As a social media professional, I’m constantly having to adjust my clients’ social media strategies based on new trends and algorithm changes. This is arguably the most valuable way to grow your audience and increase engagement on your posts. I’ve seen it and experienced it firsthand: the brands that fully embrace these changes on social media experience growth at an exponential rate compared to brands that stick with their outdated social media strategy.
The rise of short-form video on social media
During the height of the pandemic, TikTok grew immensely in popularity. All other social media platforms were forced to catch up and began offering their versions of short-form video content similar to the format of TikTok to do so. A recent report from HypeAuditor shows that Reels generate the most reach on Instagram, beating out both static image and carousel posts. Instagram, specifically, is working to keep up with its top competitor, TikTok, so it’s no surprise its algorithm pushes Reels out to mass audiences more than other post formats.
As all social media platforms have moved in the direction of short-form video content, posting videos on social media has quickly become a top priority in the social media strategies we create for our clients.
How do social media algorithms work?
Gone are the days of your social media feeds appearing in chronological order. Simply put, social media algorithms work to show you content they think you will be most interested in based on how you’ve interacted with content on your feed. All social media platforms have one objective in mind: keep users on the platform for as long as possible. When the algorithm picks up on a piece of content that is accomplishing this objective, it will continue to put it in front of even more users.
Understanding how the algorithms work and keeping up with new algorithm updates is the name of the game when it comes to any content strategy. While we tailor our plans for each client to reach their specific goals and needs, we always keep algorithms at the forefront of our strategies.
Investing in your content plan
It is vital to frequently produce new, quality content to support your social media strategy. In order to gain large numbers of Impressions on your content and grow your audience, you need to be publishing posts at least two to three times per week, and ideally three to five times per week (depending on the industry). Unfortunately, you can no longer get away with posting a single image. You simply won’t see the growth you’re aiming for because these types of posts no longer gain a substantial amount of traction.
Since we work with clients with a variety of content budgets, we’ve gotten creative with the ways in which we source content. I’m fortunate enough to have an awesome team in-house that is creative and highly talented. We’ve put together numerous shoots for local clients and clients with a product that can be shipped directly to us. This is our ideal method of producing content because it gives us full creative control over the content we publish and saves our clients money. Another way we’ve been able to meet the challenge of producing regular content is by partnering with a client to help them hire a content intern. We were even able to get some press from the job listing!
How to stay on top of trends
As a social media manager, much of my job consists of identifying current social media trends and making sure our clients are taking advantage of them. How we do this is pretty simple, and I’ve listed some resources below to help if you’ve not yet made the switch to a social media management agency. I also scroll through Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Reddit more than I’d like to admit.
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Ready to get started with your customized social media strategy? When we work together, your brand does more than show up. It shows up with a story, a purpose, a unique reason for being – and it makes an impact. At Segal Communications, we become an extension of your team – we work fast to become brand experts and make sure we’re keeping your company relevant on social media.
While social media used to be considered merely a supporting communication channel, it’s now much more. For millions of potential customers, it’s how they find, engage, and become loyal to brands. Despite this, we regularly come across founders and owners who either don’t think social media is important for their business, have someone on their team posting in addition to their regular job, or are doing the posting themselves, albeit infrequently.
Here are five signs it’s time to invest in social media support.
Responsibility for managing your brand’s anemic channels is being passed around like a hot potato.
Creating social media posts is constantly being pushed off because of other responsibilities that take priority. You have good intentions to make social a priority because you know it’s important, but you just don’t have the bandwidth to keep up.
You’re feeling lost at sea.
The world of social media and social media marketing is vast – growing channels requires a well-thought-out strategy and the ability to adapt to new features and trends across platforms. It may seem daunting to attempt to do it all on your own. That’s where your agency will come in. An agency will craft a detailed social media strategy for your brand, figure out where your audience is strongest, and monitor performance to make sure the strategy is going according to plan.
Your social media strategy isn’t based on insights and analytics.
Odds are you’re not a data analyst, and deciphering what each KPI (key performance indicator) means has been a challenge. And what are you supposed to do with the information? Your social media manager will know how to best use these insights and analytics to drive a well-thought-out strategy for your content moving forward. On an ongoing basis, they’ll make sure you’re meeting the goals you established by monitoring your channel’s data and adapting to trends.
You’re experiencing a creative block.
Continually pushing out valuable, engaging content is no easy stint. Social media managers have a keen eye for making an aesthetic Instagram grid or strong marketing graphics. They also have the resources and a reliable network of creatives to tap into when the demand for content is extremely high.
You’re not keeping up with the Joneses.
Let’s face it, social media is an ever-changing landscape. If you already have a full plate, odds are you don’t have the time to keep up with trends across social media. An agency will always be on top of trends and know when it’s time to participate and when adding another post to ‘National Sandwich Day’ is just adding to the noise rather than value.
Your audience on social media is arguably the most important and valuable asset to your business. If you don’t have the bandwidth to engage daily with your community, you’re losing out on potential sales and building upon your brand loyalists.
Ready to get started with your customized social media program? When we work together, your brand does more than show up. It shows up with a story, a purpose, a unique reason for being – and it makes an impact. At Segal Communications, we become an extension of your team – we work fast to become brand experts and make sure we’re keeping your company relevant on social media.
To craft a successful social media strategy, you will first need to determine your target audience and goals. Once you have established these elements, you will need to select the right platforms, most impactful imagery, and select hashtags that will amplify your campaign to your target audiences. Before starting any campaign, we recommend identifying each element clearly before getting started so that it’s easier to show progress, identify issues, and make changes along the way.
