How Project Maia Develops Data-Driven Social Media Calendars
Project Maia is the world’s first robo-advisor for marketing strategy. Our system advises business owners and marketers on what they should be doing online to grow their business. We get a lot of questions about our technology and how we use data to create our social media calendars.
Usually, the nature of these questions varies depending on who’s asking.
- Programmers are interested in what technologies we’re using.
- Marketers want to compare our methodology with what they’re using now.
- Business owners want to determine why what we’re telling them will actually work.
The truth is that it’s not rocket science (yet). Below is an overview of what our system does at the time of this writing (remember, we’re still in beta so we make changes all the time) and hopefully it will address some of the questions we get.
What Variables Does Maia Advise On?
While our system is in beta, we’re focused on organic social media marketing. With that said, our current goal is to help users understand three things:
- Which platforms to use
- What types of content to post, and
- How often to post.
For clarity, let’s define these variables.
When we use the term platform, we’re referring primarily to social media platforms. At the moment, the platforms Maia advises on are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, and email newsletters.
Types of Content
You don’t want your entire feed to be “Buy me now” posts, but you need to drop these in there once in a while because, money.
When we say “types of content”, we have grouped the type of content that can be shared in a few ways to help guide our users on a strategy that will be the most effective. Those types of content are currently identified as:
Sales Posts. This is where you highlight the benefits of your product/service and ask people to buy/signup/etc. This can be a hard or soft sell, but in either case, it’s a fairly overt attempt to sell your product and people will understand that. You don’t want your entire feed to be “Buy me now” posts, but you need to drop these in there once in a while because, money.
News Posts. Here you share content — either written by your company or otherwise — which talks about world, local, or industry developments that may impact your industry and your customers. You’re not selling with these posts, simply seeking to provide valuable information to your followers. They will appreciate you for it.
Engagement Posts. With these, focus on getting your followers to engage. Accomplish this by reposting or giving a shout out to certain fans. Or post an informal poll where you ask for feedback on something. The idea is to get your followers to talk to you and each other.
Fun Posts. This is when you break out the cat photos! In all seriousness, post a fun photo that’s tangentially related to your business. Avoid being salesy and just try to make people smile.
Of course, sometimes a post will fit into a few of these types. In fact, good posts probably should fit into more than one of these content types — that’s ok. These are just signposts to guide you in the right direction as you develop your content.
How Often to Post
Quantity is not always a good strategy, especially if the execution becomes impractical or overwhelming.
All of our calendars are based on 2-week cycles. Why 2 weeks? Well, one week doesn’t provide enough data to get a proper analysis and a full month is too long to go without reanalyzing in case something is going wrong.
Our post frequency engine does seek to be realistic in terms of what our typical customers (small business owners and marketers) can implement without going crazy. Maia is unlikely to recommend more than one or two posts per day. Quantity is not always a good strategy, especially if the execution becomes impractical or overwhelming.
Where Maia Gets the Answers
While our complete roadmap leads us to machine learning and artificial intelligence, our current system is focused on algorithms built in PHP with MySQL data storage. Obviously, algorithms need data to pull from- here are our sources.
Industry and Business Type Data
First, we’ve pre-defined some industry “best practices” when it comes to which platform to use, what types of content to post, and how often to post. I should mention that I mostly hate the concept of “best practices” because they often result in the rote execution of activities which leads to slightly better than average results if you’re lucky. Nevertheless, as this is just a small part of the equation, it serves an adequate purpose.
These best practices are defined by business type (B2B, B2C, etc.) and industry (medical, education, retail, e-commerce, etc.). These are defined by our in-house marketers and adjusted regularly as needed.
When you sign up with us, Maia downloads all your company’s social data from Facebook (and soon Twitter and others). We process this data to determine what’s worked for you in the past and what hasn’t. This is an important metric for us and in fact, if you don’t have a facebook page for your business, it will make it difficult for our system to provide accurate recommendations.
Your Competitor Data
Best practices and your own data may not reveal new tactics that are driving results for your competitors.
The next this we do when onboarding a new customer is to define their competitors and download their social media data as well. Just like with your social data, we analyze data that includes post frequency, day, time, and engagement levels. Soon we will also include natural language processing to determine post intent and type.
Looking at competitor metrics is valuable because best practices and your own data may not reveal new tactics that are driving results for your competitors and that you may want to try in your own strategy.
After the first full 2 week cycle that you’ve used Maia, we begin to factor your previous cycle’s performance into your new schedule. If you stayed on track and posted according to our schedule, analyzing how that schedule performed gives us valuable insight and lets Maia generate a more successful strategy moving forward.
The Project Maia Algorithms
Once we have all the data saved in our database, the processing and algorithmic calculations start to happen. The end result is a two-week calendar that tells you where to post, when to post, and what type of content to post.
Those algorithms in detail are:
Just kidding. That’s the Kalman filter. Our algorithms are obviously something completely different. We can’t give everything away…
But rest assured, they are always being tested and are becoming more and more effective each month, so ultimately, you will get a calendar that provides a structure which that should perform better than your typical guessing at when, where, and what to post.
If you’re interested in trying out the system while it’s still available for free, visit https://projectmaia.com/
We’d love to hear your feedback!