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What Social Marketers Should Do Differently on Social in 2018

It’s a new year, which means a lot of social marketers and brands are focused on transformation…hence our 30-Day Social Media Transformation webinar. But, in order to have a better year, we need to look at what happened last year.

Here’s what I learned from looking back at social media activities, engagement, and conversions in 2017—and how I’m going to make a bigger impact with these learnings in 2018.

1. Our Audience Loves Learning from Top Brands

We use social as a content delivery mechanism, which means that we share a lot of blog content on our social channels. A consistently successful blog post theme for us: 

  • Names a company
  • Explains what the company is successful at
  • Explains why/how the company is successful
  • Describes how other marketers can replicate this success for their brand
Our Content Share Tracking tool shows us that 3 out of 7 blog posts in our top 10 most-visited URLs from social explain what marketers can learn from other brands and celebrities.

Takeaway: If your creative juices have run dry, take a look at what other brands and even competitors are doing. Whether your brand is in a different industry or not, you’ll be able to learn something. For example, a few of my coworkers LOVE Tone It Up, a fitness lifestyle brand. It goes without saying that Tone It Up is far from the B2B SaaS industry that I work in. Nonetheless, I was able to draw inspiration from it. Have I piqued your interest? Follow the hashtag #NewYearNewSocial on Instagram and you’ll be in for a treat.

What I’m doing differently in 2018: I’m going to work with our content team to make sure we focus on blog posts that name a company, explain why they are successful, and show how marketers can replicate this success.l We’ll push these blog posts out more frequently on social, and every month I’ll be highlighting one of our customers who is killing it on social.

2. We’re All Still Trying to Figure Out Instagram

Instagram is the social network that social marketers are trying to learn more about. Not only do blog posts on Instagram do well, but the Instagram blog posts that do well for us are pretty entry-level. Our top-performing Instagram posts define new Instagram metrics that marketers didn’t have access to in the past.

Takeaway: Don’t fall behind on this growing social network. Instagram has 800 million monthly active users, and it is becoming more transparent and optimizable with Instagram Stories metrics. We’re all familiar with likes and comments. But new metrics like tap-forwards, tap-backs, and exits have appeared. Now is the time to learn with everyone else. If you put off integrating Instagram Stories into your social strategy, you’ll be playing catch-up. This Instagram Stories 101 blog post will help get you started.

What I’m doing differently in 2018: I’ll be putting more effort into Instagram strategy and running tests to determine which content our audience engages most with. For example, our most engaging posts of 2017 show off our culture (more on this later). But, according to Content Share Tracking, Instagram has one of the higher conversion rates for downloaded content. To test this, we have started a 30-Day Transformation campaign on Instagram. You can check that out here.

3. Different Channels, Different Audiences

You might be thinking, well, duh! But it’s important to know how audiences on each channel behave differently. Let’s take a closer look.

Twitter

Posts with GIFs have the highest engagement for our brand. The Simply Measured Profile Analytics dashboard shows us our top posts by engagement. There are GIFs in 87% of these posts.

Takeaway: There are many reasons to include a GIF in your social posts. For instance, there’s the fact that GIFs have movement–compared to tweets with photos and only text, GIFs stand out. But have you ever heard of the saying, “show, don’t tell”? GIFs are the perfect way to do just that. For instance, let’s take a look at the post furthest to the left.

The GIF is eye-catching and shows people we are talking about Coca-Cola. The text offers more context and gets people to click through.

What I’m doing differently in 2018: In the past month, I’ve steered away from GIFs because I wasn’t sure if they were conveying my message completely, or if the amount of time I was spending to find the perfect GIF was worth it. Rather than searching for the perfect GIF for each tweet, which can be very time-consuming, as I browse social media, I’ll begin collecting GIFs as I see them.

Instagram

Unlike our other networks, where we share blog posts, guides, and social news, we use Instagram to show off our culture. Turns out that people enjoy that! Thirty-four percent of our posts in 2017 have the hashtag #LifeatSM, but these posts account for almost half (48%) of our engagement. Not to mention that in 2017 we increased our Instagram followers by 34%.

Takeaway: People want to do business with people, not businesses. For this reason, it’s important to show the faces behind your brand. In this photo, we showed that one of our employees has been with us for six years, and that other employees are excited to celebrate with him.

In the second photo, we got to show off some of our hard work. 

And with the photo to the right of that, we showed our excitement for data and social media holidays.

Fun fact: #Nationaldonutday has been used 67,116 times today 🍩 #LifeatSM

A post shared by Simply Measured (@simplymeasured) on

How can you use Instagram to show off the behind-the-scenes look of your company? Do you have internal events that you can share? Or maybe your company has awards for employees?

What I’m doing differently in 2018: I’d like to start having employees do more Instagram takeovers. For example, our kickball team made it to the championships, and one of the players took over our Instagram Stories. We got an inside look at how our kickball team preps for each game and what happens in the dugout during the game.

We’re also going to begin introducing our Instagram audience to our brand content. We experimented with weekly #SocialMediaMarketingTips.

Wesaw upticks in post saves on days we posted these.

With this data, we are able to see that our audience is interested in improving their social strategies. This is why we decided to launch our 30-Day Transformation Plan #NewYearNewSocial campaign on Instagram.

Facebook

Of our 20 most engaged posts, 13 were ads. Facebook is now a pay-to-play game.

Takeaway: If your organic content isn’t doing as well on Facebook as you would like, it might be time to put some paid content behind your efforts. And if you’re unsure about how to target, use other social channels to determine which pieces of content are worth putting money behind. Then create an ad and target the audience that is most similar to the audience you tested the piece of content on.

What I’m doing differently in 2018: When a piece of content does well on LinkedIn, I’ll work with my boss to boost posts on Facebook for that same piece of content.

LinkedIn

Posts with a table or chart average 58% more engagement than posts with a blog post feature image. People spend time on LinkedIn to develop their careers. When a user visits LinkedIn, he or she is ready to learn and grow. With a chart, table, or graph, we are able to grab their attention and establish our credibility.

Takeaway: On LinkedIn, people aren’t intrigued by an image with a blog post title, even if it’s a good title. As a result, our audience on LinkedIn needs a chart, table, or graph to be intrigued by a post. For example, take a look at the second image from the left.

The image provides value for any marketer scrolling through his or her LinkedIn feed because it gives a general description of what each metric is and how the metrics differ from each other. This image is how we stop our audience and get them to engage. Our copy adds context to the image. It explains why these three metrics matter and whom they matter to. Once a viewer has determined that these metrics also matter to them, they click on the link.

What I’m doing differently in 2018: I’m going to work with our content and design team to make sure each blog post has one table, chart, or graph we can share on LinkedIn.

What have you learned from looking at last year’s data? Schedule a demo below to start tracking your data.

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Laurie Anne Nilo

I'm the Social Media Manager here at Simply Measured. I love all things wellness, coffee, watercolor, and travel.

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