Continue reading to download our free Social Media Strategy Checklist!
Identify your personal goals as a social media manager, the client goals, and agency goals. Your personal goals should be simple and easy to earn – but they are essential nonetheless as you should constantly challenge yourself. The client goals are generally straightforward as well. Are they selling a product, providing a service, or looking to drive brand awareness? This will determine what kind of content you provide to your audience. As for your agency goals, this generally has to do with agency reporting for the client. What did the agency offer the client in terms of deliverables for the campaign, and how do you plan to report on meeting those agency goals?
An excellent social strategy needs its content to be appealing to the desired target audience. While you think it might, your intuition may not always be enough. Do your homework, look at successful content of the past and content that gets high engagement. The quality of the content you post and its alignment with your audience’s interests is more important than how frequently you post.
Your viewer determines the imagery, tone, and subject matter of your content. You will likely have more than one target market, and you may find the demographic that you initially expected is not the one you have. This could require some experimentation, tweaking, and even starting from scratch.
Identify your content pillars once you have identified your target audience. These are the categories of content you will share with your audience, and they will guide your presence across all media platforms. You can start with general categories such as blogs, company news, and graphics. Then, create more specific categories from these buckets of content. For example, if you create graphics using customer testimonials and graphics with inspirational quotes, these are subcategories of your larger content type.
Additionally, don’t forget to make use of amazing user-generated content that consumers are posting. Posting user-generated content is a great way to acknowledge and engage with your audience, and it does some of the work for you in creating relevant content.
Besides reposting follower content, a great way to increase engagement is giveaways and promotions. Encourage users to post images and tag your brand for a chance to win a product, a voucher, an experience, or branded merchandise. This increases brand visibility and is a fun way for your audience to participate.
Selecting the right platforms will depend on the brand you’re working with, their needs, and their target audience. You’ll need to research your target audience to see what platform they spend most of their time on, for starters.
Currently, Pinterest dominates Gen X women with more than 400 million users; 78% are women 30-50 years old (Sprout Social, 2021). By the end of 2021, TikTok’s Gen Z user base is expected to top Instagram’s (eMarketer, 2021). These types of statistics will help you find where your target audience spends a majority of their time and better determine where you should spend your time placing content.
If you have the bandwidth to produce quality content, it is generally beneficial to engage on as many social platforms as your target audience is active. Even if the platform you’re initially gaining the most engagement on isn’t your top target, it may surprise you what leads to conversions. As for cadence, it is beneficial to post at least once a week, if not more.
The tone of your brand copy, or “voice,” is one of the main ways in which you define your relationship with your audience. Identify three to five adjectives that you want to convey in your brand voice. For example, a set of words that may describe your desired brand voice is “professional, confident, reliable.”
When you are addressing multiple audiences for different reasons, your brand voice can change based on the purpose of your communication. For example, you may sound more formal when addressing other experts in your field but more casual when addressing direct consumers.
Keep it clean. Clean design is key to user engagement and loyalty. While some people may love digging for that hidden treasure in the racks of some discount store – Target has become a household name for its clear message, clean design, and excellent branding. Most users respond to consistency and clean, visible graphics – text should be easy to read, the imagery should make sense, and the message should be clear. Developing design templates will help your audience feel more comfortable, familiar with the brand, and know what to expect.
Consumer-facing brands will likely require a significant amount of lead-time preparation to build visual content. That said, relevant and high-quality images can significantly impact other types of organizations as well. Strong images can communicate professionalism, expertise, and a bevy of other attributes and can help position brands as they would like in their field.
A consumer brand may constantly update its social team on new products or innovative ways to show its brand. A B2B company may use stock images that reflect the people and operations they serve.
To stay visible, make sure you use hashtags, but choose them carefully as too much repetition can inadvertently harm visibility. Invest a few hours each week researching the latest hashtag trends. Don’t spam non-target audiences as this will decrease brand credibility and can be annoying to viewers that search for unrelated content. Constantly check for trends in the industry by looking at competitors and similar brands. Trending hashtags change monthly and weekly, so be on the lookout.
Call to Action
This is going to look different for every brand. Defining a clear call to action in every post reminds audiences that we want them to do something. It could be “shop now,” “learn more,” or “visit us in-store.” Calls to action will change depending on the purpose of the post. A call to action can also be a question or a survey that engages with an audience to discover what interests the followers. Don’t shy away from a poll – and sometimes, the more simple, the better.
Planning & Insights
A planning tool must be used to manage a brand’s social channels properly. Ideally, you should plan out content at least a few weeks in advance to allow for unexpected news or changes. Many platforms offer a collaborative process, which can be very useful, especially if there are many people on the team that need to approve content.
Insights within each social platform provide a better view of your audience. On Instagram, you can view data directly from your user base to find out when your unique followers are online, as well as their demographics – so you know what to post as well as when. Keeping track of performance is essential to understanding which types of content work best. For example, a higher engagement rate on infographic posts could direct your future efforts.
Sprout Social, Later, Hootsuite, and Loomly are all excellent tools for managing and analyzing data from your social media efforts. Several of these services offer free planning, with limitations for new, small businesses. With more advanced packages, you can access larger-scale comparative insights, such as data on a competitor’s content.
At Segal Communications, we know that a successful presence on social media requires a few things: consistency, dedication, and creativity. Although it will not be accomplished overnight, following these guidelines will help you make progress as quickly as possible while reaching your target audience. Remember, social media is not a mathematical equation with one correct answer – it is a recipe that needs to be constantly remastered.
Download our free Social Media Strategy Checklist!