Differing Social Media Strategies

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been looking at the social media strategies of different organisations. It has been very interesting to see how in-house social media teams work.

Last week I went on a little field trip to the headquarters of Virgin Trains, and this week we had a guest speaker, Guy Evans,  the Social Media and Communications Officer for Birmingham Council.

A Quick Comparison

The most interesting things to observe were the similarities between two completely different organisations. Both Virgin Trains and Birmingham Council want to make sure they have a ‘human voice’ on social media. They answer enquiries personally and keep scheduling posts to a minimum.

Also, I was surprised to see (more with Virgin Trains) that they were not completely up to date and on all social media platforms. Unlike when people just sign up to a new social media platform to try it out, they have to justify using them.

Then again, when I was originally taught about putting myself on social media, when I was studying journalism, I was told to keep my accounts up to date, or to not have them at all. I guess it’s better to completely avoid a platform than use it poorly – especially when you are a big organisation.

Instagram stands out as the platform that people don’t know what to do with. It can be seen more as a ‘vanity account’ that doesn’t add anything to the business. When you have a limited resources and funds I can see why it can be more trouble than it’s worth.

Social Media on a Budget

Companies have turned to social media as a cheaper, easier way to interact with their customers. Although automation tools and paid advertising can be used when needed, it is becoming clear that knowledge of how to use social media effectively is a lot more valuable to build a foundation.

From listening to Guy Evans, it is clear that even with a tiny team (he works alone on the main social media accounts) and a minimal budget you can be successful on social media.

Fine Tuning Your Social Media Strategy

There were some significant differences between how Birmingham Council and Virgin Trains work on social media. I think it’s important for companies to establish these fine details before they get started.

For example, if a customer gets too offensive or rude Virgin Trains are happy to block them. They are a business who don’t tolerate that behaviour towards their staff. Whereas, Birmingham Council think it is important to see what everyone is saying.

If you are working alone, it’s easier to choose your brand identity, do’s and don’ts, and your voice. But working in a team can mean that your social media voice can vary. Social media fans want consistency, without feeling like they are talking to a robot. it’s a fine balance.

Virgin Trains do this very well, with each social media user using their initials at the end of their Twitter posts so followers know who’s online. Because of the ‘Virgin brand identity‘, they can get away with this, along with their chatty, casual attitude online.

On that Note…

Working on social media is a steep learning curve. It can take some experimentation to learn what works for you, and perseverance will work better than just throwing money at it.

But, most importantly, you must have a clear idea of what you want from your social media pages.

Alt Britain Update: Inviting people to Like Your Page

This week I haven’t done any experimenting on AltBritain. I have been spending time researching engagement and encouraging new likers. We just can’t seem to make it over 30 fans.

During my research I discovered something small, but useful.>>here<<

When you create a page on Facebook, the first thing you tend to do is invite your friends to get your first likes. I didn’t realise this wasn’t the only way to invite people to your page.

I’m sorry if this was already obvious to anyone, but I’d never thought of trying it.

Making the Most of Post-Boosting

The point in boosting posts on Facebook is to get more people to see them, obviously. But just because they’ve liked the post, it doesn’t mean that they’ll automatically click-through and like your page.

If you click on the likers of your post (see below), you can invite them to like your page.

Inviting new likers 1Inviting new likers

This isn’t just a way to make the most of your boosted posts. If your posts have been shared it’s worth checking if the people who  liked it are already fans. If not, you can invite them even if they are not your friend on Facebook.

This may only be a small discovery. But surely people who have already liked your post will be more inclined to like your page.

So this week I’m going to do more research on hidden things to help build a following on Facebook.

Alt Britain Update: Boosting Posts on Facebook

We’re on week 4 of AltBritain and somehow our unique website views have increased. But with that, so has our bounce rate. Our Twitter and Facebook likes/followers have slightly increased this week. But out Instagram followers have decreased.

This week I’ve been looking at sharable content and boosting Facebook posts. It’s definitely a lot more complicated than pick a post and boost it.

Sharable Content

Last week I was talking about encouraging engagement with the creation of sharable content. We hadn’t received any new likes on Facebook and our reach was down.

I created this graphic with the intention of seeing how its reach would grow organically, then paying to boost it. But apparently Facebook doesn’t like boosting posts that encourage people to tag their friends.

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My tutor shared an article on Facebook’s 20% text rule in Ads, which I was not aware of. You can’t just throw your money at Facebook and make it do what you want. Basically the article says that although Facebook will no longer be rejecting advertisements with more than 20% text, it may affect their reach. So the more text, the less reach. I’m not sure but I think that ads with way too much writing may still be rejected.

You can use this Image Text Check to see if it’s worth boosting your post. You just upload your post and it rates it. Note: Just moving text around or shrinking it slightly can make a difference.

 

After some experimentation, I created the most simple graphic I could think of. Then in the end I just posted a picture with no words (that may have been an accident).

Basically, I posted a cup of tea. Who doesn’t like tea?

boosted-post

The reach is currently 669 (100 organic/569 paid), which is a lot better than any of our other posts have done. Generally, we barely get comments on our posts, and this post was commented on 5 times. I think it helped that the organic reach of our post was already pretty high (for us anyway).

We also boosted another post. The organic reach was lower in the first place, but the paid reach was still significant. The difference could be due to a lot of things – date posted, time posted, the link, etc.

boosted-article

So…

Boosting our posts temporarily grew our reach on Facebook, but this has not affected the reach of any other posts. We’ve only actually managed to gain 2 likes on the page this week. So paying to boost may not be the right thing to do if you just want to grow likes.

In fact I think it is better to boost posts once you have grown your Facebook likes, so you can direct paid ads at the right demographic.

