3 Social Media Hacks That Translate to Big Results?
Bad advice is counterproductive on the best of days - but in the break-neck world of social media, it can do an incredible amount of damage in a short amount of time. Life on social networks like Facebook and Twitter moves impossibly fast. If you spend a ton of money on a video that you just know will go viral but launch at the wrong time, or in the wrong way, or on the wrong network - all because you were following the advice of so-called experts - that's it. It's done. You don't get another shot at it. You'll have no choice but to just move onto the next thing and write this effort off as "the one that got away."
Because of this, part of success on social media involves knowing how to weed out the white noise. Taking the time to learn how social networking actually works from a user perspective gives you the context to immediately separate the good advice from the bad, putting you in a better position to succeed - or at least to know what "best practices" you shouldn't be listening to in the first place.
The Disruptive Power of Bad Advice
Perhaps the single worst piece of social media advice that you will hear is that just by using a site like Twitter or Instagram, you're "engaging" with your audience. After all, a person chooses to follow your brand because they want to hear what you have to say, right? What THEY have to say doesn't actually matter, does it? Wrong!
Social networking is all about building relationships. It's a way to establish a deep, meaningful and instant connection with the people you're trying to reach. Engagement in these terms is a two-way street, and it's going to require a lot more than just a few Twitter posts a day to cultivate what you need. Keep in mind that according to studies, 67% of consumers consider social media to be an active arm of your customer service efforts. 50% of users on Facebook say that if they send a message to a brand, they expect to hear back within one business day. If you're not willing to put that kind of effort in, your social media efforts aren't going to pay off the way you expect them to - end of story.
Another disturbing piece of advice that should be avoided at all costs is the fabricated idea that all social networking sites are somehow created equally. In reality, they are WILDLY different - Twitter users tend to skew younger than Facebook users, Instagram users love visual content, Twitter users are looking for short bursts of information versus the long-form content that tends to work well on Facebook, etc.
Your message can be the same across all platforms, but the delivery mechanism of that message MUST change to take advantage of the network you happen to be using at the time. You have an idea that you're trying to get across to your audience. On Twitter, you need to distil that idea down to a tweet. On Instagram, you need to convert that idea into a compelling image. The idea doesn't change, but how you transmit it into the world can and SHOULD be based on where the conversation is taking place.
Social Media Hack #1: Have a Content Strategy
If you really want to start seeing the results you need on social media, you need to develop a content strategy. It really is that simple. Trying to manage multiple social media channels without one effectively is a fool's errand, and you need to start thinking of things in deeper terms than just "... when was the last time I tweeted? I should do that again."
Content creation, content promotion, and content metrics are all essential pillars of your content strategy - all things that will increase engagement, raise awareness and generate more leads. The right strategy will help you answer important questions like:
- What is my audience looking for?
- BASED ON THAT, what type of content should I create?
- BASED ON THAT, where should that content go?
- BASED ON THAT, what day of the week and what time should that content be posted to maximize impact?
- BASED ON THAT, how frequently should I create similar content?
- BASED ON THAT, how and where do I promote that content to get as many eyes on it as possible?
The answers to these questions will vary depending on your audience, which social networks you're using and even what industry you're operating in. But the fact that you're asking the questions at all represents the major building blocks of the type of content strategy that will carry you far.
According to a study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, 48% of smaller organizations are working from some type of documented content strategy. The same can be said for 41% of larger organizations. Businesses that do make a content strategy a priority don't just see more retweets, likes, and shares - they see more conversions and sales, too.
Social Media Hack #2: Don't Forget About the Visuals
Another social media idea that you need to understand is the fact that visuals don't just matter - they're incredibly powerful when used effectively. Keep in mind that 37% of marketers say that visual content was the most important form of content they create. A compelling visual like an Infographic is 3 times more likely to be shared on social media than any other type of content. Visual marketing helps people remember you, makes it easier for people to follow directions and more.
To that end, visuals on social media matter a great deal - both regarding that you're using them and what TYPE of visuals you're creating. Don't assume that you can get away with just posting pictures of your products or service - not only is that hardly engaging, but it again assumes that social media is just a channel to use to sell people 100% of the time.
Use a tool like FotoJet to design compelling visual content pulled together from a variety of resources. You can create great photo collages, Infographics or even presentations. You can even take individual photos and touch them up to make them more visually appealing or attractive.
Social Media Hack #3: Time is Money
If all of this sounds like a full-time job, there's a good reason for that: it largely is. Social media requires constant interaction on behalf of brands, which makes sense if you're asking an audience for constant communication in return. This brings us to the last social media hack that can translate into significant results: consider bringing in a pro. Your time is invaluable, and at a certain point, if you wind up devoting 4 hours a day to Facebook and Twitter that's four man-hours that may have been better spent elsewhere. Don't be afraid to partner with a professional to manage your social media efforts full-time. Not only will you be able to leverage the power of their experience to your advantage, but you'll be offering a more consistent (and engaging) experience to your users, too.