There’s nothing worse than writing funny, engaging social media content that falls short of its mark when you post it. Seriously, think about it. At some point, we’ve all had that “OK. This is funny. There’s no way this cannot go viral” moment, only to end up with zero likes, comments, retweets, favorites and shares. And although this can torpedo our confidence, nine times of out of 10, it’s not because we’re writing dull, dreadful content, but because we’re an hour too early or late from when our audience spends their time online. High engagement rates aren’t about 140-characters of funny content, they’re about hashtags, strategy and, most importantly — analytics.
- Don’t be afraid
To be honest, numbers scare me. In fact, the data-driven shivers that flooded my confidence during my sophomore year at Wayne State is why I chickened out of the civil engineering program and became a public relations major. As social media evolves, so does the strategy and logistics behind it. And because of this, it’s important for metric-frightened PR pros, marketing gurus, ad execs and interns to embrace the power of numbers. Believe it or not, no brand has the same audience (even if it’s the same product/service). And truthfully, scrolling through Google searches and relying on bad blog information to find out the best time to post isn’t a substitute for sifting through your own analytics. In fact, as much as we’ve been told otherwise — there is no universal “best time to post.” If you want to know the best time to post content, take a peek at your own analytics.
- Go where your audience goes
Writing good content is easy. Getting that content to your audience is tough. Luckily for us, in addition to pinpointing your best performing content, wording, hashtags and topics, your analytics will tell you exactly when to click the post button. There are millions of brands out there. And millions of brands mean millions of companies waiting to potentially lure in your audience. Social media marketing is about building and maintaining great relationships. And you cannot build and maintain good relationships without being there when your audience needs you the most. Prove to your audience that you’re worthy of their time. When your followers check their social media feeds and you’re nowhere to be found, you’re doing something wrong.
- Follow the trends, but not really
Whenever you engage in popular social media conversations, always remember there are thousands of users sending out the same content. If you’re using a trending hashtag without planning and a clearly defined message, your content will get lost and pushed into the dungeons of cyber space. Make your posts stand out. Using a hashtag in your post doesn’t guarantee a read, or engagement — but using a hashtag in your post when your audience is online does. The internet is crowded. Everything you post won’t be read. Without a good understanding of your analytics, even the most humorous, clever and viral-worthy social media post won’t get read. In order to be effective, try adding to the trend, don’t follow it. In your post, include photos, topics, mentions and hashtags that aren’t trending. That way, even if your content is drowned out by other users, you’ll still find your brand on feeds that aren’t receiving 100 tweets a minute, while still remaining relevant in the conversation of what’s trending.
– Damon Mitchell, SMZ Social Media Intern