As we dust off our champagne glasses and build our NYE playlist (Auld Lang Syne just won't do), we're spending time reflecting on this past year, and thinking about what has really helped to propel our business forward online.
I thought, what better to ring in the New Year then to tell you, exactly what has worked for us and what has not worked in our 2015 social media efforts...
Hip Hip Hurrays
1. Having a social strategy
Okay this one is KEY! You can think of having a strategy in place like building a house. You know there are many pieces that come into play when you build but you wouldn't just find a contractor and say "go ahead, start building and we'll figure everything else out later." Would you? No. You need a blueprint first! Having an outline for what you're going to build and why you're going to build it allows you to save time, reduce work, and be more successful.
In 2016, let's all make it part of our New Year's resolutions to have a game plan in place to know what we're going to build and how. We'll be talking more about how to have a killer 2016 social media strategy during our free training – we'd love to have you join us!
2. Hosting an Instagram Q/A
A couple months ago we hosted our first Instagram Q/A. See the questions that were asked and our answers here. >>> Social Studio Shop Instagram Q/A #1
3. Experimenting our way to success
If you've been reading our blog for sometime or ever attended one of our two-day social media workshops, you'll know that we are big fans of finding what works best for you! Every audience is different. Never assume that just because one technique worked for someone else, that it will work on your unique audience. Even with the tips I am giving you today, please test them out on your own to see if they resonate with your community. This year we did A LOT of experimenting. Before you test something...
- Know your why: what do you want your outcome to be? Website traffic, high engagement, new followers?
- Have a goal in mind
- Record your numbers: before, during, and after your experiment – did you meet your goal? If not, what could you have done differently?
4. Hosting our monthly #socialstudiochat
These Twitter chats have been a great way for our community to get involved, connect with each other, and build our brand awareness. And did I mention they've also done wonders for our engagement and website traffic?
See that big spike there? That happened when we hosted our #socialstudiochat on "Setting Goals".
Impressions on Twitter are the number of times our Tweets have been delivered to Twitter users timelines and search results.
More spikes! Still not sold? Because of our Twitter chat we also...
- Grew our ideal newsletter subscribers by: 10 people during the chat
- We sold...
Win, win for all! Interested in learning more hosting a successful Twitter chat? >>> How to Host a Successful Twitter Chat
By the way, we'd love to have you join us in our next #socialstudiochat on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 at 6pm PT! We'll be talking all about the power of "Investing In Your Audience" and how it can help you attract the right customers to drive your business goals forward!
5. Creating original high-quality content
One thing we hear often from our audience is that they appreciate our visual aesthetic.
"Just discovered your account, all your photos are beautiful and so full of character!" – @lisavillaume
"You ladies have such a fun tribe/vibe!" – @meganmarini
"Social Studio has really figured out what works for them. I am legit obsessed with their photos." – Jenn's Trends
We pride ourselves on the ability to constantly set our bar for high-quality images that tell our brand story and allow for our content to rise above the noise. If you're interested in learning how to create eye-catching images for your brand, check out our online course >>> Photography 101 + Photo Styling.
7. Keeping an eye on our analytics
Monitoring your social analytics for each platform will allow you to see how well your content is resonating with your audience. If you're interested in learning more about analytic sites, check out these helpful posts:
6. Quick response time
Social media is all about instant gratification. If your audience is taking the time out of their busy day to interact and talk with you, you should be responding to them as quickly as you can. We have previously recommended that you have a 24 hour response time policy where you ensure that you're answering all questions, comments, and concerns within a day but for 2016, we're going to switch this up a bit! Tune in to our How to Have a Killer 2016 Social Media Strategy course, to find out more!
8. Getting real and getting personable
Another big topic that we cover at our two-day workshop is the power of peeling back the curtain, getting real, and personable with your audience. This year we found the post that had the highest engagement on our platforms were the ones that we either told a story, shared about our team mates, or those posts that celebrated our big business wins.
Here's a few examples...
