Social Media Fundamentals Part 3: Executing Your Game Plan
Social media isn't just a matter of plug and play. There are a number of things you can and should do to maximize your performance.
We’re here in the home stretch of your grand social media plan. You’ve put in the work and now it’s finally time to see your vision come to fruition. But from this point on it isn’t just a matter of plug and play. There are a number of things you can (and should) do to maximize the impact of your strategy and ensure that things operate with ease.
Setting Your Performance Metrics
In the last chapter we touched on setting specific goals for each of your social media channels, but how do you accurately measure those goals? Let’s jump right in and explore the most common metrics to track.
When you’re trying to foster a community and create a conversation among your followers the most valuable metric to track is your engagement rate. Sure you can reach millions of people, but if what you’re trying to tell them isn’t resonating with them then there are some tweaks that need to be made. Here’s what to track:
Now let’s dig a little deeper. You know how much engagement you’re getting on your posts, but how does that stack up against your audience? The following formulas will give you a crystal clear vision:
Overall Engagement Rate
(likes+comments+shares+clicks/total followers) x 100
(total shares/followers) x 100
(shares/impressions) x 100
If you post a fire photo to the gram and no one sees it, does it really even exist? You may have your calendar locked and loaded with some really choice content, but if no one is seeing it then your efforts are futile. Keep your eye on the following:
- Number of followers
Again, if you want to see how your post reach is stacking up against the number of followers that you have these formulas will do just the trick:
Follower Growth Rate
(new followers/old followers) x 100
Post Reach Rate
(post views/total followers) x 100
Your companies social media isn’t just about having the perfect *~aesthetic~*. How are you going to convert your followers into customers and more importantly how are you going to track those conversions? Well, you’re going to have to do a little bit of leg work.
(clicks on CTA post/impressions) x 100
Conversion Rate: Clicks
(conversions/clicks) x 100
Building Your Audience
Like we said earlier, you could have the most killer content in the damn state but if no one sees it then your efforts are about as useful as a pillow in a bar fight. The key aspects to any social media channel are those pesky followers and whether you have 100 or 100,000, you never want to stop reeling them in. Of course, this is easier said than done. Let’s go over the dos and don’ts of follower acquisition.
DON'T Buy Followers
We can not stress this enough. Buying your followers may seem like the easiest option to boost your social Klout, but in reality, it just damages your brand.
You may be thinking, so what? I have 100k! I’m on my way to being verified baby! However, with 10 likes per post and 100,000 followers, that blue checkmark doesn’t seem very likely.
When you buy followers you’re simply paying for a number and nothing more. Nine times out of ten the followers you buy are either bots, inactive accounts, or fake accounts run by people getting paid to follow you. In other words: they’re not going to engage with your brand.
This aspect is especially important when it comes to Instagram. With the days of Instagram’s chronological timeline (moment of silence) far behind us, engagement is key to how the new algorithm displays posts. Without real engagement your posts will likely not show up in feed for what little authentic audience you do have, and they definitely will not show up in the explore feed.
Another thing to keep in mind is your performance metrics. Not only will it completely butcher your engagement ratios, but it will make it harder to track engagement from your real audience and get a good feel for how your content resonates with them. Without this information you’ll have a very hard time converting your followers into customers.
If none of the above was convincing enough, let us leave you with this food for thought: in an effort to keep its platform authentic, Instagram has altered its guidelines and has been identifying fake follows, likes, and comments and removing them. By buying followers you will be in violation of the guidelines and risk being reprimanded by the platform. Sound worth it? We think not!
DO Utilize Hashtags
Ah, the hashtag. A wonderful tool that is often misused and abused. If you're not quite sure what we mean, let us explain for the less social savvy.
Traditionally the hashtag was known as the symbol “#” but now it is known as a way to index keywords on social media. For example, if you search #nationaldogday on twitter you would only see wholesome tweets of some really cute dogs . If you searched #travel on Instagram, you would see a bunch of aspiring influencers half-dressed on a beach.
