How do you work out which content performs the best on each social channel? By testing, of course.
If you're not testing what kind of content performs best, you may be missing out on great opportunities. Specific types of content can have the potential to generate more traffic and engagement than others - for example, your followers might respond better to videos than infographics.
The type of content is just one piece of the puzzle to test, though - many other elements make up your social media content strategy that should be tested and optimized as well. This includes calls to action, posting times, and other important metrics.
Here are some simple, practical strategies for creating a plan to test your social media content.
Create a testing plan and set goals
Before you get into testing your social media efforts, you need to determine what you want to test, key performance indicators, and your goals.
The elements to test may include:
- Posting times - Certain hours or specific days can result in more engagement or traffic. Built-in analytics on the big social networks will show you which days or hours these tend to be. Create a test by posting more content at different times to determine where you can generate better results.
- Calls to action - Not every call to action will resonate with your audience. When you ask users to click through to an article, leave a comment, or perform any other action, it creates the chance to test a different call to action.
- Visuals - Colors play an important role in marketing psychology. By changing visual elements of social media graphics or embedded posts, for example, you may be able to increase your click-through rates.
- The tone of voice - Audiences prefer to be spoken to in a different way depending on the social network they are using - some prefer professional and formal, while others enjoy a casual tone. Make sure you’re applying the right tone of voice for each social network - then you can tweak it to figure out what your audience responds best to.
You'll also want to set a timeframe for your testing. Typically, the bigger the following that you have, the shorter your tests can be because. they'll result in more data and faster results. Smaller followings may require longer tests to observe noticeable changes.
Once you’ve determined what you’d like to test and for how long, you need to set goals. What's most important for your social media accounts? Key performance indicators may include:
- New followers
- Email opt-ins
- Engagement increase
Record what your current numbers are for each metric, then benchmark them against your testing efforts.
Test on different channels
Nowadays, the average Internet user has accounts on multiple social media platforms, and as such, it’s wise for your business to use multiple social media channels too.
Stay organized and write down the specific variables you’re testing on each of your social networks - some examples:
- Pinterest - Testing infographics and calls to action in post descriptions
- Facebook - Testing videos and a more casual tone
- Instagram - Testing user-generated content, a casual tone, and a new call to action in post captions.
- Linkedin - Testing blog post links and a professional tone
After your testing period has finished, analyze the results. Does one social channel stand out in terms of driving traffic or engagement? If so, there’s a possibility that you could double down on it so you can work smarter, not harder.
Follow recent trends
Every industry has trends, and social media is no different. There are always new strategies that produce great results due to changes in consumer demands and behavior - videos, for example, have risen in popularity in the last couple of years.
You can integrate these trends into your tests, in order to determine how your own followers respond to them.
To find out which trends are being used in your sector, look to industry leaders. Study their social media accounts and make a note of:
- The types of content they’re promoting
- How they speak to their audiences
- Any other unique or creative marketing strategies
Social media marketing is a needed practice for any business, but to generate the best results, you need to perform thorough testing.
It all begins with a detailed testing plan. As noted here, your tests don't have to be overly complex, but its important to get some benchmark measures to compare against, in order to ensure that you're maximizing your efforts, and generating best results.