Strategic content isn’t an exact science. There are best practices here and there for each platform, but the only way to refine your brand’s strategy is through content testing and analysis. Each social media network provides options to share various types of media assets, lengths of copy, and engagement tools such as hashtags. Try out different ways to share your content to discover which one(s) grabs your audience’s attention.
There are 4 essential guidelines to follow when setting up your content testing plan.
- Apples to apples – Once you establish which element you want to test, only test that piece of the post to help produce clear results. For example, let’s say you want to know if a video or static image will have higher engagement. Each post should have the same (or at least very similar) text copy, links and post timing. This will give you a transparent look at whether the media asset was the cause of a change in engagement versus the other potential variables.
- Put a tag on it – Social media scheduling platforms such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social provide a very useful tagging system for your outgoing posts. Suggested tags include the content topic, media asset type, and the placement of a link in the copy. Although these elements are obvious in the post preview, the tags will help you organize and sort your data when producing reports.
- Give it a chance – The algorithm on each platform is a little different when it comes to delivering content to your audience. Just because your post goes live on Tuesday at 1 pm, doesn’t mean your whole audience will see it at that exact moment. As your followers scroll their feeds, it will appear on their screen and hopefully entice them to engage with the post. Once the post starts to see some engagement, another algorithm will kick in and the post will then be seen by the followers of those who have liked, commented, or shared your post. This expansive chain of events doesn’t happen immediately. Allow your posts to be live for at least 48 hours before comparing results so you’re able to see the complete impact.
- Show me the numbers – You’ve created your content to test a specific variable. The post is properly tagged and live on social media for a couple of days. Now, it’s time to peak at the results. Whether you’re using a 3rd-party platform or natively pulling the data from each social media network, you will be able to export the raw numbers in an Excel sheet. This process is highly recommended instead of eye-balling the results in the platform to give you the option to better organize and sort your findings by the engagement, impressions and/or tags.
Take the time and effort to solidify your content strategy by testing the various aspects of your posts. The fluidity of social media platforms produces a challenge when it comes to keeping up post types and algorithms, but knowing what works best for your brand is an efficient way to ensure you’re getting the most out of your content strategy.