There is no such thing as a social media expert.
Yep. I said it.
Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t folks out there who know more than you or I do.
But I am saying that, because social media is always changing, there’s no way to develop expertise!
You may have a knack for what’s viral…
You may have a unique brand voice…
And you may even know the ideal times to post on the channel…
But all of these trends can change tomorrow. That’s why they’re trends!
Why You Should be a Social Media Scientist
While I don’t believe in the idea of a social media expert, I do believe in the idea of a social media scientist.
Like Sesame Street, I define a scientist as someone who observes and then writes down his/her observations.
I want you to do the same thing on social media — not only for your own accounts, but also for the accounts for people/companies whose followings are like yours.
Here are a few things you can observe:
- What social media channel am I getting the most engagement on?
- At what times do I get the most engagement?
- What types of content get the most engagement?
- Who’s another person in my niche that gets a high level engagement on the same channel that I get the most engagement on?
- What types of content does that person post?
You can add to these questions, but the important thing is to observe.
Because marketing, especially marketing on a volatile channel like social media is one big test.
You must be objective about the content and channel so you can determine the best path.
I’m not good at social media. I’m your traditional lurker. I consume content, but I don’t contribute. So I spend time on channels like Twitter.
To get followers on Twitter, you want to post a lot.
That’s why people like news reporters and comedians get big followings on Twitter.
Recently, for instance, I’ve read two lengthy Twitter threads from people I don’t even follow about a fight in a coffee shop and a waiting match over a parking space…
And I enjoyed every second of it.
The reason I like Twitter is the exact reason that I shouldn’t focus my brands effort’s there.
Because I am a random poster — not one who posts on a regular basis — I would do better on a site like Facebook or LinkedIn where singular posts have more permanence.
Think about it:
If you post on Twitter, your post is quickly buried on the timeline of your target customer, especially if you’re just starting out…
Twitter probably won’t highlight your tweet unless there’s engagement on it…
And if you’re hoping for your name to stick out in the litany of the news tidbits and funny threads, you gotta talk often and be engaging.
On Facebook, that’s not the case.
Depending on the algorithm and how your target user’s timeline is curated by them, your post may last for days!
The 10-Step Checklist to Choose which Social Media Channel to Focus On
So, which channel should you focus on?
Go through this 10-step checklist to find out.
1. Review your social media presence on different channels
Where do you hang out currently on social media?
What are your favorite channels to consume and contribute to?
Try to be all-inclusive.
While you might not think of it as social media, a forum where you often contribute may be more effective at generating leads than a traditional channel where you have no following.
2. For each channel, find your most engaging post from the last thirty days
Engagement does not equal impressions.
Impressions are vanity. Engagement is action.
How many likes, retweets, shares, comments, etc. did each post get on each channel?
3. Evaluate the authenticity of the post (Does it sound like you?)
The age of inauthentic social media that doesn’t reflect who you truly are is over.
There’s no Me, Inc. anymore. There’s just you.
So, if you have a post with a lot of engagement, but it doesn’t sound like you…
Don’t go down that road.
Which leads us to our next step…
4. Determine if the content is repeatable
Is the most engaging post something that only happens once in a lifetime (like that time I saved a baby squirrel)?
Or is it more repeatable?
Can you plan and consistently post similar content?
Let me give you an example.
One of our clients has a YouTube channel. He had been posting writing tips on the channel for years, but then, we created an in-depth guide that is getting amazing results.
Can we create more in-depth guides? You bet.
Is the content authentic to his brand? Absolutely.
We may have a winner!
5. Draft 5-10 posts for each channel
After you’ve found your most engaging post on each channel and determined if it’s authentic and repeatable — draft 5-10 posts like it for each channel.
Yeah, I’m asking you to plan ahead.
Sporadic social media strategy is no strategy at all.
By its nature, a strategy needs to be consistent. (Not constant, but consistent.)
So plan out a schedule for 5-10 posts. Do it for each channel.
This will require that you optimize the posts per channel, but you can do that!
You may even be able to do it in just a couple of hours. Isn’t finding the right social media channel worth that to you?
6. Use the next two weeks to post that content
It might go faster than this. It might go a little slower.
But to run a good test, you gotta post the content.
7. Evaluate the new posts
Engagement, not impressions.
We want to see how users are taking action on your posts!
8. Determine which channel maintained similar engagement or grew
Look at the numbers from step 7 and compare them.
You want to create a ranking here.
Did Facebook perform better than YouTube but worse than Twitter?
Make a note.
And make sure you measure engagement as a percentage of total followers, not as a one-to-one comparison.
For instance, if you started with 1,000 Twitter followers and 40,000 Facebook Likes, a one-to-one comparison of the volume of positive engagement isn’t a fair comparison.
So focus on the highest engagement percentage, not necessarily the biggest numbers of engagement.
9. Focus on that channel for the next 30 days
Focusing on one channel does not mean neglecting another.
It just means putting an intentional effort to build the most optimized, best content for the channel that has the most potential.
10. Re-evaluate the engagement results
- If the engagement dropped, move to the next most engaged channel (by percentage)
- If the engagement remained the same or increased, boost your efforts again!
The truth is—
There is no “best” channel.
It’s all relative, which is why I advise you to focus on your mindset and your method for selecting a particular channel.
Besides, this post might outlive the most popular social media channels of today. 🙂
The most important thing is to stay adaptable. You gotta keep testing.
Choosing Mindset over Tactics
You can do this!
Just take the position of the observer.
Remember, there were marketers extolling the benefits of Myspace in the early 2000s (read these comments).
It’s not worth it to spend all of your time optimizing tactics for a channel that may be here and gone tomorrow.
Instead, adopt the mindset that will allow you to master any channel systematically.
I look forward to reading your results!