by introducing our audience to these things we found, and reinforces our status as a thought leader in the our primary marketing topics.
Twitter is very visual. Tweets with only text need to be really damn good in order to cut through the noise. Adding a simple visual, especially something with some animation, is a great way to get more attention to the content.
Best Times to post
Twitter is extremely time-sensitive.
- 8:30 AM, 12 PM, 4:30 PM (Eastern) are East coast commuter and lunch times. These are the best times to post and around.
- 9 PM (Eastern) to catch silicon valley tech crowd getting off work.
- If you use an @ at the very beginning of a tweet, you will be communication directly with whoever you @. This tweet will not show up on your feed as a post. Make sure you add words or a period in front of @'s so that you post to our page.
- Twitter hashtags are often not as critical as Instagram ones because it is less common for people to use hashtags as a way to explore content. They also take up space in the content which can be used for other things.
On LinkedIn one to two hashtags can be acceptable(similar to these):
LinkedIn is business-first. A lot of the content we post on Twitter or Insta is not a good fit for this audience, especially visually-driven content. Use your judgment to understand what feels like a good fit. For example, LinkedIn is not the right place for a beauty shot of a nice font, but it would be a great place for an article with the designer of the font. Our "Business and Life" pillar topics work well here, but we should make sure to be clear experts on websites still of course.
LinkedIn allows you to share other author’s posts from the company page. That’s a great idea for on-brand content from other authors. Just be sure to read the full article and ensure that it does match our company values before sharing and article from another company.
Times to post
- The best times to post on LinkedIn are days ranging from Tuesday to Thursday, during the hours of 10 AM — 12 PM (Eastern)
- Be sure to avoid posting on LinkedIn early morning Mondays (people are busy at work), and afternoon on Fridays (people leave early)
We are a design company, so Instagram is obviously very important for us. If a post doesn’t have a strong visual, don’t put it on instagram. Our feed must be sacred and gorgeous.
Make sure images are large enough, because users can zoom in.
Instagram Stories & Highlights
HOWEVER.... Stories are a great place for lower-quality visuals to get some use on Instagram.
We have several story highlights that we use to catalog story posts long-term. Use those to keep a record of our posts within a given topic even if we don‘t want them in the main feed. Company culture, birthdays, travel to clients, etc are all good fodder for the story.
Remember that the story is only visible to our existing followers, so we are speaking to our audience. Posts to the main feed should be designed to draw new followers in.
Times to post
According to this Hubspot article...
- Best Time: Wednesday at 9:00 AM EST
- Most Consistent Engagement: Wednesday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM EST
- Best Day: Thursday
- Worst Day: Sunday
Facebook is a fallback medium for us. We don‘t focus on it and don‘t want to spend much time on it. We just want to keep our page active so that when people do find us on there, they see recent content. Don’t put much thought into it. Mostly, cross-posting from Instagram and Linkedin should be fine.
Social media is... SOCIAL! It is all about engaging with people before, during, and after we make our own posts. The social media manager is a 24/7 networker interacting with everyone in our orbit.
Firstly, the manager must monitor engagement with our existing posts and respond to any significant interactions. Usually this means shares, retweets, and comments, but a like can also be worth saying "thanks" for follows, especially if the person is notable.
If someone DMs us, obviously we should reply quickly (at least once a day). If they have a specific inquiry that is best handled by someone else, get their email address and share it with that person.
Finally, if someone follows us, at-mentions us, or otherwise promotes us, make sure to say thanks. Watch out for people who post about our articles without tagging us, or only tagging one of our team members. It’s worth doing an occasional search to find instances like this:
Every infographic should have a small Cantilever logo somewhere on the post as seen below: