I have been really worried lately hearing my prospective customer’s perspective on the life of a social media post. They have a strong opinion that it is just a matter of few minutes before any post goes off the timelines. So why they should invest more especially in an expensive content format like videos?
Is it worth the ROI?
Honestly, for a moment I was taken aback and I had no clue what to tell them or how to convince them. Yes, this was the story a year back but then I went back to my battlefield of marketing and did some experiments consistently.
I think it's a myth, I believe that anything which goes on the internet has a lifetime value. If optimised well, it becomes part of the searches on a continuous basis. The life of your content also depends on what you post, on which social media channel, at what time, and finally how you promote it.
The algorithm of social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is designed to show the most relevant and helpful posts to their users. The platforms understand audience behavior and content consumption patterns to customize their newsfeed. Besides that, social posts with higher engagement are always given priority. Every time a post gets likes, comments, and shares, it gets reactivated in the timeline.
Studies have also shown that social posts which are more visual, such as images, videos, and live videos tend to get better traction/engagement and are thus given preference. Quality content will always create a win-win situation for you and your target audience.
Social platforms also prefer native content as opposed to content that is previously published on other platforms such as YouTube. So posting a video directly on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter will always get you more visibility as opposed to sharing a YouTube link.
The more you understand your audience, therefore, while ensuring a high level of engagement on your posts, will help you to get recurring results from each of them. Let’s understand how you can make that happen:
The best way to extend the life of your social media posts is to optimize them for search. Look for common search queries in your niche using tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest.
You can find trending content in a tool like Buzzsumo. It shows which posts in your niche are getting a high level of social shares:
Posts that answer some of these common audience queries and are optimized for these terms, will continue to show up in search results for months and years to come (or even more), thus adding to their visibility among your target audience.
A hashtag is a key phrase that has a hash(#) symbol before it. You can use them within your social media posts. People also use social media channels for searching content, Hashtags are the best way to help your post show up in social search results. They make it easy for social media audiences to find the content of their interest.
Studies have shown that you should ideally use 1-2 hashtags on Facebook and Twitter to get a higher engagement. On Instagram however, the higher the number of hashtags, higher will be the engagement. You can make use of hashtag research tools like Hashtagify.me, RiteTag and Keyhole to find popular hashtags in your niche. Also, its a good idea to form some of your unique hashtags and always use them for your post. The strategy will help you to get staunch followers of your unique hashtags.
Here is an example of how we use Hashtags on our social media posts. We were sharing a post about video marketing and so we used a relevant hashtag within the post.
You can make use of social tagging on all social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. This makes your post appear in the newsfeed of those who you tag and widens its reach. Whenever I publish a post on my LinkedIn profile, I make sure I have tagged some of those in my network who I have a strong relationship with. I inform them before tagging them.
One more thing that works for me is I always ask those I tag to add comments and inputs. This ensures higher engagement for my post while giving them visibility in my network thus benefiting everyone in some way or the other.
Once my post starts doing well, I also tag more people in the comments section - this revives the post and improves its visibility and engagement. Take a look at the following of a LinkedIn post that I had published. I have used tagging in the post caption as well as made use of tagging in comments to renew the engagement on the post.
It’s a good strategy to always ask for inputs from those in your network who you think are experts in the topic of your post. This will not just add to the overall value the conversation is adding for the audience but also give those who you tag an opportunity to voice their opinion and get visibility.
According to my experience, I can tell you that while targeting a B2B audience on LinkedIn, morning times are the best to get the maximum reach. If on the other hand, you are posting on Facebook for a B2B audience then your reach would be higher after office hours or on weekdays and on weekends. You can also check out this study by Co-Schedule on the accurate times to publish your posts.
Once you know which content formats and posts are working for you, you can run paid campaigns to achieve even higher engagement and conversions from those posts.
The best way to choose the right format (Such as text, image, link, video) for your social media posts is to analyze the engagement level on each and choose the one with the highest engagement. The following screenshot shows some of my recent LinkedIn posts.
As you can see in the screenshot the first post is a video got an average engagement of 2.55% while the third one which was an image got an average engagement of just 0.28%. For me, video content has always performed better than text and image-based posts. Higher engagement would naturally convert into higher CTR and more conversions for your business.
