Using Data to Optimize What You Post on Social Media

Content is content is content. Literally speaking, organic posts on social media are the same as paid ads for your brand with extremely limited reach and targeting. So, why not apply the best practices learned from the analysis of billions of dollars spent on ads?

Most organic posts have a Consideration objective.

In a recent video, I discussed the marketing funnel, and how every ad you create on social media starts with an objective, which informs the ad auction which metric to optimize for. There are three phases of the marketing funnel:

  1. Awareness: when someone becomes aware that your brand exists

  2. Consideration: when someone forms an opinion about your brand

  3. Conversion: when someone makes a purchase

It’s safe to assume that the majority of people viewing your social media posts are in the Consideration phase; whether they be existing followers, or new people who searched for/stumbled upon your content because they found it compelling or relevant. Either way, everyone who views your organic content is either forming or honing their opinion of your brand.

Your goal is to maximize the number of (positive) opinions formed.

Ever notice that some posts get a lot more organic reach than others? This is usually because the news feed algorithm has learned that this particular piece of content leads to more opinions, which leads to increased engagement and time spent on the platform, and thus is a loose proxy for user value.

Facebook measures “opinions” using the following metrics:

  • Reactions (lightweight validation)

  • Comments (opinion)

  • Shares (strong opinion or endorsement)

Simply put, your measure of success is increasing your Engagement:Reach ratio.

The best way to influence opinions on social media is to be provocative. For many brands, this advice is terrifying. But being provocative isn’t the same as being controversial. Being provocative simply means inspiring people to take an action, such as commenting or sharing. And here’s an evolutionary secret: people are inspired by...other people!

With this in mind, here are three tips for increasing the organic engagement of your Page posts:

  • Get personal. Communicate your brand’s mission through your own story or that of your partners/employees.

  • Make it personal for others. Share the stories of your followers. This shows that you care about the individuals who follow you, even though you can’t engage with them all.

  • Don’t just seek engagement; ask for it. Include surveys in to your Stories; ask people to include suggestions in the comments; ask people who attend your concert or talk to follow you. The point is, ask.

Measure and adjust.

There is no secret formula for how to optimize engagement, because communities are diverse and online behavior is ever-evolving. Therefore, you should measure engagement much the way you would if you were running sponsored ads.

Facebook’s Business Manager makes this easy. Once you link your brand’s Page to your Business Manager, on your home dashboard you will see a report of your latest Page posts, including the Reach and the number of Clicks/Actions. Use this information to compare your recent posts to identify what’s working and what isn’t. Look for trends; don’t base conclusions off of one underperforming or overperforming post.

 
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If successful, your Clicks/Actions:Reach ratio will increase over time, which means that your Reach is likely to increase, which will in turn increase your number of Clicks/Actions. Thus, the cycle continues!

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Michael Wright is a social media marketing and advertising consultant for brands and businesses. He is the author of a yet-to-be-written bestselling book, maybe. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and LinkedIn for more weekly tips!