With 2016 on the immediate horizon, now is a perfect time to reflect on lessons from the previous year, but also to look ahead and think about what can be improved in 2016. We’ve asked a mix of industry professionals, as well as looked at emerging technologies and best practices in order to give you an idea of what you could be trying to achieve with your social profiles in 2016. All of these can, in some way, be put into measurable plans which can be modified depending on your social media strategy.
1. Gain A Deeper Understanding Of Audience Personalities
A solid understanding of the personality traits of your audience can help inform your creative output, build well-rounded audience personas, and identify how certain segments are likely to act. With Twitter being an open network where people post with character, honesty, and about their interests, it’s a great place to analyse segments of your target audience to understand their personality insights. To demonstrate, we recently did some analysis on the people who engaged with some of 2014’s major Christmas campaigns. They include insights such as:
- People responding to John Lewis’ Christmas campaign display higher levels of empathy than the average UK Twitter user.
- Those who interacted with Marks & Spencer’s campaign look for ‘excitement’ in products 5.9% more than the rest of the UK.
- Out of all the retailers we analysed, Aldi’s campaign resonated with the most altruistic and adventurous audience.
While these are primarily relevant for the brands, and potentially their competitors, seeking similar information about your audience is a truly valuable ongoing exercise.
2. Use Twitter For Experimentation & Share Successes Internally
A flexible marketing team will be able to take things that have succeeded on social, and adapt them for wider campaigns where appropriate. So a smart practice to implement would be to establish a regular method of feeding back what’s been working to help assist the wider marketing team with plans going forward. This can only be achieved by experimenting with different on-brand content and posts. A high profile example of this was Innocent’s cross-channel campaign for the iPhone 6 launch, which started with a Tweet.
“Twitter is a great testing ground for content. We can take some of our successes and give ten ideas to our marketing team to see what we could try elsewhere. We created a spoof iPhone 6 ad for Twitter to tie in with Apple’s iPhone 6 launch announcement last year. It did really well, so two weeks later, on the day the phone launched in store in we took that exact same content and put it into an ad in the Metro. We also turned it into a sampling campaign, handing out bottles of our apple juice to the queues of people waiting to buy the phone in central London. Photos of the Metro ad ended up online on hugely popular sites like imgur and The Lad Bible. Even Alan Sugar retweeted it!”
Joe McEwan, Head of Digital & Communities, Innocent (full interview here)
— TheLADbible (@TheLadBible) September 19, 2014
3. Increase Your Response Rate And/Or Decrease Your Response Time
The most responsive brand on Twitter (officially Xbox’s support account) was shown to respond to customer queries in an average time of 2 minutes and 42 seconds. We reckon it’s something to do with them having fast hands from years of computer gaming (although they give more detail here). While this isn’t necessarily an achievable feat for every major brand, it highlights the increasing expectations for brands to be accessible on social media.
“It is so important to always be interacting in real time, keeping track of mentions by searching your brand name and relevant terms. You need to know what people are saying about your brand, positive and negative and this can be done on Twitter, using advanced search, and Facebook now thanks to graph search. People appreciate that a brand is acknowledging what they have to say and more than often this will help increase brand loyalty.”
Chandni Trehan, Marketing & PR, Chillisauce
4. Build An Evergreen Social Strategy
Across social media we have seen the prominence of images, the popularity of good infographics, and Twitter cards delivering an increasing number of ways for audiences to engage with you. With these developments, the importance of delivering high quality content will only grow in 2016. While it’s recommended that you have people on your team to create up-to-date content, it’s worth taking the time to produce content which has a long shelf life and can be used every few months with a different hook. On average, your second posting of some content will receive 86% of the engagement that your first post received. A smart strategy with evergreen content can represent a serious amount of traffic, leads generated, or other key metrics, for very little extra effort.
“In 2016 one of the things we want to do is look at our evergreen strategy on Twitter, and how it can be integrated with their native offerings. One example would be the lead gen cards, to see how effective they are at driving longer-term engagement with our brand.”
Alissa Clauson, New Media & Social Engagement Manager, Porsche Cars North America
5. Create & Maintain Your Ratio Of Sales Messages
For the majority of brands on social, an element of selling is allowed, and individuals can build a social selling strategy too. But the right amount will vary depending on your brand, and most of your social content should have a goal of helping your audience in some way, entertaining them, or informing about things related to them.
“In 2016 brands need to be constantly thinking about what they can give to their audience on their social channels. The majority of people don’t necessarily want to interact with brands and receive sales messages, but the more the brands will add something worthwhile to their social channels then the more open people become to engaging with them. There’s the famous theory from Gary Vaynerchuk of “jab, jab, jab, right hook”, that if you keep on providing something for your audience (jabs) then they’re not going to mind if you slip a little salesy post (right hooks) in there every now and again. Brands need to look at how to do that, and this could be a place where data can help too.”
Ashley B. Jones, Director Of Business Strategy, The Social Chain
6. Implement Behavioural Economics Into Your Tweets
Every word counts when you’ve got 140 characters to work with. Small tweaks in the wording can make the difference between a Tweet getting a very ordinary response, and hitting the critical mass of engagement for a viral success. It can make the difference between a viewer thinking “that looks nice” and “I’ll buy it!” So why not get in the habit of analysing the precise wording on your Tweets, perhaps coming up with a few different ideas before hitting post.
When we spoke to Greg Allum from British Gas, he told us how he’d been using behavioural economics to change the way people interact with their posts.
“On a basic level, we’d take a post that may say something generic like “how will skills affect the future of our industry” and tweak the words into something more positive like “what skills do our children need to be successful?”. The focus is changed to something more emotive, but we’ve also taken the verb ‘affect’ and replaced it with the positive idea of ‘success’. We saw a massive change with these adaptations, in a similar example we got 50% more engagement and boosted sentiment by 40% as well as relevancy of response increasing. For organic Tweets this is important, but I make sure we think about every word from this standpoint on our Promoted Tweets.”
Greg Allum, Social Media Manager, British Gas
7. Look At Ways To Implement Polls To Nurture Audience Relationships
Twitter’s new poll feature has the potential to be a valuable tool in creating an audience that regularly and willingly connects with your brand. They’re easy to use, and are worth including in your repertoire in the future. To give you some inspiration, these brands are already using them in a mix of interesting ways.
“I think more brands should start using Twitter Polls to really get their followers involved and let them know their opinion is being heard. So at Chillisauce we’ll be looking at things like asking them about new destinations we may be launching, what future blog posts they want to see etc. It’s a brilliant addition to twitter and I would love to utilise it within our social media strategy, because having a very engaged and active community within your existing followers is something I am eager to build on in 2016.”
Chandni Trehan, Marketing & PR, Chillisauce
These are just a few of the measurable, and achievable things you can implement into your social strategy in 2016. What are you hoping to work on, do more of, or start doing in the following 12 months?