Guest Post by Jim Xu. Jim is a first year intended Economics and Business Administration double major undergraduate student at UC Berkeley. You can connect with Mike on LinkedIn .
The Story…Or Rather, the Lack Thereof
Social media marketing has become the craze of modern marketing. As various platforms of social media dominate our society’s younger generations’ lives (I admit it; I am guilty), businesses, old and new, established and startups, big and small, rush in an attempt to seize our attention through a much more perverse and diverse channel of communication. While many businesses have the luxury of hiring public relations and marketing specialists that can handle social media extremely effectively, many others, startups, small businesses, and companies that sell utility products especially, do not tailor enough resources for optimal social media presence. Many do attempt to manage social media without help, but often, the reach is too low despite reasonably relevant contents.
Social Media 101
As a marketer and youth myself, I pay an unhealthily close attention to how I present myself on social media as well as what types of contents I push out. A millennial, I am also the ideal consumer most businesses target today. In other words, social media revolves around my life, the lives of many other millennials around my age, as well as most of the businesses looking to sell to us. For the sake of simplifying and facilitating discussions, I will be referring to Facebook as the main social media platform since there are so many different types of contents available to be posted on Facebook. There are five main types of contents:
- Videos. Recently, Facebook has integrated the 360 Degrees View, which incorporates a sense of virtual reality in certain videos.
- Written posts.
- External links.
When I am posting for a page, I keep in mind the type of content I post. The more visual it is, the more engagement (number of “Likes,” comments, and variety of reactions) it garners because it physically pulls users to examine the content. This is what I call the “social media funnel,” a ranking that exists to organize the types of content. The power to gain engagement, based on statistics alone, is the strongest with videos, then photos, then shares, then either written posts or external links. However, good content, no matter what type, will always generate a good amount of engagement to the right people. A long, emotionally written post will be more powerful than a mediocre, cliched video. The main takeaway is that the composition of the content being pushed out is always more important than the type of content.
Art of Spamming
Social media presents a couple of problems. In one case, because of the interconnectedness of people on social media as well as the vast and diverse array of users, newsfeeds are often spammy, filled with irrelevant contents that clog up the few posts that one actually engages in. For example, on Facebook, a user may “Like” many pages or have many friends, but he/she does not view all the sharings because most of them no longer fall under the user’s interest. The other case, in my opinion, is more detrimental: Where pages upload so many contents in a short timeframe that users begin to neglect the contents, then eventually the page itself, simply because the algorithm of Facebook posting does not allow followers to see too much new posts at real time unless one turns on notifications (in which very little number of people do). Even though more contents are published, ultimately the page receives so little engagement per post that reach becomes extremely minimized. The act of spamming, however, can be beneficial if done appropriately and intelligently. Say a startup wants to promote a new product launch day. To provide an initial positive image to its target audience, the CEO may contact the design team to create a couple of innovative graphics to update the startup Facebook page’s profile picture and cover picture. Then, the company tells its employees to spread awareness of the launch day through word-of-mouth and their own social media presences by sharing the page or create a personalized depiction of the event. Next, the company creates a Facebook event and encourages all employees and people the employees have interacted with to click “Going” on the event page, further spreading the presence of the event detail on social media. From there on out, the company must decide different contents to be posted on the company’s page and the event page.
Spamming is seemingly simple and unwanted, but it can also be complex and useful. The startup example is a simplified gist of the art of spamming:
- Create physical attractiveness, which can be easily achieved through simple picture graphics.
- Motivate associates to spread information. This allows the subject of interest to spread towards other people unaware about this previously, creating a multiplier effect as one person tells the next.
- Engage outside individuals through levels of connections. By creating the event page, company workers and associates will make the page appear on their feeds, and friends of those individuals will see the page also.
- Diversify contents and types of contents on various pages. Different contents keep users engaged. When diversifying, try to not manage more than four pages, as that can make posting very messy and unorganized.
- EXPERIMENT. Posting on social media is always variegated. Each day is different. Try what works out and what doesn’t. Primary data is the key.