Crafting the Perfect Social Media Cocktail

Make Me a Drink, Surprise Me

Oftentimes when a client assigns a social media account to an agency or social media guru, they’re not sure exactly where their company should “be.” With so many hot spots across the social media landscape, and new ones popping up all the time (Whatever happened to Ello?), it’s no wonder it’s sometimes not clear which platforms should host their social media efforts. The client is essentially requesting a tasty cocktail with loose specifications and relying on your expertise and recommendations to give them results.

Finding and Creating the Perfect Recipe

Each brand’s social media needs are unique. What works for one brand may not work for another, even if they’re in the same category. There is no one recipe that is sure to delight each and every brand. Developing a content strategy requires research, an intimate knowledge of the brand’s product, customer, and demographic, as well as a solid understanding of the objectives, benefits and inner workings of each social media platform. (Revisit this classic tongue-in-cheek breakdown of social media platforms in case you need a refresher).

What are Your New Specials?

One method that can be tempting for social media specialists, but inhibits progress, is becoming complacent with a content strategy that “works.” No need to overhaul the whole menu every week, but keeping content fresh and making small alterations based on conclusions and observations made from analytics keeps your profile growing, your engagement up, and your core audience – or regulars – inspired and excited. For example, can you encourage engagement in an unorthodox way? If posing questions in contest posts on Facebook has been your means of provoking engagement, take it a step further by imploring fans to tag a friend in the comments, which maintains engagement but expands your reach outside of your existing followership. According to The Next Web, a sound social media strategy is to constantly “organize, act, and regroup.” Then repeat.

The “regroup” part of the equation is where analytics come into play. Track the back end of each platform to optimize your content’s performance. For example, make a habit of checking into Facebook Insights to evaluate the following basic data:

  • Time of day your audience is online
  • Recent posts with the most organic reach
  • How you measure up against your competitors (use the Pages to Watch section to keep tabs)

Old Fashioned vs. the Hot New Drink Special

Certain platforms are tried and true, like Facebook. At this point, it’s an oldie but (arguably) goodie, a classic. True, it’s become the bar where your mom hangs out and you’re bombarded by promotions for Long Island Iced Teas and boxed wine (i.e. not what you came for), but it continues to be the dominant platform by which people lay eyes on your brand. Out of adult internet users, 71% are on Facebook (Pew Research Center). Despite the 2014 shift in company pages’ organic reach, it is still worth your while to publish to Facebook, and yes, even invest your ad dollars there. According to Jon Loomer, Facebook’s reach is not “dead” as so many tech sites have reported. Rather, the decrease in reach is a reasonable shift that now forces companies to tailor their content for those users who are more likely to respond – content that creates discussion rather than just overtly promotes a brand.

This is all to say that sticking around good old Facebook may be a better use of your time, rather than abandoning what many have deemed to be a sinking ship. Investigating quirky new platforms is always a good idea, but the general rule of social media still applies – don’t try to be on every platform just for the sake of being there. Make your decision by weighing whether it makes sense for your brand’s message and if it has the potential to drive web traffic or sales. That said, platforms like Snapchat or vine, unorthodox choices for companies, have proven to be an effective way for select brands to stand out among the noise (Fast Company).

It’s All in the Presentation

Visuals are perhaps the most important part of your content, regardless of platform. Like food and beverages, it’s got to look sexy and appetizing; crafted by a professional to draw the customer in. Even in the revolving door of social media news, this principle remains a constant. If possible, work with a graphic designer to garnish your visual content and create a masterpiece. If you’re on your own, use apps like Pixlr (desktop) and Word Swag (mobile app) to enhance your content.

This Drink Tastes Like A**

Like ornery bar-goers, your clients’ beloved customers are sometimes a testy bunch who, when they approach your social media channel, are already cranky and dissatisfied. One element crucial for many brands susceptible to this kind of reproach (read: pretty much every brand) is reputation management. According to Forbes, “tailoring an action plan for when things go wrong” is part of a strong communication strategy.

Anticipate When Your Customer is Ready for a Refill

Timing and frequency of posting are key elements of social media strategy. A few things to consider when scheduling your social media posts:

  • Is your Facebook audience on the East Coast and the West Coast? Consider timing your posts to reach both parties.
  • Remember, due to the aforementioned Facebook reach issue, only a fraction of your audience is seeing your content. In other words, you needn’t be too weary of over-saturating your fans’ feeds. Daily or twice daily posts are optimal for many brands.
  • Your fans likely follow many Twitter pages. The life of a tweet is about 15-18 minutes (Social Media Today), due to tweets constantly get buried by an influx of new tweets. So, “refill” your followers’ glasses with new content as often as every 15 minutes. A more realistic approach would be posting/scheduling new tweets, or variations of the same tweet, on an hourly basis.
  • The Instagram user is a different beast. The fundamental belief has been that, due to the purist style of the platform, if you oversaturate your followers’ feed, they may unfollow you. Forbes, however, revealed that “there doesn’t appear to be any downside to high-frequency posting.” Whichever approach you take, make sure your photos are high quality and reflect a consistent theme.

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