As social media continue to grow at an exponential rate, so too does the number of “social media experts.” We see new social media job titles popup every single day, and job descriptions combining and confusing social media marketers with PR professionals, SEOs, writers, editors, and so on. This trend is sure to land most social media-marketing professionals in a “master of none” scenario. However, there is hope.
For those aiming to join the ranks of the social media elite, there are two sides to the trade that need to be understood; the creative and the scientific. We need to be able to answer why and how, and then be able to provide data to support our decision-making. This sounds simple, however, many (if not most) are not doing this.
Marketing legends such as Dennis Yu; CFO/Founder at BlitzMetrics, Brian Swichkow; CEO/Founder at Ghost Influence, Blake Jamieson; CEO/Founder at TinderHacks, and a few others are perfect examples of what a professional, data driven, social media professional should do. I have had the pleasure of working with and learning from all three of them and here is what they have to say.
1. Never Make Assumptions
We have access to more data than ever before which means we no longer have to guess on what our audiences actually want to see! Rather, we can use cold hard data to inform our decisions. There is nothing worse than seeing an entire content or social media marketing campaign go out without the crucial research in place. Tools like BlitzMetric, Nuvi, and BuzzSumo are just a few of the many social media data tools that are absolutely crucial to properly inform a campaign.
2. Expect & Prepare for Overload
No one can predict how viral a social media campaign will be so we should always have a plan for overload. A lot of social media campaigns fail and as a result many social media-marketers forget to prepare for when they are actually successful. It’s so important to consider the way your content is being delivered. This includes load time, caching your site via mobile so that the user’s mobile device doesn’t have to request the page over and over again leading to possibly crashing your server!
To avoid these things from happening and to optimize your content your campaign, you can use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs). Understanding and paying attention to small details like this are what divide the pro’s from the noobs. Remember that for any area in life, success always lives in the details.
3. Track Everything
Tracking is the only way we will be able to know if and why our campaigns did well. Google Analytics, Twitter Cards, Facebook and Google Tags are all key components to tracking the success of your campaigns. Another thing to keep in mind is something called “Dark Social.” Dark social is a term for the social media site traffic that comes in as “direct” traffic. This happens when someone texts, emails or clicks on a click from a non-secure network. The referral source in theses cases would not be passed.
“Success always lives in the details”
How do we fix this? To track dark social media traffic we need to use URL builders and URL shorteners, such as Bit.ly and Google URL builder. These link tracking tools allow us to see the social media link that has come in as direct traffic, and from there we can separate it out and attribute it appropriately.
4. Always A/B Test your Campaigns
Considering the amount of time, effort and resources we put into social media campaigns, it seems crazy to think that some companies are not A/B testing their campaigns. Remember when your mom always told you to never put all of our eggs in one basket? Testing the language, the media, the audiences and the delivery network to optimize the return on your campaigns is essential. We must test, evaluate, consider and try again and again until we get it right.
To A/B test a campaign it’s recommended you create three variations of copy and three variations of images. Cross test each variation until one ‘pops out’ as a clear winner. When you have that winner chosen, first study every aspect of it and take note. What resonated with the viewer? What did your audience connect with? After asking questions, optimize again with your new learnings. It’s a constant process of elimination leading to the perfect campaign for your specific audience. Tools like Spokal can help with more advanced A/B testing tactics on social. This particular tool can actually allow you to A/B test blog titles right on site!