Social media is a very saturated world
The statistics are staggering. Facebook usage has a 17% increase year on year (with 1.13 billion people logging on on a daily basis), Instagram has over 500 million monthly users, there are roughly 10 billion Snapchat video views every day and every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are sent out. At this time of writing, over 240 million tweets have been sent out already – and I’ve not even finished my coffee yet.
It’s exhausting, and pretty overwhelming at times. So how can you create content that people really notice? How can you cut through the (very loud) noise? We reached out to a range of social media experts to share their thoughts – and didn’t even limit them to 140 characters.
Rachael Samuels – Social Media Specialist for Sprout Social and Bambu, @SproutSocial, @BambuBySprout, @RachaelSamuels
“One of our core values on the social team at Sprout is being fearless. We aren’t afraid to try new things, experiment and adapt. If something isn’t resonating with our audience, we scratch it. We try to vary the format and tone of our posts to keep our content interesting for our audience.
Another way we add a little pzazz on social is – keeping engagement fun. If we can say something better by using an emoji, picture or GIF, we will. It can be hard to convey emotion on social and sometimes, a GIF of Liz Lemon doing a happy dance just says it all!”
Josh Turner, founder of Stand4Socks, @Stand4Socks, @2JTurner
“We aim to put bold, ‘out there’ statements and questions – for example ‘what if socks could change the world?’ It normally prompts a laugh as it’s such a dull product, but also generates great interest and conversation.
Posts have to be engaging and you have to adapt your message to what platform and time of day it is, too, as this typically varies. For instance, Instagram tends to target a younger female demographic whereas Facebook typically goes for a broader range… you can’t treat each platform the same!”
“Personally, it’s all about using humour (and sarcasm, sometimes!) to engage, challenge and stimulate debate.” – Paola Bassanese, Social Media Consultant, @paolaenergya
Lukasz Zelezny, keynote speaker and Head of Organic at uSwitch, @LukaszZelezny
“Spend 20% of your time writing and 80% promoting! Automate as much as you can, and find the right people to target with tools such as Commun.it. Then, analyse your performance – repeat, and optimize what works well.”
Donna Herron, Social Media Manager at Extreme Creations, @ectweet, @herronbirds
“Create a content calendar – but don’t stick to it. Wait for it – put those pitchforks down. What I mean is, don’t be afraid to try something new or ditch something that isn’t working. Whilst a content calendar can give your social media strategy some much needed structure, it needn’t be set in stone. Then…
Analyse, analyse, analyse. Creating content, community management and planning paid campaigns are all very intensive, which can leave you lacking that allusive ‘free time’ to take stock. Tools can help – a lot. I’m a big fan of Rival IQ for analysing competitor activity, Facebook Audience Insights to review audience interests and behaviours, and social listening tools to monitor and really dig into the conversations around our campaigns or key topics. Combined, this data helps to inform our clients’ social media strategies and removes the guesswork, too!”
55% of social media users reveal they’ve watched branded video ads on social media – Wyzowl, 2016
Pippa Akram, Freelance Social Media Consultant at Social Pip, @social_pip
“Your audience are the key. You need to know your audience and what content they respond to – even if this means it is different from the content you’re wanting to post. If you love it and your audience don’t then there’s only one party missing out here: you.
Focus on developing your audience into a community; an engaged social media community is fundamental to online success so much more so than keeping up with current content trends and using flashy tools which promise shiny new followers. In a nutshell, ask not what your audience can do for you, but what you can do for your audience.”
Dane Cobain – Social Media Specialist, @danecobain
“It’s all about getting the right message in front of the right people in the right place at the right time. When we talk about the message, we’re talking about the business’ proposition, but it must also be tailored to the who you’re talking to and where you’re talking to them.
Social media is all about content, and all that content needs is a little spark (whether from an advertising boost, a clever piece of creative or by working with a relevant influencer). As marketers, all we can do is create killer content and light that spark – it might fizzle out or it might shoot off like a rocket, but that part of it is out of our hands. That’s why social media managers are also often called community managers – it’s the community that decides whether the content is relevant, and not the marketers.”
“There’s no point trying to find your audience if you don’t interact with them when they respond to your content.” – Elaine Burns, Wear Eponymous
Elaine Burns, Creative Director and Co-Founder at Wear Eponymous, @WearEponymous
We’ve gained our following through being fun, not hard-selling products and answering questions. There’s no point trying to find your audience if you don’t interact with them when they respond to your content.”
So there you have it…
Finding that social media spark takes hard work, experimentation and plenty of creativity. There’s no set formula or guide to generating engagement and gathering a loyal following. With such an overcrowded market, getting your voice heard through the other noise around you can be incredibly tough. The key seems to be persistence and a genuine enthusiasm for the channels you are using as a marketer. If you sit down at your keyboard with a sigh and wearily stomp out a tweet, who’s going to want to read that? It’s clear from the above conversations with our experts that everyone has a true passion for social media, and, like the team here at Extreme Creations, is more excited than a wide-eyed child on Bonfire Night about finding that special content spark.