In order to maximize your social media marketing process, you need to conduct tests. You can't know what your audience responds best to without trying different content formats, for example, you can't know the best times to post to reach your specific target market, or the best image types and hashtags, without experimenting to see what actually works.
But how to do you know what's effective and what's not? How long should you conduct a test for, and what's an effective study size? Also, what are the variables which can significantly skew your results, and ruin your data?
This is the focus of the latest guide from Facebook, which looks at a range of common testing problems, and outlines steps to help you avoid or overcome each.
As explained by Facebook:
"It's natural to hope all experiments will go smoothly, but the unexpected can occur. While unforeseen testing problems may seem detrimental, they also offer opportunities for marketers to learn."
Facebook's 16-page "Guide to Testing and Learning with Incrementality Measurement" outlines six common testing errors, including sample size concerns, how outliers can skew your data and issues with non-defined variables.
Admittedly, it's not the most exciting content, but the insights will help you improve your audience tests, and your overall understanding, which will ensure your subsequent strategic decisions are based on real-world evidence, not on hunches or generalized guides.
That's really the key here. There's any number of blog posts online which will give you a general overview of how to do digital marketing right, but the real truth is that individual results can, and will, vary. For example, video is the best performing content type on every social platform - but is it what your audience will respond to best? Research might show that shorter Facebook posts generally perform better - is that true for followers?
The only way to know is to conduct your own experiments, and this guide will help ensure that your testing accounts for some of the more common errors, and avoids flawed outcomes.
Given this, it's definitely worth a look - if you're a social media manager who takes his or her job seriously, understanding effective testing, and the ways in which you can slip-up, really is key.
You can download Facebook's "Guide to Testing and Learning with Incrementality Measurement" here.