Going Viral Isn’t Everything: Setting Reasonable Expectations for Your Social Media Campaign
By Andrew Poulsen, PR Technician
While companies big and small have utilized social media to engage with customers for a decade, it wasn’t until maybe five or six years ago that we saw a paradigm shift in how brands used their voices online. Instead of using social media as just another way to talk to the consumer, many chain restaurants, sports teams, and other national brands now choose to talk with the customer by using Twitter, Instagram and Facebook the same way we do. They do this by sharing the latest meme, riffing on a recent news headline or crafting a snarky reply to an overly hostile internet troll. By choosing to be funny and relatable online, brands that were once considered drab and unexciting (i.e. Denny’s, Wendy’s, Moon Pie, etc.), are going viral with their daily posts and have amassed millions of followers, countless news headlines and the attention of that highly coveted 18-24 demographic.
But is social media really just a free publicity gold rush that turns any company that puts up a few cat photos and clever hashtags into an overnight viral sensation? Well, not exactly. For newer companies trying to break into social media, immediately measuring your success against huge, established brands isn’t going to do you any good. If you’re a manufacturer of linear actuators or ball bearings trying to capture the hearts and minds of millennials, do you really think you can compete with the Baconator or a Grand Slam breakfast special?
Like any other marketing tactic, the ingredients for a successful social media campaign involve patience, research and setting realistic goals for your company. In order to prevent you from becoming discouraged in your social media efforts, here are just a few things to consider.
Do Your Homework
When creating a social media strategy, instead of obsessing over your competitors’ numbers in terms of followers, focus on their content. What are the types of posts that bring in the most engagement from their audience? How can you adapt those styles of posts to what you do? How can you do a better job of making that kind of content? While racking up “likes” may seem like the end goal, engagement is where companies really start to see results. An audience of 100 people who constantly share, comment and interact with your posts will mean much more to your overall reach and bottom line than 1,000 people who just like your page and never engage with your content. And fortunately, there are a ton of great social media analytic tools that can help you find the people that are most likely to be interested in the content you put out there. With free tools such as Facebook Business, you can see which posts are getting the most interaction and adjust your strategy to create more of that type of content. (more…)