You Don’t Need a Large Social Following to Make a Difference. Just the Right One.
Organizations are constantly on the lookout for ways to elevate their social platforms and grow a larger audience. However, when it comes to impact, it’s often not a matter of size, but relevance. The real challenge is not enticing an ever-larger audience; it’s zeroing in on the right one.
For those who observed National Social Media Day yesterday, it has been easy to focus on the sheer reach in terms of eyeballs glued to the most viral or most followed accounts. But with the speed at which social media platforms and their usage evolve, it’s important that we keep sight of the key trends on the horizon. By starting with a relentless focus on specificity and relevance, we can develop and implement social media strategies and tactics that energize the right audience for any goal.
A new report from Buffer offers insight into how organizations are leveraging social media in 2019, and, more importantly, how they plan to use it in the future. The data helps determine which trends will have the biggest impact on our industry and how to tackle the art of social media moving forward.
Have a consistent social media strategy. Surprisingly, the Buffer report said that 50% of business owners did not have a documented social media strategy for their organization. When times get tough, marketing and social media planning can fall by the wayside and a solid strategy can keep your channels from feeling disjointed.
- Craft a central strategy. Put it down on paper and work from it.
- Develop a comprehensive messaging outline and let original creative content flow from it.
- Outline your target audiences and determine which platforms will be best for which messages and audiences.
- Create a calendar that dictates when and how often your organization should be posting.
By creating a specific strategy with these components, and discussing how you plan to measure metrics and growth, you are better prepared to tackle any issues that pop up and foster a relationship with your audience.
Join the organic “Stories” wave. Data from Buffer indicates that more than one billion accounts now use stories globally on Facebook-owned properties. It’s clear what followers want out of this content: authenticity.
- Break the “fourth wall” by incorporating stories into your social media channels. Stories allow you to become personable, relatable and spontaneous and offer insight that your followers would not be able to find elsewhere.
- Introduce some of your employees on your story or let employees or partners take over your organization’s story.
- Use stories to incorporate humor or polls into your social media, lightening your tone and making your content more enjoyable.
If you’ve been struggling to convey why or how your organization is special, consider using stories. By taking advantage of the unique opportunities that stories can bring, you maximize your use of the platform and build trust with your followers.
Reexamine how you interpret ROI. Every organization defines ROI differently when it comes to social media. It’s important to make sure that however you define it, it aligns with your organizational leadership and broader strategic goals.
- Buffer noted that when businesses were asked how they measure ROI with social media advertising, overwhelmingly 60% said by engagement (likes, comments, shares) and 51% said by traffic.
- Engagement and traffic are important, but they are not the only way to measure how engaged and supportive your audience is of your organization.
- Consider brand perception, quality of comments, and the feedback that your audience provides.
- Stay close to the pulse of your audience with consumer surveys or with a social media audit that tracks comments left by followers.
It’s important for stakeholders to understand that not all of these aspects will be quantitatively measurable. Things like trust and dependability will be harder to track, but will still ultimately have a large impact on your bottom line and brand reputation.
Don’t force creativity. Your audience began following you for a reason. Whether it was an eye-catching post, a tag from a friend, a relatable caption, or familiarity prior to social engagement, you have already gotten their initial attention. Now it’s important to keep their attention and make sure they continue to follow, engage and take action.
- Repurpose existing content in new and novel ways to save time and resources and double down on content that you know your followers connect with.
- Pull out a key statistic or fact from a previous post, or grab a short clip or quote from longer video content to emphasize an important idea or product.
- Engage in A/B testing or other experiments to see what works well for your organization and your audience.
As tempting as it is to focus on building the largest following possible, sometimes the better option is to fully invest in the audience that you already have or, if you haven’t found them yet, identifying who you want to engage with. In the long run, a group of loyal followers will have a greater impact on your organization’s pursuit of its biggest goals, no matter what they are. Recognizing, appreciating, and investing in the audience you currently have ultimately better prepares you to tackle future audiences and endeavors as your brand grows and changes.