Using Social Media to Guide Social Media
By noon, Monday through Friday, at least one person has asked me, “What should I post about on my blog/Facebook/Twitter?”
Some days, it gets up to 4 or 5 clients, friends, or even co-workers who ask about it before dinner time.
My answer always has 3 parts:
- Universal Truths – There are certain basic guidelines nearly every social media profile strategy should follow when deciding what to post. “Think of social media as the humanization of your business. Reach out. Talk to people. Express the company’s and your personality through the medium. Look at your competitors and see what they’re doing. Look outside of your industry for ideas. Define your goals within social med…”
- Personalized Response – Each business, publication, or organization has its own specific needs, assets, and resources that can be used or must be addressed in social media. I’ve seen two companies in the same vertical have completely different approaches. Perfect example would be two separate automotive clients – one is building their strategy around highlighting local charities, the other is focused on getting “planking” images of all of their employees and as many customers as possible. Both campaigns are proving to be effective. The point is that everyone who asks the question needs a personalized response.
- Ask – This is the one that throws nearly everyone off, but it’s also the most important part (and happens to be the subject of this article).
For those who have found the power of asking, of using social media to guide a social media strategy, can often skip steps one and two and go straight into delivery. Here’s how:
Option 1: Poll Questions
There’s often no better way to get an answer than to ask a direct question. This is easier for publications than for businesses, but any page can and should do it to some extent. Just come out and say it. When people see a question, particularly a short one, they are more inclined to answer.
Facebook makes it easy through their Question feature. Multiple choice is nice, but you can even ask it in your status update and have people answer through comments. On Twitter and Google+, we’ve seen some incredibly lively discussions about branding. Facebook pages should also enter into “discussion mode” and not rely solely on polls.
Option 2: Test and Monitor (Better Known as “Trial and Error”)
Combing through all of the analytics, insights, and every other piece of data at your disposal can be tedious but it’s worth it. When something works, you either repeat it or improve on it. When something doesn’t work, you either improve on it or stop doing it altogether. The same rings true with social media updates across the board.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re working on building your blog, engaging on Facebook, broadcasting your message through Twitter, or any other social media activity. Take not of the high points. Look into the most successful posts (based upon traction, engagement, clicks, etc) and learn from them for future ones.
Skittles is an example of a brand that has built up a groundswell of supporters by simply being funny and working in their branding from time to time. As you can see below, they have some that work great and others that show low numbers for a page with nearly 20 million likes.
The biggest challenge with this technique is that it really only works well with a large base of fans/followers/likes/subscribers. Remember to keep relativity in mind. 7,000 might seem like a lot of likes, but it’s lower than normal for that page. Be mindful of it.