Social

Get the Most Out of Your Social Media Campaigns

Written by Tim Edmundson

Jul 7, 2016

If you work in digital, there’s a pretty good chance you know the power that social media has as a marketing tool. It’s one of the best places to engage with your audience because they’re looking to join in on the conversation – whether it be with family, friends, or even with their favorite brands (hey, that’s you!).

But like most things in life, there are both good and bad ways to engage your audience on social. And if you’re going to get involved in the social space, you’d be doing yourself a huge favor by doing it right. So whether you’re an aspiring social media marketer looking to hit the ground running, or a social veteran looking to freshen up your skillset, we’ve put together some strong practices with the help of our resident brand marketing manager Jordan Decker to ensure you’re getting the most out of your social efforts. “These days there’s no excuse for a poorly planned social campaign,” says Jordan. “Social has become an integral part of any marketer’s arsenal; if you aren’t getting the most out of it, your competitors will overtake you.”

DEFINE YOUR VOICE

“First and foremost, you need to define your brand’s voice,” advises Jordan. “That voice is critical to how your brand will be perceived by the masses.” Be sure to have a clear idea of how you want your voice to sound to your audience and beyond. But a clear, consistent voice can be a tricky thing to master, so try to keep the following concepts in mind.

One size doesn’t fit all | Especially on social media platforms, your audience is going to differ depending on where you’re publishing. Utilize expansive analytics to get insights into your audience on each platform — who they are, what they enjoy, where they’re located — and specifically cater the tone of your voice to those segments. Even if that means a slightly different voice for each platform––as long as you have a consistent message, the process by which you engage can change as much as you see fit.

Consumers are looking for authentic content | If social media is anything, it is an honest conversation. The tone of your voice is integral to your social media campaigns – if you have the same approach on every platform, it won’t be honest. You have to adapt to your audience, the platform, and the content you’re sharing with those audiences.

Be conscious of what are you trying to accomplish | Is your goal to grow your followers, boost engagement, or focus on lead generation? Make sure you adjust your tone and content to your goals.

SEAMLESS AND ENTICING CREATIVE IS KEY

With your voice defined, it’s time to zero in on your visuals. “It’s proven that text-only content never performs as well,” he says, and the numbers back him up. Content with visuals get 94% more total views, and it’s also 40x more likely to be shared on social networks. What should you keep in mind when turning your attention to creative?

Give love to your social creative | Don’t skimp on the quality of your social imagery – give it as much attention and care as you would with anything else that lives on your site. The creative you use on social should feel like a natural extension of whatever content you’re publishing elsewhere. For example, use similar imagery to the header of your blog, or match the visual style of your latest infographic.

Take advantage of video | Video plays well on social – really well. Facebook alone has over 100 millions hours of video watched per day. Take advantage of video to propel your brand and tap into a format that is appealing to a large chunk of your audience.

Create visuals with social in mind | Does your blog header translate easily to a Facebook post? It may look good on your site, but make sure you create a version that will play nicely with the restrictions on specs and text some social sites enforce. Seamless transition is a big tip-off whether or not a company is serious about how they are perceived on social networks.

Don’t let text dominate | Strong visuals shouldn’t need a lot of copy to convey meaning. Facebook is famous for their 20% rule, where text must only take up less than one fifth of the total image, however they’ve recently relaxed that limit a bit. Still, make sure text isn’t dominating your visuals – let the images do their job.

TEST AND MONITOR

Creating and sharing strong content is always great, how can you be sure you’re putting out the best creative possible? Testing, that’s how. “Make sure to A/B test your social content. There’s no harm in sharing the same piece of content more than once. Content is content, and the more knowledge you gain from performance can further your social media campaigns across all platforms. Try shaking up posts with different copy and different visuals, and find out what works best.” And it’s not just publishing content – you’ll need to track its performance to see what’s playing and what’s not.

Learn to love your reporting | Its important to get to know your reporting intimately – it’s the only way to really know what’s working and what’s not. This will not only save you time, but also give your budget more space in the long-run.

Know the benchmarks for your platform | A CTR that is poor on one platform may be stellar on another – and different industries have varying benchmarks. Although Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube are all platforms for communication and interaction, there is a clear divide between what works best on each platform. Make sure you know the ins and outs of each so you can maximize your efficiency.

Testing in action | Here’s a basic example of how you would test creative and messaging for your campaign – let’s say you launched a new Facebook campaign with 8 different versions of creative and copy. Let it run for a few days until it gets enough impressions and then choose your top performers to really ramp up impressions and interaction. Here’s another example: try sharing the same piece of content with two different copy sets on Twitter. Watch it until it gets significant impressions and then prioritize the one that’s performing the best.

BALANCE PAID AND ORGANIC CONTENT

As social networks continue to tweak their algorithms to serve more relevant content, brand organic impressions have begun to tail off a bit on networks like Facebook. With that, the role of paid social is growing in importance – but you don’t want to ignore one side and focus exclusively on the other. “A healthy campaign utilizes organic engagement as well as the added boost that comes with paid social,” says Jordan. “You don’t want your strategy to lean too heavily on just one side.” Finding the happy medium is critical.

Boost what’s working | Facebook just announced that they’ll be changing the way news feeds work so that people see more of the posts from friends and family, less from brands. How do you solve for that? Make sure your brand’s content on Facebook is getting strong engagement organically before you pay to boost it. And how do you do that? Produce strong content, of course.

Get in front of the right audience | Chances are your social audience is pretty diverse and your content might not resonate with every fan every time. For example, say you’re publishing blog posts that speak directly to marketers in specific verticals like travel or apparel. Using paid social, you can make sure that you’re reaching the right people with matching interests and skills on platforms like LinkedIn, rather than just putting it out for everyone and anyone. By doing this, you narrow your focus and increase your chances for engagement since you’re putting it in front of people you know will be interested.

Avoid the view cap | It’s no secret that platforms will cap the number of times a given piece of creative gets seen. If you have a campaign running around a specific piece of content you’ve published, keep your organic content going and supplement it with new versions of sponsored content. It makes sure your message gets out there, plus there’s the added bonus of built in A/B testing.

WIN OR LOSE, KEEP SOCIALIZING

Whether your social content wins or loses, there are things you can take away from the experience. For example, social content that is performing really well or really poorly both make for good candidates to be refreshed and reused. Why the poor performers? “Because there’s an opportunity to fix them. Compare your under-performing content with what worked well and try sending out another piece of sponsored content to boost it – try mixing it up by changing your headline or modifying your creative to see if you can turn around that under-performer’s fortunes.”

And don’t be afraid to repost; if a piece of content is performing strongly, repurpose it in a new way to put it back on the radar of followers who may have missed it. Not everyone in your audience will see every post.

In the end, social marketing is too important to pass up, and it’s getting easier as social networks continue to work to accommodate marketers and their campaigns. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter literally make it so that you can set it up with a click of a button, so make sure you’re taking advantage of it. With these tips in hand, you should be able to make the most of your social efforts.

Interested in learning more about getting the most out of your social media campaigns? Visit us at www.steelhouse.com.