Wednesday, 10 June 2015

How Experimentation Increased Our Social Media Engagement

Social Media Engagement Post

Social networks and the best practices for using them evolve at such a rapid pace that it can be difficult to predict what will and won’t work. This is one reason why consistent social media monitoring and adjusting of your social strategy is a must.
Researching audience, testing different tactics, and comparing results against initial assumptions can help you adjust your strategy to better serve your business needs.
We recently decided to do some testing of our own, specifically looking at how industry-related keywords, hashtags, and diverse language impacted engagement.
Over a period of six months, we experimented with how we incorporated these three techniques in the third-party content we curated and shared on PR Newswire’s main social channels.

Keywords
On Facebook and Twitter, posts that contained industry-related keywords such as “how-to,” “infographics” and “press releases” generally outperformed those that used broader terms. Likewise, and not surprising, posts that mentioned larger organization names and public companies had higher engagement.
The engagement numbers confirmed our expectations about the effectiveness of strategic, natural-language keyword use.
For instance, “5 #contentmarketing tricks guaranteed to boost social engagement” was more effective than “Improve your content marketing and increase your social media presence.”
The first tweet did several things right, such as using a number, strong language like “guaranteed to boost,” and a popular and relevant hashtag. We also think that it was advantageous to use “social engagement” instead of “social media.”
There are a lot of posts on Twitter about the broader topic of social media; instead of competing with all of those tweets, this one drilled down into a specific subtopic – engagement.

Hashtags
Unsurprisingly, hashtags increased the discoverability and reach of the posts they were used in. When used appropriately, hashtags can be a helpful tool for organizing and categorizing content across social media.
However, what surprised us is the impact they had across all of PR Newswire’s channels, including Facebook.
Hashtags that drove the most engagement for us included:
  • #contentmarketing
  • #socialmediamarketing
  • #storytelling
  • #Infographic
  • #socialengagement
  • #howto
Not only are these highly searched-for keywords in our industry, but they were also very popular topics for writers.

Diverse Language
Over the last year, Facebook’s search algorithm has placed an increased emphasis on higher quality content that uses natural and diverse language. Heavily advertorial and formulaic writing is no longer effective.
When curating content on Facebook, we looked at diversifying the complexity and style of our writing, as well as the calls to action. What we discovered was that more descriptive, keyword-laden posts tended to perform better than those that were not as descriptive.
Although we thought shorter posts would generally work better on social, on Facebook length didn’t matter. What mattered was giving our audience a solid, specific reason for engaging with a post, regardless of how many characters it took to do it.
With the amount of content that’s published on a daily basis across the Internet, it can be easy for your brand’s message to be lost in your followers’ newsfeeds. Finding a content creation and curation strategy that delivers results is essential. And the only way to do that is to continually track how you’re doing and pivot your tactics accordingly.
Want to learn more about online measurement best practices? Download our white paper Monitoring Your Brand Across the Web.
Co-authored by Ryan Hansen and Melissa Fasano

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