Just Because You’re a Millennial Doesn’t Mean You’re a Social Media Wizard:  Make Your Content Count

It is time for us to reveal the identity and intent behind this social media marketing operation…

We are the Sassy Marketers, four ridiculously average students wading through the waters of an MBA.

We’ve almost reached the finish line. Some of us are even graduating (and facing a greater challenge – finding a job…. and adulting).

These past five weeks we’ve shared our commentary and insights on anything from Wendy’s sassy twitter roasts to the reason why Macklemore was spotted wrestling a bear.

Here we are. We have fought viciously for clicks, and learned a lot in the process. Don’t worry, we won’t part without a few final reflective notes:

1) More Channels are Better Than One

It may seem obvious, but if you want your content to get traction, not only should you post it often, but you should post it in different places.

Network connectivity is one of social media’s biggest assets (it’s huuuuuge), and it’s ignorant not to take advantage of it.

Does that mean you should post content every 10 minutes? NO, nobody likes that person. But, you should share your content strategically. This means leveraging peak hours of the day when people are likely to check their social media channels. That’s not to say you should always post content at the same hour every day, but stagger your postings to get different sets of eyes on them. Sharing the same post a few times a week will not only ensure that more eyes see the content, but that more people actually look at your content (I’m talking full-on read through). If a user sees that a few of their friends have shared an article already, they might be more likely to read that article than if they are seeing it for the first time. This will also increase the longevity of your content’s relevance.

But it’s not just about how often you post, it’s also about where you post. Do you think Kim Kardashian has a million social media channels because it’s fun? WRONG, she does it to stay relevant and in your face.

Using different media channels lets you tap into different markets, the more eyes on your content, the better. It’s also important to keep in mind that, even though society is turning into a technological epicenter, not everyone falls in the same circles. Posting all your content on Twitter might ensure that some people see it, but not everyone has Twitter. Every social media channel is valuable when dispersing content, SO USE THEM.

And remember kids, post often, but not too often (because no one likes that person).

2) The Audience Matters

Understanding who your audience is, what their interests are, where they live, and, most importantly, why they read your content is critical for designing content that is not only likeable and engaging, but shareable as well. Today’s data-centric focus has made this process easier and much more insightful, thanks to insight managers like Google Analytics.

Google Analytics provides essential information that goes beyond traditional metrics, such as total sessions and bounce rate to include useful measures of audience engagement and frequency distributions. But what does this have to do with writing engaging content? Without knowing your audience, you are essentially writing blind and hoping–instead of knowing–that your efforts will result in page clicks and website traffic.

The most important thing that I learned while tracking our audience metrics was simple metrics can be the most effective. Information such as gender and age identify demographic groups who are interested in your content and who you should write to. For example, our blog posts appeal to both women and men between the ages of 18 to 24 (the exact breakdown is 51 percent for women and 49 percent for men), but this was not always the case. Our first two posts (Masters of Social Media and An Oscarized Mix-up for the Ages) captured more attention from women than men–upwards of 70 percent. A key takeaway here is to pick a group who you want to engage and write for them. Doing so will give clarity to your blog and emphasize a cohesive story within your content.

Another interesting metric is location, which is extremely powerful if your goal is to engage a local audience, either for a specific city or state. One piece of content that performed particularly well was our long form editorial on Macklemore’s endorsement with Columbia Sportswear, which aligned well with our audience location demographic. The majority of our audience lives in  Oregon or Washington, so long form content that involved elements from both states (Columbia is headquartered in Beaverton while Macklemore is from Seattle) was a direct match. The result was a bounce rate lower than 60 percent; mighty decent for a start-up blog.

The lesson here is know your audience and know it well. Even simple metrics can provide a treasure trove of insights on who reads your content and why they do it because the better you know your audience the better your content will perform.

3) I Meme it!

As social media is constantly being critiqued and improved, methods of connecting with your online audience are continually changing. A common favorite method is the use of memes. The word meme was first coined in 1976 in a book called The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. Dawkins defined a meme as “an idea, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.”

As technology rapidly began to be used, the definition of the the “meme” rapidly changed as well. The modern meme can be defined as a virally transmitted cultural symbol. The modern meme is categorized by inside jokes, celebrity photos, and snapshots of TV shows etc. The modern meme is instantly recognizable and may even be relatable. The modern meme can be used to boost your brand’s popularity and reputation.The modern meme can be used as attention grabbers and content enhancers.

Although there are major benefits to using the modern meme, there are rules of using the modern meme to success:

  1. Know your audience – A particular meme might be hilarious and relatable for some, though not for others. Consider the characteristics of your audience before pursuing the method of the modern meme
  2. Know your brand – If your brand is playful and energetic, the modern meme could work in your favor. If your brand is cut throat and stoic, the modern meme would likely work against you.
  3. In small doses, the modern meme is a cherry on top – Use the modern meme sparingly to enhance your content, not hijack it.

4) Reddit is a cruel, cruel world

Posting on Reddit as a newbie is like walking into a cultie Harry Potter fan club without proper wand and attire. Basically, everyone stares at you, points towards you, and shouts at you to leave. Reddit is notoriously hard to infiltrate, especially in the realm of social media marketing. To interact on Reddit (the so-called front page of the internet), you need to know the game and play by the rules. Every subreddit is its own mini community, and each has its own guidelines, moderated and enforced vigilantly by other Redditors. To use Reddit appropriately, one must ensure their “Reddiquette” – the values of many Redditors, as written by Redditors themselves – is in tip-top shape. To read up up on general Reddiquette commandments, see here: https://www.reddit.com/wiki/reddiquette.

Promoting a brand or post on Reddit initially seems easy. Find a subreddit related to the content you wish to post, then copy and paste your link and press submit. Easy – right? Not so fast… on Reddit you can either get upvoted to glory, downvoted to nothingness, or worse – you can be flagged or banned from a group for not following the rules. And unless you have good karma (yes, more Reddit lingo) you won’t get anywhere quickly.

To use Reddit for social media marketing, you need to be prepared to do some research. There will be plenty of trial and error. Not only do you need to find a subreddit that matches your content, but one that matches your culture. Do not underestimate cult mentality, and the power of avid Redditors. In the next 24 hours, you’re far more likely to have your post deleted in a subreddit than you are to get a traffic ticket.

To read more about social media marketing on Reddit, see here 

So let’s recap…

Overall, there are any number of ways that you can help your content gain traction on social media. You can post often, post in different places, post with a specific audience, or even change the format of your content. The key is to be interesting and engaging, and NOT predictable. Most people (those of us that are tech savvy) can spot fake news or click-bait from a mile away. Even if you didn’t pay attention to most of this article (because let’s be honest, if you made it this far, you were either skimming or you’re trying to avoid doing work), walk away with this in mind; the more work you put into your content, the more you’re going to get out of it. Posting on social media for engagement doesn’t have to be a chore, make it fun. The more your personality comes through, the more your content is going to be enjoyable to read.

You have an imagination for a reason, remember to use it.