The above screenshot also shows that I’m running a paid remarketing campaign for the first post with higher engagement. This way you can go to your social analytics dashboard to figure out which posts are doing well and boost them with a paid campaign.
This way you can convert your social media posts to jewels that would get you leads and conversions for as long as you wish to.
While in earlier days of TV, Print and Radio advertising it was hard to measure the results of advertising campaigns. Times have changed now and every social media channel provides you with in-built metrics of each and every post you publish.
To improve the lifetime value of your posts, you must measure the return you are getting from each. It will help you to analyze which type of posts are doing better and improve the outcomes.
Many businesses fail to understand the right metrics they must be tracking on social media. At times they feel that if a particular post is getting the views then it will automatically get customers as well. You must know that each result must be correlated with a predefined objective to be able to judge the ROI effectively.
Also, stats for b2b and b2c companies work very differently, you can expect b2c posts to have at least 10 times the results of b2b because of the sheer difference between the scale at which they work.
Each social media post you add on your business pages will have a specific objective such as awareness, conversions, and retention depending on the stage of the buyer’s journey. You can read this post on video content strategy to get an in-depth understanding of the kind of content that you should create for each of the stages of the customer buying cycle. Take a look at some of the examples of social posts for each stage and relevant metrics.
1. For awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, you would need to track the reach, shares, and impressions of your posts. Take a look at this example:
I added this post to target those of my target audience who are in the Awareness stage of the buying cycle. Since it is educational and does not directly talk about my industry (that is animation videos), all I wish to track from this post is the views and the shares.
2. For consideration stage of the buyer’s journey, you would be focussing on tracking engagement (likes, shares, and comments) and Marketing Qualified Leads from your posts. A Marketing Qualified Lead is a lead that has a higher chance of converting into an actual customer. Take a look this example of a post I published for the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey:
In this example, I am talking to an audience who is aware of an existing problem and would wish to consider the right solution for it. In this case, I will be tracking the engagement that is coming from the post, and the leads which can be tracked in any marketing automation software like HubSpot in our case.
If you are using a free analytics tool from Google (Google Analytics) to track the traffic, engagement and leads on your site, you can utilize UTM parameters to track the performance of each of your social posts.
You can create a UTM link with the help of this tool from Google - Campaign URL Builder
If you don’t know what UTM Parameters are and how you can track the performance of each of your social posts via UTM parameters, this short video from Kissmetrics can help you understand everything about UTM Parameters.
Bonus Tip: UTM links also work with shortened URLs. So if you don’t want to publish those long and ugly URLs in your social posts, you can use Google's URL shortener built into their Campaign URL Builder tool (screenshot below) to shorten the link for your social posts.
3. For decision stage of the buyer’s journey, the metric to track would be actual business conversions. At this stage our prospective customer is comparing us to other competitors, so we need to provide them all the content which helps them to take the decision in our favor.
As an example, we had put up this case study of our recent customer on LinkedIn for our potential customers to understand how we approached that particular client, which will give them insight into our process and also the confidence required to take the next steps. Again our marketing automation platform Hubspot tracks which content interaction led an SQL (sales qualified lead) to the final customer.
4. And finally, for retention stage, you need to track the number of repeat purchases from your existing customers. Take a look at this example of a post meant for existing customers of Starbucks:
So here the CTA is 'Download The App', so we can measure the number of downloads which was directed by this post which help us determine the ROI.
You can track the lead/conversions from each of your posts in consideration, decision and retention stages of the buying cycle respectively. For these type of posts, you will be sharing a link to your landing page where the prospects can fill in their details and/or make a purchase. You can either set up goals in your Google Analytics account or use a tracking URL to track which post has helped you get how many leads and conversions.
Before you measure the ROI from each of your social media posts, you must define your goals for each of the post types. You can create benchmark metrics by tracking some of the social metrics of your competitors and from your own experience. You can then do a cost-benefit analysis of each of your posts on the basis of these objectives.
Well, I sincerely hope using the tips shared in this post, you can now go back and improve the lifetime value of your social media posts. Also, please learn to categorize your content across customer buying cycle and accordingly set your goals to measure it right.
Have more ideas on how to get more out of social media posts? I would love to know your inputs and suggestions. Please feel free to add them in the comments section below and learn from each other.