Ask A Marketer: The Social Media Edition
February 12, 2018 | Kara Widdison
In January, SnapApp teamed up with Sprout Social for its first edition of Ask A Marketer, a new webinar series dedicated to answering the hard-hitting questions marketers face when it comes to, well…marketing.
The best part of this webinar was that the audience shaped the entire conversation with questions we received during registration. You can watch the webinar on-demand here.
In fact, we got so many questions, we couldn’t answer them all during the webinar! Read below to see the rest of the questions answered by Michael Patterson, Demand Generation Specialist at Sprout Social, and Kirsten Lyons, PR and Marketing Specialist at SnapApp.
Mark C: Is it worth following or knowing what your competitors are doing on social media?
MP: You can get an in-depth look at what your competitors are up to if you conduct a social media competitive analysis. Identify your competitors and the platforms you both use. Find out how many followers they have, how often they post, and what they post about. Check out their website too to get a better grasp on their content marketing too. Follow this 5-step plan from Sprout to conduct your competitive analysis.
Jim A: How do I balance social media selling posts vs. other posts?
KL: So the typical wisdom or standard best practice is to follow the 80/20 rule for content on social media–meaning 80% of your content should be valuable content for your audience (be it yours or other folks’ content you are curating for your audience), then the other 20% can be more traditional hard sell.
However, it is important to remember that best practices should only be thought of as a starting point for your content strategy. How much direct selling content your audience will tolerate depends on your specific niche and brand identity, which is why we always recommend testing and tweaking your content mix often!
Bryan S: So much attention is spend on B2B marketing strategies. Are there any specific ideas or advice you have for enterprise B2B?
KL: A lot of B2B marketers shy away from really investing time and resources into their social strategy, because its role can be more amorphous and difficult to track specific ROI in the B2B world. However, when you have the right tools and strategies in place before just throwing some posts out into the twitter-verse and hoping for the best, social can be an invaluable tool for B2B companies.
There’s a few steps I would encourage all B2B marketers to take when thinking about their social strategy:
- Get really clear on your social goals, and then design an measurable strategy where you can chart clear growth. The biggest mistake marketers in general, but especially B2B marketers make with their social is not being able to answer the question, “what do we want social to do for us?” When you have a clear and concise answer to that question ROI and success broadly is much easier to track.
- In terms of strategy, don’t shy away from showing some personality! Especially at the enterprise level B2B companies are often afraid to leaning into this unique opportunity to connect with their audience on a relational channel like social.
- Don’t be afraid of trying B2C strategies like influencer marketing or snapchat takeovers–they’re not just for direct customer marketing anymore!
- Sprout also has a great article that can be a great place to start for marketers looking to get more creative on social at the enterprise level.
Kelly: What social media trends are on the horizon for marketers?
MP: Just like incoming social messages need to be answered, so do questions about your content and your company, but that takes up a lot of time for marketers. Enter the chatbots. Chatbots help gather information, guide users through your website, and help answer questions. Facebook Messenger is a great example. There are over 100,000 chatbots in use on Facebook Messenger and have helped organizations increase productivity by 3.5x.
Matt F: I work for a B2B finance company and it is really difficult to have a little fun/show personality in our marketing without losing our branding. Do you have any tips for staying on brand but relating to our audience?
KL: Sometimes the best way start showing some personality on social media where it hasn’t been a part of brand identity previously is to have explicit conversations with stakeholders about what your brand has to gain by leaning into a more conversational tone on social.
Sometimes a good first step into injecting some personality into your social presence in a generally “less fun” vertical is to start with industry humor–can you start making commentary on industry content that sounds like it is coming from a real person? Can you comment on a specific pain point of your audience with a gif instead of another article?
You might also check out some of Sprout’s ideas as a good place to start here.
Stef S: Should I post different content to different platforms?
KL: It is certainly important to continually test what kind of content performs well on individual networks for your specific brand, however I would argue that more important than what content you share on which platform is how you frame it.
This is where the overall ethos of individual networks is important–LinkedIn is usually approached with a more professional tone (think purpose of the platforms here), whereas twitter allows for a more conversational tone and lends itself better to heavy usage of hashtags to help other users find your content. Brands use Facebook a lot of different ways depending on their industry, whether they are B2C or B2B, but generally a safe bet is to land somewhere in the middle of twitter and LinkedIn for your facebook tone/content.
Drew P: What do you find to be the most effective way to film and edit social media videos with a cell phone?
KL: Video, especially well-shot and produced video, can substantially increase your reach and engagement when used effectively on social media.
There are a bunch of great apps that can help you edit video you’ve already captured on your smartphone (Consumer Report has a great list). You can also experiment with looped videos that can bring some levity to your social content, like boomerang, or selecting the “loop” option in settings for live photos taken on iphone.
Cathy: What would I live video? My business doesn’t really offer the chance to do a live video due to client confidentiality. And we don’t have hard product.
MP: Especially with the Facebook algorithm changes we should expect to see a lot of companies experimenting with live video in 2018, as they generally see engagement 3 times higher than produced video.
However, there are many ways you can leverage live video on social media–even if your business doesn’t lend itself particularly well to showcasing your end user engaging with your product, you can use live video to showcase company culture, humanize the folks on your support team, or further thought leadership efforts by having your team members comment on industry trends using live video.
