Every so often I get asked by a client (or acquaintance) if their social media accounts are optimized. Essentially, what the client (or acquaintance) is really asking is - ”is the external vendor who is managing my social presence doing a good job?” This has happened often enough to where I’ve finally decided to summarize the 7 things I’d look for, if I were the client (or acquaintance).
1. Is your content engaging and does it consider Facebook’s EdgeRank?
It’s surprising how many social media managers don’t consider this. Much like Google’s search algorithm, Facebook’s algorithm, called Facebook Edgerank, determines what status updates are seen in your fans’ newsfeed. Some time ago, I wrote in this post that Facebook’s EdgeRank ranks comments more highly than ‘likes’, videos and links are ranked higher than straight up text…and this is still true. In September 2012, Facebook made a far reaching change that effectively reduced the Reach of brand pages i.e. negatively impacted how many of your fans’ and fans’ friends’ that your content is reaching. Facebook’s EdgeRank is now rumoured to be 80% impacted by organic posts (such as brand posts) and 20% by sponsored or paid content (i.e. ads).
I’d suggest brands look at their posts and determine if they follow EdgeRank requirements – do they encourage commenting rather than just just ‘likes’? Are they a good mix of videos, links and text? Do the posts contain engaging content that is not always brand related?
2. Is your social media meeting your overall marketing goals?
There’s a reason why brands are investing more time and money in social media…and it’s not direct, incremental sales. Social networks are a great way to build brand awareness and acquire new prospects. Brands get to target their audience and engage with them one on one, at a relatively low cost per user. That said, social media should sync up with broader marketing goals such as driving traffic to the website (which will hopefully eventually translate into conversions), acquiring more emails (to grow the email list) etc. Sweepstakes for the sake of giving away free product are simply not good enough. Are the emails acquired through sweepstakes being funneled back into your email database and tracked separately for attrition?
3. Is your social media manage staying on top of constant Facebook changes?
Facebook introduced Facebook Offers well in time for the holidays as a way for brands to offer special offers to their Facebook users in a viral format. While a number of retailers have been quick to adopt Offers, it still surprises me how many social media managers haven’t tested Offers to identify what works for their brand. Facebook tests new formats and introduces changes very, very often. Its important to have a social media manager who stays on top of these changes and tests them on behalf of your brand.
4. Are best practices being followed to run contests?
As many a brand has discovered to their detriment, contests should be run within pre-specified parameters to minimize the company liability and customer dissatisfaction. Are entries accepted from certain countries or states only (usually limited to states that the brand ships products to)? What is the criteria to select the winner? When will the winner be announced? Is the winner allowed to resell their winnings on other sites e.g. eBay or Amazon? Consider all this and more and be sure to spell these rules out, anytime a contest is being run. It only takes one bad experience to taint a brand’s hard-earned reputation.
5. Surround sound marketing
Finally, no marketing channel should operate in a silo. Each channel in the marketing ecosystem should bolster others – post Instagram pictures on Facebook, pin your blog posts and sales, hold impromptu customer surveys via Twitter. There is an amazing amount of genuine, fun and engaging commentary that can be generated and extremely helpful customer feedback that can be collected – as the social media managers of brands like Taco Bell and Red Bull have proved over and over again.
6. Fresh look
This is a no brainer but again, its surprising how many smaller brands forget to rotate their background images on networks like Facebook and Twitter. Add some holiday glitter to your photos and background images, give your page a fresh look in time for spring, add some summer sizzle…this is a very small change that can give a completely fresh and new look to your brand page, keep it topical and help keep your audience from being bored in the process.
7. Being topical…or not
Whatever they do, your social media manager should not in any way make light of, or in any other way attempt to capitalize on others’ plight. Companies like American Apparel sought to take advantage of a captive audience (trapped indoors due to Hurricane Sandy) by offering a special Sandy promotion. Customers didn’t like it. Don’t make the same mistake.