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New platforms. New features. New regulations. Keeping up with the ever-changing world of social media is a job in and of itself. Luckily, experts like those featured at the Social Fresh West 2014 conference exist to help make our jobs easier. It’s time to revamp your strategies, social media pros. Here’s where you should start:
Don’t Post Every Day
Paula Berg of HP cautioned social media pros against simply ‘feeding the beast.’ The sheer amount of content being posted on social media every day (think of the Twitter feeds!) makes marketers feel pressured to post frequently to stay in the game.
Berg suggests, instead, that we focus on creating quality content and sharing it strategically at the right time. This content should also reflect very specific goals. Creating daily subpar tweets, Facebook posts and LinkedIn updates may increase followers and likes, but will this strategy achieve a specific end-goal? Will it attract quality followers who want to engage with your brand in a meaningful way–and perhaps use your service/product? Probably not.
Our takeaway: First, determine what your business goals are. Are you hoping to be seen as the leader in advice for small businesses? Create long-form quality content, post it to Facebook on a Monday and boost that post for a considerable amount of money to ensure it reaches a number of people over the course of a few days. This strategy, rather than posting ‘just okay’ content to Facebook everyday and boosting each post, should help you gain quality engagement and traffic to your website.
Long-Form Content Trumps Snackable Tidbits
It’s been a common sentiment over the past few years that people have no attention spans and we can’t consume large quantities of information. But bounce rates and engagement beg to differ as of late.
Jason Keath, CEO of Social Fresh, encourages social media professionals to create more ‘high intensity content.’ “The secret to being creative is spending more time on a problem than the next guy,” says Keath. Have you considered how long great artists, writers and comedians spend on projects? Keath mentioned Jerry Seinfeld who spent two years developing and editing his pop tart joke. That’s high intensity content. This kind of content takes considerable time and effort to create. Examples include conferences, e-books, white papers, long-form articles, etc. This should be your bread and butter.
Low intensity content supports the time spent on high intensity content. These are the tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos and memes derived from the high quality, informative long-form content that was created. You can, and should, repurpose high intensity content frequently.
Our takeaway: We found that our recent long-form pieces of content–the Social Fresh live blog and a three-page interview of Jason Keath–received more views that some of our short-form content. The average session duration (Google’s indicator of how long people spend on a post) was between 6:23 and 7:42. If you have a topic that lends itself to long-form content, don’t try to squeeze the information into a snackable bite. Give people in-depth, detailed, actionable content to read. Spend more time developing your content and watch your social media following grow.
Content Isn’t King
Tired of hearing this popular content marketing refrain? We have something your ears will appreciate: Data reigns supreme. As Jeff Revoy, CEO of Viralheat, says, “The role of a marketer has changed dramatically. There’s been a shift from broadcasting to business results/ROI.”
Harnessing the power of data to make it actionable is what helps marketers achieve results. For example, you can use social data to identify users, scrape IDs and target your desired demographic with paid advertisements. Understand who your audience is, what content works, where people are engaging with that content and when they are engaging with it.
Delete Negative Comments on Facebook/Ban Fans
Should you delete negative comments on Facebook posts? This is an oft-debated subject in the social media world. Sue Funke of TV Land, goes a step father: she bans users from Facebook who are too negative. She believes “fan pages are for fans” and has noticed that this tactic has created a much happier presence on TV Land’s Facebook pages.
Social Media Follows Are a Privilege, Not a Right
This somewhat of a given, but it’s important to constantly remind ourselves that we gain followers because they find value in what we’re sharing. They have made a conscious decision to keep us on their radar.
As Peter Shankman of ShankMinds says, “Having people follow you on Twitter is a privilege, not a right. Like wearing spandex.” It’s exactly like that.
To be deserving of an engaged, enthusiastic following, provide great customer service. Go the extra mile for customers and fans online. Shankman shared an inspiring anecdote with the audience to illustrate this idea:
Morton’s Steakhouse asks customers if they’re making a reservation for a special occasion, if so, they include this information on the menu. You’d probably Instagram a “Happy Birthday [your name here]” on the top of a high-end steak house’s menu, wouldn’t you?
Original Ideas Are Almost Non-Existent
Stop waiting for the next big idea. Chances are you won’t–and can’t–create something highly original. And that’s not a bad thing. In fact, that should take a lot of pressure off of your marketing campaigns. Keath encourages social media marketers to find the ideas that have worked for other brands and gain inspiration from them.
The Fans That Tell You How to Do Your Job Are Your Best Friends
Isn’t it annoying when you log on to Twitter and a fan has corrected the grammar in one of your tweets? While it might be tempting to brush them off with a quick ‘favorite’ and mutter “Don’t you tell me how to do my job,” these fans might be your key to creating great content.
Laura Kimball of HTC elevate asked the Social Fresh audience to think about these fans in a new light. Your fans want to help you innovate. These nitpickers are so invested in your brand that they want to help you catch mistakes. Tap into their insight. Ask them if they want to be a part of a focus group. Show them that their opinion matters.
Don’t Ignore the Haters on Social Media
It’s tempting to ignore people who are complaining about your company online. Social media marketers sometimes dismiss such people as ‘online trolls’ and cross their fingers that they won’t come back for more. But often, unhappy people who have reached out to a company simply want a response. If you solve their problem, you could easily turn a ‘hater’ into a ‘lover.’
As Shankman says, “there’s no better lover than a former hater.” If you let the customer find their own resolution, you’re already too late. Admit the problem. Solve the problem. Be transparent. Perhaps you’ll gain a new brand advocate.
Quit Marketing to Your Audience
Using media – TV, video, social media – to share information, rather than push your message, will significantly improve your social campaigns. Brian Clark of Copyblogger cited social media pro Gary Vaynerchuk as an example. Vaynerchuk’s parents owned liquor store in New Jersey. Rather than simply pushing its marketing message, he took their business to the next level – from 3 million to 40 million – by starting the video blog Wine Library TV.
What does your audience need? How can you provide them with content that will inform, excite and empower them?
Don’t “Settle” for Perfection
It’s easy to set unattainable goals based on executive or client expectations. We want to be perfect. We want to be the best. We all want to have the next Oreo Super Bowl or Arby’s Grammy moment.
Berg asks that marketers focus on determining what did and did not work with previous campaigns, rather than striving for the next ‘big thing’. Take time away from the daily grind to truly dissect what is best for your brand. You know your brand better than anyone, so don’t be afraid to ignore best practices and make your own rules.
By Julien Brandt