Cathy: How do you get good social media info out there if you have a very small marketing budget?
MP: Focusing a large part of your social strategy on curating valuable content for your audience is a great way to maximize a limited marketing budget on social because it is free! Consistently providing content that your audience can get something out of elevates your brand authority and makes them more likely to come your way for insight in the future.
This means that your marketing budget doesn’t need to be allocated to paid strategies for initial growth–focus on becoming a go-to source for your audience for the industry news and content and then tweak your strategy based on what seems to resonate with your audience.
Anonymous: How do you increase engagement with existing content?
KL: Start by thinking about how you are presenting that content to your audience. Posts featuring visual content perform better across all leading platforms, and the quality of those visuals matter also! Use free graphic design software like canva or crello to create visually appealing images to share with your content.
You could also start by considering where your content is working now, and publish more on that network. Do you notice your blog posts seem to get a few more likes on linkedIn than Twitter? Great! Publish more blog content there and tweak your Twitter strategy to reflect more curated content.
It’s all about trying, tracking, and then trying something else!
David: What are the top social media metrics every company should be tracking?
KL: This question, like so many in the social world, comes back to the question of what sort of role you want social media to play in your broader strategy.
Are you using social primarily as a way to generate awareness? Then impressions and increasing your following would be your best bet, do that by paid promotion of your content, joining twitter chats, etc. Or for example, if you want to work on driving traffic back to your website, you’ll want to track what content you can post that generates the most engagement, sorting for clicks.
Sprout has a great article on where to start with figuring out which of those metrics actually matter for your business.
Adriana: How can I engage my followers on organic posts? When they are boosted there’s of course a lot of engagement but when it’s a regular posts it’s hard to even get a couple of likes.
KL: Some of this is just the nature of the beast–especially with ever-evlolving algorithms that promote and penalize specific types of content at the will of the social media Gods. However, there are a few things you can try here to get started!
- Track what works and do more of that (what kind of content are you seeing that gets a few likes? Double-down on posting that and see if you can scale that engagement you’re starting with)
- Start participating in communities on various networks to reach a wider audience who you know is interested in the content you are posting (experiment with Twitter chats, Facebook groups, and LinkedIn communities that your customers frequent and offer them the content they’re looking for where they already are!)
Renee: How can I efficiently track sales and ROI of my brick and mortar store from our Facebook advertising?
MP: While it might be difficult to track the exact ROI of facebook advertising with actual traffic to your store or sales, it could be helpful to think about your social advertising work as more general interest generation. You can target your Facebook advertising geographically so that you can be sure folks within the area of your brick and mortar store are sure to see your message.
You can read more here about how to think about the value facebook can generate for your business, and how you should be thinking about social ROI generally.
Marie C: My client’s don’t send us enough information about their businesses. It’s hard to work like since we don’t have testimonials, pictures, inventory, or anything like it. Getting engagement is been very tough, we can’t seem to spark conversation. (FYI: it’s a car parts retailer)
MP: When you provide a service that almost everyone needs it can be difficult to get your hands on specific testimonials to drive further interest. But that weakness can also be a strength because you know that most people need to interact with your product!
Consider telling broader stories that help you reach a wider audience by focusing on thought leadership rather than individual customer stories. How can you speak to demystifying the car parts industry for your audience, who are probably not experts in the area.
The other option is to explore content types that naturally spur engagement on social media. Can you put an interactive quiz to work for you that helps folks understand what car part they need or answers common questions?
Jem: How do you master Facebook ads to grow and scale your ecommerce business?
MP: Facebook ads can be used in tons of unique and interesting ways to highlight great content you’ve created, generate high level brand awareness, or drive traffic to your blog. The best way to use Facebook ads depends on your specific social/marketing goals, but starting with this advertising guide will get you moving in the right direction!
Stephanie S: What are the top 3 SEO must-haves checklist?
KL: Social media and SEO have a sort of murky relationship, so drawing clear links between the two for a checklist is more difficult than other marketing activities, but they are certainly connected. The most salient portion of their relationship is the ability of social media to drive additional traffic to your website increasing domain authority, which is vital for SEO. This means that you can impact your SEO by tracking and prioritizing the content you see driving the most clicks back to your website and tracking social referrals broadly.
You can also consider these ideas to boost your the SEO value of your social media content:
- Share your content when engagement will be at its highest during the day
- Make sure you link to your website on all your social platforms
- Use keywords in posts that are relevant to your company and product
- Name image files with our website url
More on how social and SEO work together here.
John W: Facebook recently announced a new policy to prioritize “social” video content above business promo clips in users feeds. What’s your view of that position and what might be its impact?
KL: After Facebook recently announced some major changes to how it will prioritize content, video has been a big point of discussion for marketers, and understandably so!
This is a big point of discussion because static video was so highly prioritized prior to the new “meaningful interaction” centered algorithm updates. However, there has been a pretty clear declaration from facebook on how marketers should proceed to have their content promoted to a wider audience: engagement is king.
Other than pleading with your digital audience to manually set your posts to be viewed first, we just need to figure out what works in this new digital ecosystem.
While we can’t compete with videos shared between family and friends, we can focus on what drives engagement organically. Because live videos on average drive 3x as many interactions as the traditional videos and 5x photo posts, marketers should expect to see much higher returns and reach on live video in this new engagement focused economy.
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