Unless you’re Doctor Strange with a time stone, there is little point in predicting the future. Because if 2020 has taught us something, nothing is certain and plans can change on a whim.
Instead of trying to anticipate the next big thing in 2021, we’re going in the opposite direction and sharing what not to do on social media based on what we learned in 2020. Social marketers Bre Schneider, Christina Olivarez, and Olivia Jepson share these social media tips and tricks that will help them put data first and win back their time. From commenting on current events to the rise of TikTok, here are six things to keep in mind as you execute your social strategy for 2021.
The social media do and ban for 2021
1. Don’t forget, it’s about quality over quantity
As the social algorithms evolve over time, it’s time to give up the mentality that you need to keep posting high volumes of content all the time. Social algorithms prioritize relevance over quantity, so more posts don’t mean more engagement.
High-frequency publishing can be harmful in several ways. Too many posts can be classified as spam for your audience, and the need to create them can quickly burn out your social team. Finding out what your audience really wants to hear from your brand will fuel your social engagement.
Instead, do this: Christina Olivarez, founder and CEO of The Social Butterfly Gal, recommends brands to listen as they create content. Tools like social listening can help marketers better understand what their target audience is interested in and develop social content that directly addresses consumer expectations. At the beginning of the pandemic, the city of San Antonio turned to social media to find out which topics were most important to their audience. The result was a social campaign encouraging residents to share why they were wearing a mask and getting support from people like Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs.
2. Don’t sleep on TikTok
It feels like everyone is on TikTok in 2020. From the combination of skateboarding, cranberry juice and “dreams” that we didn’t know we needed for the #BlindingLights challenge, TikTok is where trends are born and go viral.
Brands are slow to move all-in on TikTok, however – a mistake Bre Schneider, social media manager at US HealthConnect Inc., hopes brands will address soon. “I can’t tell you how many digital marketers I spoke to about their brand and TikTok,” says Schneider. “Since this is an emerging platform, most digital marketers either say,” My audience is not here “or” TikTok is not for us right now “.” However, with more than 700 million active users worldwide, there’s a high chance your audience is active on TikTok – and they’re waiting for you to come and entertain them.
Instead, do this: If your brand isn’t ready to create content for TikTok, that doesn’t mean you should completely ignore the network. Schneider recommends using TikTok to stay up to date with the latest cultural trends and inspire creative social media ideas on other channels. Clips can be used as Instagram videos and trends can be adapted to other social networks. You may not be creating for TikTok, but you can use TikTok as a source of inspiration for your social content strategy.
3. Don’t be afraid to take a stand
Over the past year, brands have been pressured to speak up on social and political issues. 70% of consumers said it was important for brands to take a stand. Olivia Jepson, the social media specialist here at Sprout Social, believes that this pressure on brands will only increase if consumers want to support brands that have values similar to them.
“This will be the year for brands that came forward in 2020 to meet their commitments and be transparent with their audiences about what action they are taking,” said Jepson. And for brands that haven’t yet taken a stand, consider the pros and cons. Silence can damage your brand, but knowing when to properly participate in the conversation is also important.
Instead, do this: If pushing back from the leadership is holding you back from speaking up, bring the data with you to show that this is actually what your audience wants to take a stand. For example, data shows that 40% of consumers would like brands to partner with relevant nonprofits and 27% would like CEOs to publish their own statement. Ben & Jerry’s is a regular contributor on topics such as prison reform and ending the cash bail system, while HEB shared their stance on combating systemic racism after the murder of George Floyd.
As we turn a corner in the pandemic with the release of a vaccine, we must not forget the many people needlessly affected by COVID-19 in prisons and prisons. Change has to come now! https://t.co/nHmLstqC1I
– Ben & Jerry’s (@benandjerrys) December 15, 2020
Notice: Your brand also needs to be able to endorse whatever you post on social media. Continue to advocate buy-in from executives, but also keep in mind that your brand may not be able to support that stance at this particular point in time.
4. Don’t summarize your content and campaign reports
Tracking the overall performance of your social content may sound like a time saver, but it can actually make reporting more complicated than necessary. While it’s great to get an overview of how all your content is performing, it’s the granular details that can help you adjust and improve your social strategy.
“You want to test certain things about a campaign or a post against others, and if you haven’t set up a process, you’re doing yourself a disservice,” says Schneider. A general report can help you miss the specific details that make your social content strategy from good to great.
Instead, do this: Organize and tag your content by campaign so you understand how each piece of content is performed individually. For example, if you manage an ecommerce brand, you might want to create a customer service tag specifically to track support and identify ways to improve the customer experience. When promoting an event, create an event hashtag that you can monitor using social listening tools and return metrics like potential impressions and engagement.
Tip: You can easily organize your content using tags in Sprout! Use tags to categorize content related to upcoming events, campaigns, or product launches, then use the tag report to analyze what resonated the most with your audience.
5. Do not keep your data to yourself
Working on social networks can often feel like being in a silo, but the reality is that any department can benefit from working with social networks and using the data they need to share. Your social data has valuable consumer insights that teams from sales, product, and more can use to improve their respective disciplines.
By not sharing data outside of marketing, you’re retaining information that allows teams like sales and customer service to have a greater impact on your company’s goals. Jepson also recommends sharing social data to help secure executive buy-in and invest the rest of your team in your social strategy.
Instead, do this: Bridge this gap by proactively sharing social reports with stakeholders to keep them informed about your projects and to demonstrate the impact of social networks. Here at Sprout, our social team ran a listening show to share relevant listening skills with departments like Creative, Sales and Product. These insights ranged from what our customers wanted about a feature to their biggest weaknesses in the app and would not have seen the light of day if the social team had not proactively shared this information with others.
6. Don’t forget to prioritize social customer service
Build brand loyalty and strengthen your customer relationships by investing in your social customer care strategy. When your audience has a question, complaint, or compliment, turn to social media first – and your brand needs to be ready to respond with helpful information.
Having a solid customer support plan with prepared answers is part of a great customer experience. Remember, everyone is watching how you interact with your audience on social networks, and your response says a lot about what kind of experience you have for your customers.
Instead, do this: In addition to monitoring engagement metrics, make sure you track metrics like response rate and sentiment to measure the effectiveness of your social customer service. Data shows that 40% of consumers expect brands to respond within an hour of being contacted on social media. The response rates can tell you whether you are on the right track or need further improvement. To speed response time, the San Antonio Zoo developed content with answers to frequently asked questions and additional information needed before visiting the zoo.
A new year with limitless possibilities
While we may barely know what to expect this year, 2020 taught us what not to do on social media and what to do instead. The New Year is an opportunity to try new things to improve our social strategies, from commenting on social or political issues to investing in short videos.
Are you ready to put these social media do’s and don’ts into action? Read on to learn how to wrap up your ideas and set your next big social media marketing pitch.