social media strategy

It's Going to be OK!

The announcement of Instagram's push for a more personalized algorithm feed has already sent businesses into a frenzy. The reverse chronological order you have become accustomed to will now be changed to something similar to Facebook's edgerank, where you will see the posts that the algorithm has learned you will like.

While this directly effects me in what seems like a negative way, I only see this as a bonus and am actually looking forward to it. Businesses have been riding this gravy train of free marketing for a very long time, and frankly it's been a ridiculous ride. Here's my two cents on the matter, and how to make this change work for you.

If you were to put your phone down and think of all the other ad space out there in the real world, none of it is free. Magazines, signs, billboards, newspaper ads. Companies paid for the space and certain spaces were coveted, for good reason. These ad spaces are where certain people are, or may be, and they only wanted to see a limited amount of ads coming at them. Why should social media be any different? It is where everyone is at, and no one wants to be sold to 24/7. Humans crave information, that's why we have magazines, signage and the internet. We like to share our experiences and intake beauty. When we sense ulterior motives, we flee and turn off.

This change should and will hone the marketers craft. If you are not sharing effective and meaningful posts, then you will not be seen. This change is going to produce more thoughtful, curated and meaningful posts. It is a win for you, the person with something to sell, and you, the person who likes their feed to be smooth and meaningful.

Now, how do you take a hold of these changes and make them work for you, the business? Sit down and do some math. I suggest you pour over your Instagrams posts for the last 4 months or so and see what has really worked and what is not working. Make note: type of posts (reposts, single items, teaching posts, graphic posts etc), date, time (you can go to Birdsong Insights to find the exact time stamp of posts), day of the week, likes, and comments. Then crunch the numbers. Find out which posts are working the best and then break it down more into what time of the day and even which day of the week you are getting the most interaction. This is going to take a nice chunk of your time, but it is worth it to come up with a plan to play the game in the very near future.

Now that you know what is working for you, develop a plan. Most people are guessing that Instagram's algorithm is going to work much like it's parent company Facebook's Edgerank system. Edgerank works off of your previous posts and measures the interactions from the previous posts to see how many followers will be seeing the next post. Use tactics from your posts with the highest interactions and continue to measure your ongoing posts. 

Don't forget, there is always the paid ad. As a business, you may now need to dig into the pockets and just pay up. Marketing has always been part of a business budget, and you may find amazing results with paid ads.

Many companies are announcing that their followers turn on Post Notifications for their posts. I'm still not convinced this is a great strategy for making sure you are seen. If you ask people to request push notifications, you better be ready to curate like crazy and really bring your A-game. If people feel even a tiny bit like you're posting too much, or not giving them what they want to see, they will unfollow you in a heartbeat. Personally, I'd like to go to toe to toe with the algorithm and gain more views than risk the small amount tuning in to leave forever. 

It's really going to be ok. Change is good, and inevitable. Roll with it and make it a chance to really let your posts shine. 

The Sound

I have a very good friend that I LOVE going out to eat with. We share a fondness for bacony goodness, but that's not really why I like going to a restaurant with her. I'm very reserved, and probably go out of my way as to not draw any attention to myself in a social situation. She, on the other hand, has a loud and wild laugh, and it will cause the entire restaurant to stop and turn and look at us. Some may be embarrassed by this, and considering my talent of blending in, you'd think I'd hate it, but I LOVE IT!  Her laugh is everything I wish I was. It reminds me of what being alive feels like, and reminds me that everyone has a much different voice and that's a beautiful thing.

When you start up a social media strategy for your brand, your voice should be something that is mapped out. Your voice is the actual words you are using and the tone that you create on each and every post. You may find that a very light hearted joking style works for your brand, while another brand may find that just the facts is what their audience is craving. Maybe you prefer to use profanities for funzies (this account is a great example), or peaceful and minimal word usage could be way more effective for you.  Keep in mind your goals, your overall branding, then brainstorm how your desired sound fits into those.

However you choose to sound, your voice is a feature that should remain constant throughout all of your platforms. It's true that different platforms attract different users, but if you think of your voice as another aspect that defines you, you will see it's best to keep it congruent. I can always tell when one of my favorite restaurants has posted because Jeff's verbiage is just so unique.

Your voice is just another creative way to get people to remember your brand. It helps long time followers define who you are, and can draw in potential clients and followers.


Stay The Course

When you started your brand you probably had more than a few goals in mind. You may have wanted to provide instruction, sell your hot sauce nationwide, or get your art in front of the right eyes. For whatever reason you decided you had something to share with the land of social media, just don't forget your purpose for taking up space in the land. Find a way to give everyone a reason to join you in your space.

Let's say you have an Etsy shop of handmade Jewelry. Things are selling just fine, but your goal has always been to place your gems in a great local boutique. You may get some kind words and followers for posting pretty pictures of your earrings hanging off a pretty face, but remember your goals. Share an image with your gorgeous handmade item, paired with a dress with the same brand, or similar style to what your goal boutique carries. Gently mention them with a hashtag or a kind word. They may not beg you to let them carry your items right away, but you've started a conversation and have showed others exactly what you are all about.

It probably doesn't really need to be said, but if your only goal as a brand/business is to have followers, you should rethink your situation. Followers are the easy part. They can be bought, fabricated, and they will come and go. Creating a goal that is more fulfilling will bring the numbers in sincere forms.

It's much easier than you think to start making noise on social media, yet it has nothing to do with what is driving you.  Social media isn't about just being social on one end and creating any old content. I keep the mottos and goals of each social media client that I manage in a notebook and turn to it often when I create posts and strategies for them. If the post is way off center from their goals as a business, I delete it and move on to something relative to their goals. 

The most effective ways to reach a goal is to engage in a community of others with a purpose. Keep your goal somewhere tangible and refer to it often. Stay the course and your be there before you know it. 

(The martini is reward for reaching your goal. Get to it.)