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The ABCs of Testing on Social Media

Jen Joyce, Senior Social Strategy Consultant for WONGDOODY, and Lucy Hitz, our very own Head of Marketing Communications, recently chatted on our webinar about 10 different ways you can test on social.

Social marketers make big and little decisions every day, from which content to post and which campaigns to run, to posting times and target audiences. With all these decisions, we sometimes get wrapped up in the what, altogether forgetting the why.

10 Social Marketing Lessons from Forbes Most Valuable Brands

If you missed the webinar, here are the ABCs: the baseline of knowledge you need to test your decisions on social. Find the full webinar recording at the bottom of this page. 

1. Identify Your Most Important KPI

If you’re unsure of where to start or what to test against, look at your company’s top goal. Is it building awareness of your brand? Or do you have such a strong customer base that you want to create advocates of your brand?

The Social Metrics Map below will help you prioritize what is most important to your brand, and how you can measure your progress.

Once you have your most important KPI in mind, stick with that and drive all of your social marketing efforts towards maximizing that KPI.

2. What Are the ABCs of Testing?

If you’re not testing anything else, make sure you test these three things.

  • Channels: How do your channels perform against each other?
  • Times: What times of day will you get the most engagement?
  • Days: On which days are your followers most active?

Knowing these three components will give you a good baseline to iterate on and adapt your content to your audience as it evolves in the future.

 

Use Simply Measured Social Analytics to measure progress across all your active social channels.

These stats will change on you, so monitor them! Your Twitter strategy and results will be different than your Instagram strategy and results. Your brand on social today is not the same brand it was six months ago. 

3. Come with a Fail Mentality

It’s okay to fail! As hard as that might be for you to accept, if you come with this mentality when testing, you won’t be afraid to try new things.

You’re in the social media space. At this time last year, did you think you would be trying out Facebook Live or Instagram Stories?

Your fail mentality will allow you to quickly adapt to the latest network developments, test them, and understand if they are right for your brand. 

4. Get Your Audit On

Conducting a social audit at least yearly is imperative to understanding the health of your social strategy. Use this to understand which content was attributing most to your KPIs and which themes you should trash or repeat, based on this information. 

Pro Tip: Like Jen mentioned, if you’re starting at a new company as a social media manager, this is a great way to get a pulse on the content posted in the past and understand how you should move forward. 

5. Choose Your Time Period Wisely

The time period you choose to measure is important, and is different for every social marketer. So choose it wisely!

Start by looking at a specific time period, whether that’s day, week, month, or year. Compare this time period to a similar period in the past.

What differences do you see in your KPIs? Was the difference caused by a specific campaign, posting cadence, or social channel focus? Learning the answer to these questions gives you prescriptive data about what to plan next.

6. Testing Your Messages (and More)

Not all of your content is going to be the same. You’ll have different text, pictures, videos, boomerangs, and more. While this variety is great for your audience, it forces you to do more testing on each of your different messages and content types.

Start by asking yourself: What describes your campaign? Is it a hashtag? An event name? A phrase, perhaps? Or maybe it’s broader and falls under a topic or a theme.

If you were Trader Joe’s, you could categorize your content based on topic, like content with food in it vs. content with non-edible items.

Whichever feature describes your content, use that feature as the driver to measure your campaigns and compare them against each other. With Simply Measured, you can use content labeling to label your content and see the data based off of that label.

7. Paid Testing

When you test paid, you want to be a little bit more strategic, because there’s money involved. The biggest advice we can give you here is to A/B test. There are many ways you can invest.

For instance, on Instagram, do you want to run a carousel, Instagram Stories, or in-feed picture ad? Whether you choose one or multiple ad formats, make sure you change only one thing at a time, so that the data is clean. 

8. Video Testing

Since videos are more relevant than ever, testing them is just as important. Remember the first testing strategy we talked about (identifying your most important KPI)?. Which social channel is most successful for video, based on that KPI?

Take out the guesswork with Simply Measured Social Analytics.

Look at your videos and understand how the metrics vary based on what’s featured in your video, the length of your video, and your audience video retention. Even if you’re using Instagram Stories, how does that data over a given time period compare to your more “traditional” video content?

Stories

9. Growth Testing vs. Totals Testing

What does success look like to you? Usually it’s the biggest number, whether that’s engagement, views, impression, reach, share-of-voice, web traffic, etc.

But in focusing on totals, are you ignoring growth? For instance, your total audience size on Twitter may be higher, but your percentage audience growth on Instagram might be higher. Audience size, in particular, helps you understand which specific actions are directly correlating to expanded brand awareness.

Running tests with both a “growth mindset” and a “totals mindset” is important, because it helps you identify emerging channels and channels you should throw more weight behind. 

10. Influencer Testing

When you work with influencers, you want it to be a partnership. Get an idea of which influencer would work best for your brand, and more importantly your specific campaign. If your influencers are excited about your brand and campaigns, they will do a better job of working with you to promote what you need their help promoting.

Influencers
You can use Simply Measured to identify the right influencers for your brand

It’s important to know your target audience and understand what your specific goals are. This way, your influencers will resonate more with their following and work with you to reach your goals. Track your performance and adjust your influencer involvement if you need to.

Check out the full recording below and request a demo of Simply Measured below that!

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Ciara Klein

Ciara is the Customer Lifecycle Manager at Simply Measured, a Sprout Social Company. She oversees all customer communication for over 17,000 users, handling email and in-application methods of notification

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