Eventually everyone’s social media efforts plateau; what once worked doesn’t anymore. Learn how to re-energize your social media strategy whenever it begins to stall.
At this point, most organizations are active on social media. Almost all of the Inc. 500 brands use at least one social media platform to date.
Yet, after a while every company begins to see their progress level out on these channels, no matter how they use them.
Many companies are able to bounce back quickly, while others never duplicate the results they achieved with social media in the past.
To ensure you’re able to bounce back, conduct a social media “redo” to revitalize your unique approach to social media marketing.
This requires your team to take a step back and analyze your existing progress, the challenges you’re facing and identify what opportunities there are to improve your social media use.
With a plan in place, the goal is to take action to rejuvenate your social media presence to achieve the results you’re after.
Here’s what it takes reinvigorate your brand’s approach to social media for the future.
Limit the Likelihood of a Plateau
A number of changes happening on social media at any given time make it impossible for your activity there as a business to remain unaffected.
However, your audience is always changing too as their expectations, preferences, and interests evolve over time.
One of the most effective ways to prevent your results from flatlining entirely is by always remaining aware of your audience and their needs to ensure you’re one step ahead.
“If you are at the table with them, engaged with them, interacting with them, you’ll know when their interests begin to shift.”
This might mean regularly conducting customer interviews to understand their experience with your company, hosting focus groups on a monthly basis, listening to your customer’s conversations on social media, or distributing a survey.
Here the company Fitbit is trying to informally gauge the color preferences of their audience regarding their new products.
This Facebook survey shouldn’t be the only source of data they reference, but it’s a useful starting point for listening to their audience’s input.
Regardless of the medium, collect feedback about your customers to adapt your communication with them, the experiences you’re providing, and your product and service offerings accordingly.
“You may even be able to anticipate or lead them to what’s next,” says Jason Falls.
“But without a strong audience connection, they’ll shift and you’ll never realize it and the plateau happens,” adds Falls. “Stay engaged. Let them lead you just as much as you wish to lead them.”
Change Is Inevitable: Pay Attention
Social media is and always will be in a state of flux, which requires your team to pay attention and remain aware of what’s changing.
“At some point or another, results on social media will naturally plateau due to evolving trends and changes to social algorithms, organizations should try not to be discouraged by this,” says Brian Peters, the digital marketing strategist at Buffer.
To get alerted about what’s changing with the algorithms on each channel, the types of content that perform best per network, and feature set changes that’ll impact your activity, follow all or some of these news sources on social media:
- Blogs Run By Each Social Network:
- Publications Covering Social Media:
Most of these blogs and publications have Twitter and Facebook pages you can follow as well if that’s an easier way to monitor when news of social media updates are released.
Stay ahead of the curve and alter your approach to social media by remaining informed about changes your audience is experiencing as well as any relevant updates to each social network.
“Today, organizations have to be extra thoughtful and creative when it comes to attracting and keeping the attention of online audiences,” says Brian Peters.
Conduct a Win/Loss Analysis
When your results begin to plateau on social media, start by analyzing your progress to date and then the challenges you’re currently facing.
“The first thing an organization can do to revitalize their use of social media is to look at what has worked particularly well for them in the past and get a few feel-good wins on social media,” says Brian Peters.
Review your analytics over the last six months, three months, and month to date to identify spikes in activity that indicated your use of social media drove the results you’re looking for.
Whether you’re referring to Socialbakers, Google Analytics, or Facebook Insights, you want to see what worked before and duplicate those results again or figure out why that approach isn’t working anymore.
For example, let’s say sharing a video twice a week on Instagram drove a majority of the views and comments to your account weekly, but then activity recently started to slow down.
Your team should review the last couple of videos that worked and compare then to the one’s that didn’t perform as well to identify which specific elements were different.
Is the subject covered in your video less engaging than previously? You might discover that a change in the lighting of a video or the length of the caption included made the difference.
Sometimes the changes you’ll need to make to your social media approach will only be minor to impact your results.
Or maybe it’s got nothing to do with your approach and everything to do with changes to Instagram’s algorithm, increased competition, or the introduction of a new feature set?
This might mean you’ve got to alter your approach entirely to get featured in your audience’s newsfeed again.
According to Lilach Bullock, a lead conversion expert and social media specialist, “The best course of action is to analyze your social media activity with a magnifying glass: Why is it stagnating? Why isn’t it working? Why are your competitors getting results while you aren’t?
“With a clear understanding of the new challenges you’re facing, it’ll be easier to develop new realistic and achievable objectives for your social media use.”
All the variables that impact the success of your brand on social media make it difficult to narrow in on where you should be spending your company’s time.
“The more specific you are, the better. Focus on achieving particular goals and then study your results, to understand what works and what doesn’t,” Bullock says.
“This way, you can focus all of your attention on the aspects that matter the most to you and that drive the desired results. A goal can be something like improve Twitter traffic by 20 percent in one month or increase Twitter engagement by 50 percent in two months.”
Consider doing a monthly win/loss analysis per each social network (or marketing channel) you’re active on to understand where your strategy stands to date. Using this template will make it easier to detect any patterns in activity across your social media use.
Be Open to Flipping the Script
After analyzing your wins and losses with social media, it may be clear that it’s time to revamp your entire strategy or alter aspects of what you’ve been doing completely.
The goal here is to start taking action on new opportunities across social media and be open to the process. This takes confidence in your skill set as a marketer to admit it’s time to change, say you might have been wrong, or leave behind a familiar process you’ve relied on.
“The best way to stop and reassess is to promise yourself — and your clients — that nothing is off the table,” says Scott Kleinberg, social media manager, and social media-engagement editor at InvestmentNews in New York.
“Be open to a complete reboot — changing anything and everything if that’s what’s required,” Kleinberg says. “Even the stuff you can do with your eyes closed that you’ve been doing for years is fair game for this exercise.”
He recommends reviewing the topics you are sharing and whether or not they are still resonating with your audience, as well as which social platforms you’re active on. Your topic and channel choices are often the aspects of your strategy that need to be addressed.
Make decisions on which social tactics to add, drop, or revisit based on a healthy balance of your intuition and available data. You need to be confident with both to make the right changes.
Finally, Kleinberg recommends adding a regular reassessment reminder to your calendar to keep the momentum going, which will ensure it gets easier every time.
“If you go into this reassessment with an open mind and strong stomach, you’ll re-emerge smarter than ever,” he added.
It’s an Evolution, Not a Destination
As Kleinberg suggested, your organization needs to do a social media redo on an ongoing basis to remain successful. The same can be said for reviewing your marketing efforts overall, as well as your company’s product offerings.
He’s right. The top performing companies across industries like General Electric, Coca-Cola, Apple, and Disney continue to evolve their overall approach with brand marketing to stay ahead.
“Your strategy is not a one-off; it’s a living thing,” says Wheatland. “These things aren’t static; they’re constantly changing as a result of acquisitions, competitive environments, new product launches, and the like.”
According to Wheatland, having a formal process for strategy reviews forces people to start with recognizing whether what they’re looking for from social is changing, before they start to actually analyze results.
“Revisiting objectives, audiences, channels, formats, etc. is the right starting point for making sense of a leveling-off of success metrics.”
Your organization should continually reassess your social media strategy to account for the continued evolution of these networks and your customer base. The companies that react to the constant changing nature of social media and business overall will endure for the long run.
Which areas of your social media marketing do you think need to be altered? What changes worked to drive continued marketing results for your brand? Let us know over on Twitter @DigitalCurrent.