@jessicaehowell here! About three years ago, I found myself drowning in the corporate world. I would come home from my 9-5 feeling stressed out + undervalued. I would then start my second job which would help pay the bills but also took me to the point of breaking. Most nights ended in tears & screaming matches with my now husband who only wanted to help. One night I just crashed. I had a full on panic attack, was hyperventilating + felt my last bit of sanity slip away. The next day I put in my two weeks, kissed corporate life good bye and took control of my happiness. That day I took a leap of F A I T H and since then, I've never looked back. On 6/16 at 6pm PT we at #socialstudioshop will be hosting a Twitter chat (#socialstudiochat) focused on Taking the Leap of Faith. We'll be talking about what inspired us, obstacles we've overcome + so much more! We'd love for anyone who has journeyed down their own path or are thinking about taking a leap of faith to join us! More details to come!
@jessicaehowell here! I'm honored + excited to be speaking to 100+ local businesses at The #SanDiego Tourism Authority workshop today! I'll be sharing our Five Sure-Fire Ways to Increase Your Instagram Engagement. 👍🏻 ──────────────────── Wish me luck! #coffeejitters P.S this little golden girl might make a little appearance. ♡ Photo | @elanaloo
It's no surprise that these are the posts that tend to outperform others. Social media works when you allow yourself to be human, when you merge the merge the business and professional, and that's when your audience trusts you enough to LISTEN to what you have to say.
Social media works when you allow yourself to be human. (Tweet this!)
1. Playing copycat
Okay, don't get me wrong– we're all about not reinventing the wheel but sometimes the worst thing you can do for your business or blog is to do what someone else is doing. This is something we had to learn the hard way. My best advice for you is to keep an eye on your competition but to use what others are doing only as a basic guideline. We all have our own strengths and special way of doing things. Honor your uniqueness and celebrate what you do differently! Remember what I said earlier about experimenting your way to success? When you focus too much on what others are doing, you'll never have the opportunity to forge your own path.
Even though we preach about this at our two-day workshops, we sometimes forget to walk the walk (we're human too – wink!). One of the most popular questions we're asked is "how often should I post?" I'm sorry to say that I can't give you the end all be all answer because it is different for all! There's a lot of variables that come into play here such as:
- Do you have enough content to be consistent?
- Do you have the time to respond to those interacting with you?
- Do you have enough to say?
But the most important question is, will your audience tolerate it? Find out more here!
3. Not planning ahead
We've all been there. You have something to say but you don't have the content to say it the right way. In fact, right this second I am wondering what image we can use for a post on New Year's Eve (alas, should have planned ahead!). This is not the only time this lack of planning has bitten us in the but this year but let's just say it's on my personal resolutions list to plan wayyy in advance for 2016! Need help staying on top of your social game? Check out our social planner!
4. Relying too much on analytics
Although I did mention this was a strength of ours earlier, this can also be a downfall for us and has been on occasion. You guys know how much we LOVE Iconosquare, Facebook Insights, but sometimes when you fall into a routine of only posting at "optimal times", you loose the opportunity to find new times that could work for you. You also run the risk of never learning new areas of interest for your audience. For example, if I know that "coffee" themed photos perform really well for us on Instagram, then you could make the assumption to only post coffee-focused images moving forward. Although this may work in theory, you need to keep in mind that your audience will continue to grow and transform. Your brand, and yourself will also evolve into bigger and better things so you need to constantly be in a state of experimentation to see what might resonate with your community. What's workingnow, may not be working next month.
5. Forgetting to schedule content
I really have no excuse for this other then, poor time management. If we're havinga crazy week in house, this is one of the first tasks that falls off our plate. (Shakes head)... We know better! When you take the time to schedule your posts, on Facebook, or Instagram for instance, you are allowed the freedom to plan ahead. You can be more intentional with your posts, say exactly what you want to say (in the best way possible), and also have the peace of mind to know that your posts will stay consistent (even if you're out of town!).
As I said earlier, we're all human and I'm sure there will be more "opps" moments that we encounter this next year but hopefully these insights will allow you to make more of the right moves and build your social following with intention + purpose.
Here's to you my fellow dream chasers! May 2016 be your best social year yet!