By Bobby Gross
How we think about the world shapes the world we live in. The same goes for social media: How you use it and how you market on it shapes how you view it.
As marketers, we have a unique relationship to social media because every experience we have with it serves as a sort research for ways to apply what we see to our work. We all have varied approaches on social media marketing, but here are some ways to think about social media that may help with whatever events may arise in your day-to-day.
Failure Is Inevitable
You will fail on social media. You will fail many, many times. Content won’t work, you will struggle to find audiences where your ads resonate, a tweet will go up at the wrong time— these things will happen.
But as many great minds have said in one way or another, it is not failure if you take something away from it. These lessons will enable you to find the audiences that best engage with your content, and that content will be refined after continual trial and error. Correcting your mistakes might be as easy as double-checking when your tweets go up or as difficult as trying out 25 different creative types to see what works. What matters is that you are always failing, learning, and refining.
Data Is Your Friend
A necessary tool for such learning comes from data. We are now in an age of data where new metrics are being rolled out constantly from all social platforms. With a few clicks we can learn about our audience, its online behaviors, and the specific details about its engagement with each post.
For example, when advertising a video post on Facebook, you can find out how engaging that post is in terms of views and cost-per-view, what the average view length of the video was, at which point people dropped off, how many people clicked the call-to-action button—and that's just to name a few. The data tells the story of how users received the ad and what they did with it. This is just one example where data can be applied to your content and page. Social data is only going to increase, so it's important and useful to have an understanding of what that data means, and what it says about your brand as a whole.
This is the double-edged sword of social media. While users can engage with your page at any point in time, these interactions may turn negative, and it's necessary to be prepared when that occurs.
Unfortunately, this happens not only during work hours but also on nights and weekends. Social media has ushered in a new type of working situation that requires someone to keep an eye on the community every few hours. This is similar to a neighborhood watch that ensures everything runs along smoothly and keeps an eye out for any catastrophes that may occur on the page.
As a social marketer, it is necessary to put processes in place to make sure your bases are covered if a crisis arises. According to Lithium Technologies, “53 percent [of users] expect a brand to respond to their tweet, [and] demand that response comes in less than an hour. ...That figure skyrockets to 72 percent when they have complaints.”
This isn’t something that should take away from your free time, but it's important to have a system in place so you don’t have to worry about this on off hours.
Be Comfortable With Change
The digital world is in a constant evolution and probably always will be. New platforms are emerging constantly, and even the ones we know are transforming at a rapid pace (e.g., Snapchat as a viable advertising platform or the eventual emergence of Virtual Reality). It is necessary to not resist any change that may occur and roll with it. Go with the change and try to understand it as quickly as possible, because a fair amount of the time these changes are for the best.
On a small yet relatable scale, there are often complaints when Facebook changes up its timeline. Yet a week or two after the change, people adapt to the new layout and end up liking it better than the previous version. A famous example of not adapting to change, as featured in Adam Grant’s Originals, is Kodak in its response to the digital camera. Leadership at Kodak believed that customers always wanted to have a physical copy of their pictures, not just the digital version, which we now know to be a crucial error.
In the end, it is better to go with the current than to try to stand strong against it. The most successful brands are those that are willing to go where the industry and technology take them.
Always Be Innovating
Every month, social marketers have to go back to the drawing board and create a new month of content. Sometimes this is easy—a big brand event is coming up, or it’s holiday season—but other months turn into a struggle. In these moments, it's crucial to look at your brand and consider using new advertising platforms. Facebook Canvas Ads are now being used in a multitude of ways, big and small, and Facebook Live has quickly captured users' attention.
You should also keep an eye on what other brands are doing. Social media is not created in a vacuum; you can get ideas from those around you, then build upon those ideas yourself.
Most of all, being innovative requires many different opinions. When designing Pixar’s Offices, Steve Jobs put the bathrooms in a central area to facilitate "serendipitous personal encounters." This enabled people from different departments to talk and exchange ideas, which helped spark ideas that neither had previously considered. This should be applied to your social strategy as well. Sometimes a little distance (i.e., someone outside the daily grind of social media) allows for a fresh perspective.
Social media is still relatively new, even though it doesn’t feel like it. We are given a multitude of platforms that allow us to communicate in a variety of ways. This enables brands to find various avenues that display what they are offering within a relevant community of people.
These are just a few ways to think about social media, and there are many more. But no matter how you approach it, you should always see opportunity.
Share your thoughts with the Likeable Media team below!