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Gavin Hirst - Tuesday 21st January 2020


5 of our favourite Social Media tips for 2020

If you manage social media profiles for your own company, or you work for an agency managing social media profiles for a client, you know how tricky it can be to maintain your mojo when it comes to creating and delivering engaging content on a daily basis.

Depending on the niche you work in, coming up with creative ideas to engage your audience can be one of the most challenging and time-consuming tasks you undertake.

Your audience on social media is demanding. They want to be entertained and if your content doesn’t grab their attention, it’s a quick flick of the finger and your post is history. Creating content plans for entertaining or educating content can be a struggle. With clients in sectors like dentistry and shipping containers, we know how hard it can be to come up with new ideas.

Thankfully over time, we have refined our strategies and tuned ourselves into our audiences. This is the key for us. Understanding what works and what doesn’t for specific audiences and then finding a way to repeat the successes and eliminate the failures.

A strategy is important if you want to achieve long term success. Flying by the seat of your pants, creating and scheduling content on a daily basis can only work for so long before you run out of ideas. The key is to devise a strategy and stick to it.

So, how do you make sure you devise a strategy that works as we move into a new decade? Here are some of our favourite social media tips for 2020:

1.      Use hashtags to grow your fan base

Whilst hashtags have been around for many years, we still see a lot of examples of brands not using them in the most strategic way in order to grow their fan base.

Whilst you can (and many people do) use up to 30 hashtags in a post, we have found the sweet spot to be closer to 5-12 hashtags per post.

Your brand should not try to be everything to everyone. Focus on using hashtags that truly reflect your brand and the individual post you are publishing.

We always include at least 3-4 brand-specific hashtags as well. Building up content using a hashtag gives you your own dedicated ‘feed’ on Instagram that you can then curate to find posts that are relevant to your brand. Whilst you will find a lot of your own content on that particular hashtag, you will also find some nuggets which you can then repost or repurpose through other channels.

Brand discovery through hashtags is one of our most successful ways of growing fan following and needs to be done in a strategic way. Sit down and map out the hashtags you want to use across all social media platforms and try and use them consistently whilst bringing individuality to each of the posts you publish.

2.      Post when you’re online to improve brand engagement

This tactic is not always possible and will depend heavily on the way you work and also your client and their target audience, however, posting content at times when you are physically online can really help to improve brand engagement.

Whilst it’s often easier to use a social media scheduling tool such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social to plan out your posts on a weekly or even monthly basis, scheduling posts for a time when you are online (as well as your audience) should give you a better chance of improving your engagement.

The problem with this? Most of the time, your audience will be online in the evening once they have loaded the dishwasher and they are settling down to binge-watch something on Netflix which is exactly what you are likely to be doing too!

The benefits? Responding straight away to comments or DMs relating to your posts will really resonate with your target audience and make them much more likely to ‘buy-in’ to your brand and engage in the future. So many brands operate a ‘set and forget’ mentality to their social media posting and this will often lead to a lack of engagement and a drop off in followers.

Try responding to comments as the post is published and track the engagement rates – you will be surprised at the difference it makes.

3.      Focus on comments over likes

Here in New Zealand, Instagram removed the ‘like’ count from posts midway through 2019. At first, it came as a bit of a shock. To no longer see something that had been prominent on the platform since its launch was weird. It was also strange for some of the brands we manage. So often, social media campaigns are judged by the number of ‘likes’, especially in the C-Suite and to no longer have quick and easy access to that metric was tough for some clients.

We actually embraced the changes. Those ‘like’ metrics are still there if you do a bit of digging. Platforms like Hootsuite still display the numbers on the front-facing dashboard and a simple click on the ‘others’ in ‘Liked b ‘x’ and others’ will provide you with the numbers.

The truth is that ‘likes’ is such a shallow metric. Whilst it appeals to our ego to report that a post had a million likes, it doesn’t really tell us much about why someone liked a post. Was it a genuine like? Was it a bot? Was it someone bookmarking the post for later? Was it an accidental double tap? You’ll never know.

We have been focussing more on comments than likes since way before the removal of the likes count and will continue to do so as we move forward. Comments tell you much more about how somebody engages with a piece of content. You get genuine feedback (good or bad) from your target audience and you get the opportunity to respond.

You can also curate comments and do something with them. We often use ‘comment’ as a CTA to drive other content ideas, both on social platforms but also through the blogs that we manage.

4.      Post more video content and embrace live video

This is not a revolutionary piece of information for 2020, however, video content rocks.

For a long time now, we have encouraged clients to invest in quality video production, specifically for social. We are living in an era where people literally cannot consume enough content during their day. Whilst long-form blogs are great and social media posts provide some great snippets, people love to be entertained and what better way to entertain than the ‘small screen’.

This pocket device can literally deliver some of the most entertaining content you will ever see, right there, to millions of people.

We have found that for at least the last 10 years, video content has been one of the most engaging forms of social content and over the past 2-3 years, this has exploded.

One big change that has happened with video content over the past 18 months is the length. Previously, everything had to be less than 30s. Then it was less than 1m. Now, it seems the longer the better. As long as you are creating content that can hold the attention, video content on social media seems to be getting longer and longer. The introduction of IGTV on Instagram was a game-changer on that platform and brands that are embracing video are reaping the rewards.

Live video is also a great way for brands to engage with their audience. It does, however, need to take a polished approach. Make sure you have everything set up before you start: lighting, scripting, sound etc are all crucial if you want to grab and keep the attention of your audience. Live videos are great for brand announcements, behind the scenes tours and product information videos. Giving your audience the opportunity to interact as you broadcast is a great way of curating feedback directly and responding. If they are not already, make live videos part of your social media strategy in 2020.

5.      Use Facebook Ads to boost your top-performing content

Again, this is not something new for 2020 specifically but something that you should be doing if you want to maximise the reach and engagement of the content you are investing in.

We still see so many brands who think that just because they publish a piece of content on their social platforms, that people will find it. Sadly, this is not the world we live in. Platforms like Facebook have made it increasingly difficult for brands to reach their audience organically, conveniently pushing them towards their paid platform.

When it’s easy to be cynical about that strategy, there can be no denying that if you want to maximise the reach and engagement of your content, a paid strategy should be part of your overall social media strategy.

One thing we have had great success with in 2019 and would encourage everyone to try in 2020 is A/B split testing your Facebook ads directly in Facebook Business Manager. This is a great feature (and little known) that allows you to test combinations of headings, copy and CTAs to find out which work the best. We have found it best not to include too many variables in your testing as it’s difficult to really understand what works and what doesn’t. Try minor changes to headings, body copy or CTAs and find out which works the best. Then push your budget at the winning combo.

Round-Up

Hopefully, this provides you with some ideas for your social media strategy for 2020 – let us know in the comments if you are doing anything exciting with your social media campaigns this year.

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