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  • Writer's pictureDavid Coggin

5 Ways To Up Your Social Media Game In 2021

2021 has arrived. And frankly, it's not looking much different to 2020.

I attended - as is becoming the norm - a zoom webinar last week from challenger agency Good Thinking. During their event, they put up a live poll which asked 'how are your social campaigns performing now vs pre-pandemic?".

37% said "better" with 30% saying "the same".

And it got me thinking if our social campaigns are doing the same if not better during a pandemic, then there's obviously an important place for marketing right now, maybe even more so than before?

Social media isn't going anywhere soon and now more than ever it's being used to connect people. And with stats like this one from Social Bakers- 'Ecommerce spending on Facebook grows 57%' - as a business you'd be crazy to not have social media as part of your revenue strategy in 2021. But saying and doing are two different things and many still don't know exactly how to execute such a strategy. So, here are 5 tips to upping your social game this year...

1. Be More Human.

I'm sure you've heard this a dozen times but let me say it again. Be more human.

Social media connects people and that connection to other humans has never been more important, at least not in my lifetime. It's as simple as this: People respond to people. Having spent almost a year working from home on Teams calls and the ongoing battle with getting dressed in the morning, I've found that all the corporate etiquette is out the window. We have found a common ground in our vulnerability of letting colleagues see the state of our spare bedroom and I think it's opening us up to a more forgiving, human world.

Drop the corporate tone and move towards a conversational approach. People want authenticity and transparency, they want to know who the people behind the company are and what their stories are. But most of all, they want to find common ground.

2. Engage With Your Audience The Right Way.

Engagement is key to growth on social media. It's a method that is vital for any business looking to expand its network and brand awareness organically. But it's often done in the wrong way, leading to wasted time and poor results.

I've heard people say that you should spend an hour a day liking as many posts as possible or commenting as much as you can and while this is important, it's not entirely successful. You see, what makes a difference here is the accounts you are engaging with. There is no point liking a hundred pictures on Instagram or commenting on fifty Linkedin posts if the people posting that content have no interest in what you as a business are selling/providing.

Research plays a big role here. Know who your competitors are and what businesses have a similar target audience to you - write a list if you need to. Then look at what these accounts are posting, what hashtags they use, what trends they jump on and most importantly, what is working for them. This will give you some indication of what your target audience are interested in and also who they are.

Your next step is to then engage with that audience. Engage in conversations, re-share inspiring or useful posts, tag other brands who share the same values, like, comment and be present. People won't come to you unless you show up and show them you exist.

3. Tap Into User Generated Content (UGC)

I'm still surprised by the number of people who look dumbfounded when I use this phrase. For something that is so natural for the social media world - Twitter made it one of their main features in 2009 (re-tweeting), it's a strategy that is often forgotten or unknown to many businesses.

User generated content is essentially content created by someone other than you (an Instagram photo, a Linkedin article, a video, etc) which you then use on your own social channels as content. Of course, it's not ripping someone else's work and claiming it as your own, but rather, appreciating the work of others, understanding that it adds value to your own audience and agreeing on use and crediting the owner of said content.

Aside from the obvious plus that it bulks up your content schedule, allowing you to share more with minimal work involved, it's also a great way to boost engagement. It gives you a reason to engage with likeminded individuals and businesses, increasing your network and brand awareness and it also opens opportunity for collaboration and your own work being shared.

Many businesses find that adding user generated content to their social media schedule improves both engagement and growth of their channels, building an engaged community because they are connecting authentically with their followers by re-sharing their content.

4. Stay Relevant

The world is ever changing and things move fast in digital marketing so it's important to stay relevant. I want to make it clear that I'm not suggesting you jump on all the trends or the latest social channels to hit the market (although TikTok was fun for a while). It's not about being the first person to try out the latest software or posting about trends that have no relevance to you, it's about adopting a growth mindset and being adaptable to fast-paced change.

Often, people get in a workflow rhythm and it becomes comfortable. You know your grind and you're pretty good at it. It delivers results and does the job but is it pushing your brand forward?

It pays to work in an agile team and look to constantly research, test, and report. For example, If you typically share content in article form on a blog, research new ways to share this content via video or podcast. Test how successful it was- was it more engaging to your audience or not? Report on that and try again.

The same goes for trending topics. You may not be in the business of using cultural trends in your social campaigns, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't. If you'd told Benefit Cosmetics that they'd be using Bernie Sanders in their social content this year I doubt they would have believed you, but here we are along with many other brands who used the meme as a light hearted way to entertain their followers.

5. Data Knows Best

Social media marketing is all about pretty pictures and emotive campaigns right? Nope!

Data knows best and your social strategy should be driven by numbers. I realise no one gets excited about spreadsheets but it's not all doom and gloom in the world of data. At Social Llama Marketing, we use Google Data Studio to track and report on our performance. GDS. allows us to create aesthetically pleasing dashboards and track all the metrics we need to be reporting on.

It's important to make goals. What percentage of growth are you aiming for in Q1? What do you want your ROAS (return on ad spend) to look like? What should your YoY growth figures looks like? Setting goals will help you track and measure success. If you don't meet those goals, at least you've learnt something along the way which will help you set more realistic goals for the next period.

Lastly, don't rely on vanity metrics. I'm talking about those numbers you actually see on posts; likes, comments, shares. While these give you a good indication of how well each post is performing, they don't give you the whole picture and won't help you learn how to create impactful or measurable marketing campaigns. It's important to dig a little deeper to find the actionable metrics you should be tracking. Look for metrics like impressions, bounce rate, social shares and engagement rate.

This is just a brief overview of five things to consider for your digital marketing this year. This list could go on and on but I'm almost certain you'd be bored of reading if I carried on. So instead, I'd like to invite you to continue the conversation with me over a cuppa.

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