Despite no shortage of negative press, social media continues to evolve and become more popular. The number of people using social media went up by 13% in 2018, so it seems unlikely we’ll see a plateau any time soon.
If you work in social media (or strive to do so), there’s plenty you can do to continually to develop your skills and refine your online presences. This can be involve improving the way you communicate with customers, enhancing the consistency of your brand(s), or working to improve your targeting. But sometimes, it’s equally important to go back to basics – doing things like looking at your day-to-day workflow, and checking you’re making use of all the data available to you.
That’s what this article is all about. Sometimes it’s easy to get buried in new features and new ideas, and forget that it may be possible to improve on the simple things. With that in mind, here are three things to think about:
- Consider automation
Automation is a rather controversial topic in the world of social media. Twitter, for example, often pushes back against solutions that allow things like posting identical content using multiple accounts.
In one respect, this is no bad thing; When you’re trying to build a presence for a brand, especially on Twitter or Instagram, it’s frustrating to deal with the constant churn of accounts that are clearly just using a follow / unfollow strategy to try to boost their numbers.
However, it’s undeniable that managing social media does involve a lot of repetitive tasks, and that automation can help with this. It’s not “cheating the system” to use something like Buffer to schedule posts in advance. Even more controversial social media automation tools like CrowdFire are useful and effective if used responsibly. This means refraining from just blindly following other accounts and instead making use of their features to identify suitable people to follow.
While the social networks themselves may dislike automation tools, they are a great help to people who manage social media for a living. It’s well worth learning which tools help, as they can save a vast amount of time.
- Monitor your competitors
Often, you can obtain great clues to help with your campaign strategies by “reverse engineering” what competitors are doing. However, it’s not always that easy to see it.
There are a couple of tricks that you can employ here. First off is making a habit of using a private or “incognito” window when browsing the web for this purpose. If you don’t, everything from search results to social ads is going to be tailored to you specifically.
While a private window gives you more of an idea of what a random person may see, you can take in one step further by investing in a VPN solution, and setting up a few dummy social media accounts.
VPNs are used for all kinds of purposes; Some people like to hide the fact they’re torrenting files, or use them to access overseas TV services. In the case of social media, they’re incredibly useful for changing your apparent location.
For example, with the use of a dummy Facebook account, you can appear to be a right-wing horse riding enthusiast, logging on from the USA, even if you’re a left-wing chess player who’s actually sitting at a laptop in France! This is awfully useful if you want to see how your competitors are targeting potential customers.
- Use your analytics!
All of the social networks (and the automation tools) provide rich analytical data to see the success of every post, every update and every advert.
It’s easy to lose sight of this, especially as the amount of data on offer is often rather mind-boggling. However, this is some of the most valuable information you have access to to enhance your social media work. A quick glance will tell you what types of posts result in engagement, and which are just a waste of time. Often, it’s far better to look at what’s worked and repeat it, rather than blindly trying more and more things – yet that’s so often what people do.
There’s an awful lot to successfully running social media accounts – but try not to get carried away with every shiny new feature – get these basics down first.