But looking back on what I said at the beginning on the post, we have had more visits to our website. This could be due to the article post being boosted, as most of our website clicks come from Facebook.

For Future Reference

Before boosting a post we need to make sure that there is a trail for readers to follow. Readers went to our website, looked at the article and left. This resulted in a higher bounce rate (75%). They also didn’t go back to like our Facebook page, which suggests they weren’t interested enough to bother.

Social Media Automation Tools – A Review

Yesterday we looked at using social media automation tools for AltBritain. There are so many different ones out there that previously I just chose to leave them alone.

I always thought that I would have a lot more control if I took care of my social media pages without using automation tools. Posts on Facebook and WordPress can be scheduled; you can connect most social media pages together, so they post at the same time.

But it’s important to look at all aspects of social media if I am going to become a social media expert.  I looked at IFTTT, so I’ll start with that one.

IFTTT

There are so many thing you can do using IFTTT, but I have to say a lot of it is completely pointless. Unlike other tools, which just schedule using time, it uses actions that set off a certain result. From syncing posts for multiple accounts to muting your phone when you get to work, it would take days to describe what this tool does.

If you like apps and gadgets, this is the automation tool for you (if you must use one). You can use it for personal and business purposes. Here are a few I found interesting:

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Zapier

My colleagues described this as similar to IFTTT in that it uses actions to trigger events. But unlike IFTTT, after 14 days you have to pay to use it. See below.

zapier

There is a free version, but it is very basic. They decided that overall it was too expensive for what it is, and it had too many pointless actions (we seem to have a theme starting here).

Social Oomph

This is an automation tool just for Twitter – so why is it so expensive? You get 168 hours free (7 days), then it is around $18 a fortnight.

You can schedule tweets, repeat tweets and tweet different variations. Is that enough for your money?

dlvr.it

This is one of the cheaper paid-for automation tools, and you can use it for free if you only want to work with three social media platforms and 10 feeds. It is basically a scheduling tool, which pushes RSS content to social media platforms. It has extras, like URL shortening, stats and insights.

dlvr-it

But it’s slightly annoying that it says that it ‘distribute(s) new content to your socials almost as fast as you can post it on your site.’ Almost as fast? I’d like it faster please or I’d rather do it myself.

MailChimp

I haven’t had chance to look properly at this one yet. But from a quick glance, it is the one I am more likely to use. In fact I may do a completely separate post on it once I’ve got to grips with it. Basically it is a tool to create newsletters from content on your site. This can only be a good thing. Who wants to waste time creating their own newsletter from scratch every week?

Conclusion

I’m not completely sold on automation tools, especially because I am currently at the stage where I’m working on a small enough scale to do everything myself. But if I decide to work with larger companies, or maybe as I start to work with many people at once, I may find that my opinion changes.

If I had to use any of them (other than MailChimp – as I said I’ll look into it later) I would stick with IFTTT. Not only is it free, but it seems pretty easy to understand and work with. With the others, the free version seems to take more time to use than doing everything individually, and the prices really need re-evaluating.

AltBritain Update: Need More Engagement on Facebook

Facebook

Our Facebook likes have actually decreased this week, so we’ll have to work harder to find new likers (and keep them). Over 60% of our website clicks are from Facebook so I think it’s important to grow our likes and engagement on our Facebook page.

Twitter and Instagram

Our Twitter and Instagram likes are up. Though, it does seem to be a lot easier to grow a following on Twitter and Instagram.

On average, just over 30% of our clicks to the website come from Twitter, so we need to keep up the good work on that platform.

The problem is that Instagram may be popular, and we are getting a lot of likes, but we aren’t getting any clicks to the website. This is mainly because you can’t post links in posts on Instagram. Followers have to go to the actual profile page.

Encouraging Engagement

Last week we had a guest speaker, Laura Hogan from Rice Media, who spoke to us about SEO optimisation and encouraging engagement. She told us about creating sharable content using canva.com. Below is an example of how she used it for one of her clients.

laura-hogan-sharable-content-experiment-med7018

One of my fellow Social Media MA students did her own experiment using two Facebook pages she is managing. You can read more about that here. From her results, it seems that using this kind of sharable content is a very successful way to grow engagement on Facebook.

My Own Experiment

I created this using Canva.com. As Walking Dead is popular at the moment, I am hoping that it will create some engagement on the Facebook page. Then, if it is beneficial to the page I may experiment with boosting the post. I have never paid to boost a post on Facebook so it will be interesting to see how well targeted promotion works.

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An Afterthought…

I have been trying to connect with ‘alternative fashion’ pages on Facebook. Our website is lacking in fashion posts, which isn’t exactly encouraging for them. So this week I am going to write a couple of fashion posts to try to encourage new likers.

AltBritain Update

This week we have been trying to build engagement on our social media pages. I focused on Facebook, sharing links to our website as well as posts from other Facebook pages. I’ve been experimenting with scheduling posts at different times and looking for pages a with similar audience to ours.

Here are my findings:

  • The views on the page have decreased as the post reach has increased. This means people are seeing our posts without having to click on the actual page – which can only be a good thing.
  • The posts with the highest reach was posted at 17:28 on the 8th Feb – It’s reach was more than double the next highest. I’m not sure if this is due to the content or the timing. So I plan to schedule a different type post for around the same time this week to find this out.
  • A meme I created using a picture from one of our articles had a  pretty good reach, as well as a gif. relating to another post. So it seems that pictures with captions are more popular than others.
  • Posts that are slightly more serious (but still ‘alternative’) seem to be popular so we need to look for more , so we need to look for more ‘newsy’ articles to share/post.

Task for this week: Our likes on Facebook are not increasing very fast so we need to find a way to keep people on the page long enough for them to like it.