Have you heard the analogy that social media is a bit like a puzzle? You start with a small number of pieces and consistently work toward the bigger picture. While this isn’t a terrible analogy, I like to think of it as a math equation.
But…it was our understanding that there would be no math!
If you haven’t already dismissed this article, I promise that you don’t need to know the Pythagorean theorem to launch a successful social media campaign. What is important to understand is that like a math problem there are constants, variables, and ultimately an end solution with every post or social media campaign.
This is the part where you can choose the red pill to dive a little deeper, or the blue pill where can continue scrolling your life away.
For those that chose the red pill…
Admittedly, when it comes to social media, there are far fewer constants than variables. But there are a few things that we do know, or can understand with a little research(or by simply spending time on the platform). One of the biggest constants for each platform is the structure with which they operate and ultimately the order of operation that you need to follow.
Do they prefer video over text? Is there a character limit within their text field(looking at you Twitter). What is the platform’s preferred image size?
All of these are constants that need to be considered when you are making a post or building your campaign, as they serve as the building blocks from which your math journey begins.
Additionally, which platforms play nice with one another. Clearly Facebook and Instagram offer a seamless integrations, but are there other platforms that co-mingle? YouTube is a great example. And knowing if you will be sharing your YouTube video across other platform will help you plan accordingly, just like PEMDAS.
Find the starting point and move forward. And if you think you got it wrong, don’t ask the people of Facebook, otherwise you will get a million answers, most of which will make a middle school math teacher cringe.
Rather track your steps. If you find that you are constantly backtracking to fix a minor problem, remember that the next time you get ready to post something, essentially storing it in your TI-84.
We could spend an entire article on the variables that come into play with social media platforms, many of which we cannot control. It is an algorithmic world and we are just living in it. All jokes aside, algorithms are a perfect example of variables that each social media marketer must carefully consider. To make matters worse, algorithms are constantly changing.
My best advice is to follow sites like Daily Carnage, where professionals track and report changes within the most popular social media outlets to their audience.
Additionally, we can’t subtract the audience from this section of the equation. The audience is easily the largest variable, because well, people are freaking unpredictable. Trends on social media fall in and out of favor constantly making it difficult to hone your message and drive engagement.
If message X fell flat, but message Y exceeded expectations, find where they are similar and how they differ. Although it can be tedious this is a great way to understand what elicits a response from your audience and how to replicate that over time.
Every social media post has an agenda. Perhaps I should say that again for those in the back of the class. Even if you are just posting an opinion, you are doing so to generate interest and create a response from your audience. For businesses this could be to direct their audience to their website, getting them deeper into the pipeline.
Pieces of this can be expedited through paid advertising, but there is no guarantee that it will generate the best results. For those just starting out, I highly recommend starting out with an organic strategy first. This allows you to save money and dial in your message while growing your audience.
The the truth is that only you know what the end solution needs to be, and you have to be willing to test different variables and try different equations to get the desired results.
The good news is that you don’t have to keep throwing darts, hoping something will stick. Follow the analytics to uncover messages that your audience engaged with, and start dissecting what you did right and what you did wrong.
In the words of my 8th grade math teacher, Mrs. Stansberry – “ALWAYS SHOW YOUR WORK.” It will help you find problems that you might have missed the first time around.