Last week, we were lucky enough to head over to Social Media Week in London and take in a few of the talks. We're pretty sure it’s impossible to list everything that we learnt; however, hopefully some of these key points of interest will help in your never-ending quest for social media brilliance.
Social media is not about any one metric for measurement. It’s about a whole host of them. If it can be measured, then do so, and define realistic, achievable targets for success. Include the following:
The big challenge across social media for SME’s and startups is this: how can we compete against the ‘big guys’? The likes of Coca-Cola, Paddy Power and Samsung, the giants of the Social Media world? Here are some handy tips on the selection of the right platform for your brand and the management of it/them:
1. Select your platform(s) wisely, before committing time, resource and budget to any given platform. Conduct some research:
2. Planning is vital for a successful social media presence. When will you be responsive? When will you be following a posting schedule? Outline your brand ‘laws’ and stick to them.
3. You live and die by your community. Address any negative feedback and respond helpfully and, on the flipside, make sure that you’re pushing and promoting the positive interactions too.
4. There is, not unsurprisingly, a direct correlation between the reach of social posts and click-throughs, recommendations and, eventually, purchase of any given product.
5. If you’re planning on having a presence on a platform that uses an algorithm (for example, Facebook), then make sure you are – as much as possible – playing the algorithm. Focus on timely, high-quality content to assist in encouraging interaction and, therefore, a bigger reach.
6. In the same breath, don’t forget that platforms like Facebook offer the ability to pay for a bigger and guaranteed audience. If you have quality content that just needs to be seen by the right demographic in order to generate traction of its own and increase virality, then don’t be afraid of putting money behind the post(s) as a way of giving this some momentum.
7. Be careful not to misinterpret the tone of voice of engagers. Not everyone will be as literate and good with words as you are, so be aware when addressing comments and try to see every possible angle before doing so.
8. Following on from the above, regardless of your brand's tone of voice, be honest, be transparent and, overall, be compassionate. Empathy and helpfulness will go a long way to resolving any potential issues.
9. If you don’t strategise, you will fail – no ifs, no buts. See here for examples of what NOT to do for your brand!
10. Evolve to meet social challenges. New platforms are being created and growing all the time, so make sure your brand doesn’t miss out on the next big thing at an early stage.
When you’ve selected the appropriate platform(s) on which to build your social presence, what should you be posting and how should you go about creating it? Fortunately, we picked up a few tips around this element too:
1. Who are you? Before you can write a story, you need to define the main character (YOU) and their traits: define your tone of voice, define your values and define the message you want to get across with your story.
2. Communities can do what individuals can’t and that really is a key for all of the different platforms. Social media is a tool for speaking to people, so keep them entertained with your posting and get them engaging with you, and each other.
3. Why do you have profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc? Set your company goals by platform. If you don’t outline objectives, you’ll never be able to determine when they’re being achieved.
4. The average person only follows six brands on Twitter, so you need to ensure that you stand out. Tell your audience a story; what makes you different and why?
5. It’s extremely rare that any given story will be completely original, so do your utmost to make at least one element of your story unique.
6. Need help finding the plot of your story? Inspiration can come from anywhere. As a social media manager/curator, you should always be drawing inspiration for fresh content, wherever that may be. If you do find yourself struggling, check out sites like The Moth for real-life inspiration and stories.
7. Make sure your content is brand relevant and interesting to your audience. Don’t sell out with ‘click-bait’!
8. Keep your content shareable – see the ‘What Makes Your Content Shareable?’ section below.
9. Does your audience have a hook that you can tap into? If it does, make sure you utilise it. Ownable content provides great value for all brands.
10. Establish and understand the possible variables that can, and should, be utilised when composing content plans. You should have plenty of ‘evergreen’ content that can be shared at any time, along with embracing seasonal and timely campaigns too. Having the ability to preempt posting, with a couple of weeks' worth of relevant content for your brand on standby, will leave you in a very strong position to be able to be react to current events and appropriate breaking news stories
Steering away from the obvious, ‘brilliant content shares itself’ frame-of-mind, it’s important to address the psychology involved in making your content shareable.
The guys at Unruly have a truly unique take on social video sharing, and the makeup involved in people wanting to share video content. They call it the ‘Periodic Table of Unruly ShareRank Elements’ and, whilst it wasn’t designed for doing so, we think it can be utilised to predict shareability of all forms of content; not just video. Allow me to elaborate:
To briefly cover the make-up and thought behind the above table:
Starting on the far left of the table are the ‘emotional responses’ that rate highest in terms of the potential for making a piece of content shareable.
The strength of the feelings, resulting in the content being shared, decreases as the table spreads from left to right, with the feelings on the far right still having an impact on shareability, but much less so than those on the far left.
Below the main table are a list of creative devices that do not, directly, impact shareability, but – when used correctly – can create and enhance some of the feelings experienced in the main table. The black boxes are the negative responses that, in worst case scenarios, will actually hinder the likelihood of sharing the content.
The theory behind all of the above is that any piece of content that can tie in some of the positive elements and the strong emotions - the left side of the table - with the content being produced, will make for much more shareable postings.
This may include elements of the ‘creative devices’ area, if they tally up with the emotional responses that you’re seeking to use, but you should be looking to avoid the negative responses too.
As an example, I’ve assessed a post that was put on Facebook by Nike Golf just after the The Open championship. To date, it has over 23,000 likes, over 200 comments and 1,126 shares – far more than most of their other posts.
As you can see, below the post, I’ve included the ShareRank elements that are appropriate with the imagery and text. It takes into account, at least, three of the more powerful emotional responses – Amazed and Happy could arguably be included too – along with a few other elements of the table, which makes this piece so shareable.
The story behind young Rory McIlroy becoming the world class golfer he is today, after setbacks such as his collapse at the 2011 Masters, are well publicised and, of course, well known by the Nike Golf target demographic. Nike created this incredibly likeable and inspirational content, using not only fantastic and almost iconic photography but also with the words used. It’s a real feel good post, utilises numerous elements of the table and, as a result, is reaping the rewards of incredible sharing and interactions metrics.
Bear the table in mind when you’re creating content for your Facebook page, Twitter accounts, blog posts, whatever it may be. Does your content generate those emotions that are so desirable for shareability, on the left-hand side of the table?
If it does, and the content itself is good enough, you’ll be in a very good position to enable your audience to share your work far and wide.
Massive thanks to all the speakers and everyone at Social Media Week, London for putting on a fantastic show.
In particular massive thanks to the following hosts and talks, they were exceptional:
Measuring What Matters; Knowing Your Audience, Content and Key Metrics – By Socialbakers
Storytelling and Common Challenges for Big Brands and Startups Alike – By Sarah Drinkwater
19 Ways Native Ads Will Make Your Life More Awesome – By Sharethrough
Debunking the Viral Myth – By Ian Forrester at Unruly
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