The ABC’s of social media
It’s pretty well-known by now that it’s really, really hard work to run a social media account. Despite all of our most fervent wishes, building a healthy social media community isn’t as easy as retweeting Spongebob memes.
The process of fostering a consistent, engaging brand voice on social media that encourages people to get involved is a long and difficult one, especially for folks who may not have the resources to invest in professional analytics tools. That said, the most important strategies for building a following don’t cost anything at all. Here are my tried-and-tested ABC’s of social media marketing.
Algorithms Suck And Should Be Ignored
The algorithm, am I right? What a mess.
If you’re not already aware, the “algorithm” is the internal process that any social media site uses to decide what content to show people based on a variety of criteria (user demographic data, previous views, location). This sounds good in theory, but in practice, social media sites change their algorithms on a near-constant basis. This is presumably because all social media sites are run by goblins in human suits.
Put simply, trying to constantly optimize content by tailoring it to an ever-changing algorithm is a bad strategy, and will keep you from building consistent messaging.
The best thing you can do to appease an ever-changing algorithm? Make the kind of content that you’d find interesting and fun! Short, concise posts that ask an engaging question will always be favored by an algorithm no matter how much they may change, because it’s the kind of content people want to interact with!
It seems almost too obvious to layout like this, but good, down-to-earth content will generally be favored by the algorithm anyway. Don’t twist yourself in knots trying to appease an algorithm when it’s so much easier to just make the kind of content you’d want to see on your own personal feed!
Build Community, Not Followers
Hot take: don’t use follower count as your top metric for social media growth.
There are plenty of accounts out there with a follower count in the tens of thousands, but when they post, nobody replies. This is especially true of more straight-laced brand accounts that use their platform on social media exclusively as a sales tool to tell people about new product announcements or releases.
This is not healthy!!!!!
The goal of any social media campaign should be to build an active community, not just passive followership. Active followers are more likely to tell their friends about your projects and spread them naturally through word of mouth (either online or, you know, in the Outside World). An account that has 100 followers but has consistent engagement through replies, comments, and retweets is infinitely more healthy than an account that has 1000 followers but struggles to receive any engagement on their posts.
The key here, once again, is to think about your content from the perspective of the person who will be viewing it. Is it a straight-up ad? Do you want to see straight-up ads clogging your feed? No!
Obviously, you’re here to show off a project, but your social media posts should be tailored in such a way that you’re sharing something you’re proud of, shining the light on a cool feature, or asking your community questions. We’re all humans (yes, even the people who run social media accounts for brands) and your social media feed should reflect that! Be proactive in the comments and replies, thanking people who compliment your work and complimenting and commenting on their work as well. This is how you build a community on social media; getting to know your audience personally!
Creativity is Key
If there’s one lesson to take away from this blog post, it’s that you should not be afraid to get weird with it on social media. People want to see your creativity, and people want to see your sense of humor.
The most successful social media accounts do this. They’re not afraid to post nonsensical memes or share a screenshot of their game that features a particularly hunky character with his shirt off and the only accompanying text being the pleading face emoji.
This is, again, all part of making the content you’d want to see on your feed. It’s the best way to grow a consistent following no matter what nonsensical changes might come to the platform. It’s a future-proof strategy, and oddly enough, it’s easier than trying to jump through hoops.
To be clear, things like advanced demographic research, hashtag optimization, and social-media-friendly image and video cropping are incredibly important as well, but none of that really helps if you have not spent the time to foster community and craft a consistent, engaging voice.
At Vicarious, we have all the tools to help you get there, alongside a group of wonderfully talented (and hilarious, if I do say so myself) social media experts that can collaborate with you in order to build this voice.