Careful planning and analysis are key to helping you increase client engagement through social media, says Cara Crosetti, an account director and web specialist in Los Angeles with Wickware Communications Inc. of Toronto.

“You need to be human and not pushy,” says Crosetti. “Don’t be a ‘corporate robot’ on social media. Find your comfort zone and be genuine.”

Another important issue is timing.

Each of the Big Three – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – is most viewed at different times of day, studies suggest. To find the best time to post, Crosetti says, monitor the analytics of your social media activities. This can be done by a tech-savvy member of your team or outsourced to an organization that has the know-how. Or you simply can look for spikes in “likes” or comments on content you have posted.

Make a note of the times and days of the week when your audience is most responsive. After a few weeks or a month, you should be able to spot trends in the time slots that people respond to your content.

“It’s important to be aware of what works and when,” Crosetti says. “Some studies have said that your updates hit only about 7% of your fans per day.”

While that number may seem low, Crosetti says, there are ways you can build your audience on social media.

First, get into the routine of posting two interesting topics related to your business every day. At the same time, find and “like” five new pages on Facebook every day to help build your audience.

Next, think about how various platforms can interact with each other. For example, you can connect your LinkedIn update stream to Twitter, then connect your Twitter feed to your Facebook page.

This one-stop method of posting content can be a time-saver. But it is not flawless. You still have to work within the strengths and limitations of each platform.

For example, if you choose to publish a message of 300 or more characters on LinkedIn or Facebook, it would exceed Twitter’s limit of 140 characters – less if you include a link.

So, as part of your social-media strategy, Crosetti says, plan out a topic in two formats: one longer format for use on Facebook and LinkedIn, and a more abbreviated version for Twitter.

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