Because of the way hashtags group together photos it makes it easy for users to find accounts that post content that they’re interested in. Enter your hashtag strategy.
As with anything, you’ll need to do some initial research. To absolutely nobody's surprise we’re going back to, you guessed it, the target audience for this one! Think about what hashtags users would be using and cruising that are relative to your product. Additionally, you can use websites like RiteTag and Best Hashtags to let you search for popular hashtag groups based on your preferred keywords and industry.
Now, let's talk aesthetics here.
As useful as hashtags can be to grow your audience, they don’t exactly look that great on a post. Especially if you’re using more than one. Having 10-30 hashtags in addition to your caption text can come off looking cluttered and downright spammy. But, luckily there are ways around this.
While these hacks really only pertain to Instagram, it’s still a great trick to have up your sleeve.
Hiding in Caption
After ending your caption with a period hit the return button on your keyboard. Enter another punctuation mark, and hit return again. Repeat this four times and THEN type in all your hashtags. This will make the caption long enough that no hashtags will be seen unless the reader hits the “more” button.
Hiding in Comments
This one is pretty straightforward. Enter your caption as usual and post your photo. In the comments section add your hashtags, and then publish your comment. Users will not be able to see your comment unless they click “view all comments”
DON'T Just Sell, Sell, Sell
While social media is a great tool to convert followers into customers, blasting out content that is blatantly selling to them is not the way to do it. According to a Hubspot study, 43% of users said they unfollowed a brand on social media because there were too many ads. One of the top reasons consumers follow brands on social media is because they resonate with the content being posted. Be thoughtful and strategic in what you post, and really think hard about what will get your followers engaged with your brand.
DO Utilize Paid Advertisements
The beauty in paid social media advertisements is that a little money goes a long way and when executed correctly, they can make a big impact. With the correct strategy, you can optimize your budget to its fullest potential, narrow down your target audience in ways you didn’t even think possible thanks to the massive pools of data pulled from the platforms, and boost the visibility of your content.
Engaging With Your Audience
Listen up kids, because we’re about to hit you with something wild: social media is meant to be, well, social. Don’t waste the opportunity to connect with your audience by standing on a soapbox and having a one-way conversation, get in there and foster some killer conversation. Get people talking, listen to what they have to say, and join in on the fun too.
A shining example of this is the famed Wendy’s twitter account. They’ve made a name for themselves with their spicy commentary and downright savage comebacks. But, this doesn’t just pertain to feuds in the fast-food realm. Look through any of their tweet threads and you’ll see that they keep the conversation flowing with replies to almost any tweet that comes their way.
When you have a month’s worth of content planned out for several different channels, things can get real messy real quick. Here are a few tips to keep everything in order:
Planning is one thing, execution is another. If you have different mediums of content that will be going on each channel, we suggest building out a detailed list each month by content category with the following:
- Content type
- A detailed description
- Estimated production time
- Due date
- Post date
Once you have everything all laid out and pretty you can distribute each list to your team and get production rolling. As content comes in and gets approved, throw it into that month’s drive folder for safekeeping.
Instead of waiting up until the exact moment to post a piece of content, and risking the potential of forgetting to post it all together, we suggest using a scheduling tool like Planable or Hootsuite. Most tools will allow you to stage your content, caption and all, set a date and post time, and then auto post it for you. It saves a ton of time and keeps your content flowing on schedule so that you can focus on other things.
Every time you post content to your social feeds, you want to get the highest number of eyeballs on it as you possibly can. There’s a lot of talk about when the best time to post is, but what it really comes down to is when your followers are most active. Take a peek into each platform’s analytics to pin down what times your followers are most likely to engage with your content.
Some Final Thoughts
Social media is a beast with a lot of different moving parts to it, but we're confident that you can tame it. While every strategy is different and unique, you'll find that by implementing some best practices with your team, you'll be able to maximize your impact across the board.