Social media makes it easy for us to obsess about numbers. How many posts should I put out? How many retweets, likes and follows did I get this week? How many mentions?
And, of course, how many people did my posts reach?
Time for a bit of R & R – Reach vs Relevance
Reach is a tease. It is tempting and addictive. It is always the biggest number, the one with the most potential to make you feel good about yourself. But it’s also one of the least relevant metrics against which to measure yourself.
Let’s get the disclaimer in now: we’re not saying reach isn’t important. Obviously you need to reach people with your message, your products, and your services, and having a large reach will nearly always be better than not. But it’s far from the be-all that people might believe. After all, you could reach thousands – millions – of people but if only a handful of them care about what you have to say then it’s probable you’re not making the most of your marketing budget.
Instead, the ‘R’ you should be concerned with is Relevance.
Essentially, what you share on social media must resonate with whom you are sharing it. To do this, you not only need to generate engaging content – a topic for another day! – you also need to generate engaging content that works for the channel on which you’re posting.
Know thy audience
Social media is simple – it’s about sharing news, thoughts, and experiences on the internet. But every platform has its own purposes and rules, meaning each one exists for small but crucially different reasons. Understanding these rules will help you tailor your content accordingly and engage more effectively with your viewers.
- Facebook – be informative, be informal
With over 2 billion active monthly users, Facebook is the king and queen of social media. For many people, it is the internet, and your content needs to reflect this by being informative as well as accessible. After all, everyone from super-successful CEOs to your best friend’s grandma is using it.
- Instagram – be inspirational, be youthful
Instagram is social media’s version of a photoshoot, where users go to be inspired by others and to portray the most aspirational side of themselves. Ensure your Instagram feed is an eye-catching visual representation of your brand values, and consider a young market when posting – 90% of Instagram users are under 35.
- Twitter – be quick, be ready
Twitter is all about the here and now, so when there’s something trending that’s relevant to your brand then get on it and get on it quickly. According to moz.com’s article (here) half of a tweet’s retweets occur in the first 18 minutes of it being posted. And, of course, be concise – Twitter’s character count may have recently doubled to 280, but brevity is always best!
- LinkedIn – be professional, be a thought leader
LinkedIn stands out from the social media crowd as it’s designed solely for business and professionals, so make sure your content is industry-related and relevant in the B2B arena. It’s a great place to showcase your business’ capabilities, to publish opinion pieces and to forge a reputation as an industry thought leader.
- Snapchat – be fun, be real
The most irreverent of social media platforms, Snapchat is a place where users aren’t looking for that perfect Instagram-style shot. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, so ensure your content is tailored with that in mind.
However, Snapchat’s disposable nature means what you post won’t hang around and its impact will be difficult to measure. As such, use it only in addition to other platforms – think nice-to-have rather than need-to-have.
To be relevant – as in, gaining likes, follows, feedback, subscriptions and sales; not just reaching people – you must decide for which platform your content will be most suitable and tailor it accordingly.
Traditional messaging, whether that’s on television, magazines or YouTube, often interrupts its viewer, acting as an often-annoying break between the content people want to consume. This secures you the reach, but it’s largely a scattergun approach that misses more than it hits.
These days, there are an increasing number of ways to target your message to those you feel will – or can be persuaded to – have an interest in what you do. For instance, Facebook allows you to target certain sections of your follower base depending on certain criteria (location, age, sex etc.), allowing you to tweak your messaging accordingly. (Interestingly, this technique is now being utilised in the political arena.) And, increasingly, brands are calling upon industry influencers to promote their offering.
Under the influence
One of the most successful ways of creating a relevant social media strategy is through influencer marketing. This involves inviting those with a significant online following to promote brands to their social audience. The aim is to make brands feel like a natural discovery to consumers, as they see people whom they admire – and aspire to be like – championing their products and services.
Engaging in this organic and targeted way makes brands a natural and seamless extension of people’s online experience. And when marketed through the proper social channels, they can target their message to an interested audience rather than interrupting thousands of uninvested people, providing a better marketing ROI whilst annoying fewer people in the process!
So remember, when it comes to your social media strategy understand that reach isn’t everything. Be aware of which social media platforms are right for you and the kind of content you’re producing, and explore ways of approaching audiences who are predisposed to what you have to offer.
Because whilst being social is great, being socially relevant is greater still.
To strengthen your social media knowledge and strategy, have you thought about social media training.