When it comes to business-driving content marketing, social media is a game of trial and error. You owe it to yourself to manipulate the system as often as possible. No, I’m not talking about buying likes or followers. I’m talking about putting your material in a position to be liked, shared, and discussed for longer than the average post’s newsfeed lifespan.
It isn’t uncommon for great content to go unnoticed. The initial rush of “people are going to love this shit,” followed by the inevitable “is anybody out there even listening” feeling sets in on a regular basis. It happens to all of us.
This being said, we can’t just let our hard work get buried in the feed and die. We put a whole lot of thought, time and energy into the blogs we prepare, images we craft for Instagram, and video tutorials we record. Let’s put a plan in motion that supports our endeavor beyond the initial clicking of “post.”
Today I want to share a four under appreciated yet simple and actionable strategies I use on a regular basis to ensure maximum content engagement on my material. Once you understand the rules of the feed, you’ll find maneuvers that can help all of your content perform better moving forward.
- Timing is Everything
I drive the bulk of my personal blogging traffic through initial Facebook posts. I publish on Thursday’s, and typically target a mid-day blog announcement that will put my material in the feed of east-coast viewers as they sit down for their lunch breaks, and west-coast readers as they’re enjoying their morning coffee. I think strategically about maximizing the effectiveness of my post timing because I know that publishing at 5:00pm EST means that throughout the country, my target audience of trainers and gym owners is all but guaranteed to be taking care of clients, and blissfully unaware of the life-changing stuff I’ve just dropped onto their newsfeed.
On the days that I haven’t got my shit together for a mid-day post (today, for example), I will opt for a 9:00pm EST publish time for essentially the same reasons outlined above. In short, you need to think about when it is that you find yourself most likely to be fucking around on Facebook, and assume that your readers are doing the same. Don’t rush to get your freshly edited material up and announced if it isn’t an optimal hour of the day.
Once you’ve officially announced the amazing new insights you have to share, think strategically about how you engage with the feedback. For starters, ALWAYS respond to every comment you receive. Good or bad, feedback leads to consistent content engagement. However, before replying, think about hitting the pause button on your response.
Every time you respond to a Facebook comment on your post, you have the opportunity to bring your material to the top of people’s News Feeds. By tagging the person you are speaking to, you can ensure that your work and the conversation that followed pops back on to the radar of your “friends,” and those of the person you’re engaging with. If a friend is kind enough to say “great stuff” in the comment section and shares your post, set a reminder on your phone for two or three hours later to respond. Otherwise, you’re missing an opportunity to extend the presence of your content on everyone’s radar organically.
- Early Engagement Helps
According to Buffer’s Science of Social Media Podcast, Facebook’s algorithm is designed to drive material that is most likely to be shared and discussed to the top of everyone’s feed. This is partially impacted by the initial reaction to your post. Material that grabs a handful of “likes” quickly typically performs better because Facebook see’s the activity and strategically “pushes” it further.
Knowing this, the CSP team games the system a little bit by strategically accumulating a handful of easy likes each time we post. It isn’t uncommon for me, Nancy, Frank or Tony to fire off a quick group text saying “posting a new blog in ten minutes…” with the understanding that we’re all happy to help each other out with that first few clicks that will ultimately convince Facebook to keep our post “top of mind” with our audience.
- Nothing Wrong With Trying Again
Assuming you’re not publishing material that is so offensive that people are inclined to screen-grab it and share as evidence of your idiocy, you have the freedom to delete and start over as often as you’d like.
Maybe you haven’t activated your Instagram to business account status (you should) and didn’t realize the analytics tool tells you exactly what time your biggest audience is daily. Maybe you tweeted something great at roughly the same time that our Twitter-Fiend of a President said something inflammatory that captured everyone’s attention and stole your thunder. Whatever the reason, sometimes your timing just sucks and you owe it to yourself to pull that shit down and try again later.
- Old Content Can Be Revived
Whether we want to admit it or not, we’re all trying to increase our following on a daily basis. After all, more followers means more eyes on our material, which theoretically means more dollars rolling into our bank accounts some time down the road. Since every single one of us started with zero followers, and the material we published in our “early days” served as the cat nip that attracted the followers we have today, why not revisit some of our oldest “stuff” and repost on occasion?
If you have 5,000 twitter followers today, there’s a pretty good chance that 4,800 of them didn’t scroll through all of your previous tweets after deciding to follow you. Remember, old content can feel new to a considerable portion of your audience. If you’ve been particularly active on Twitter over the years, consider downloading your archive of material and scanning it for opportunities to revive ideas/posts/etc.
I get it…
I understand that you hate the idea of promoting yourself on social media. Unless you’re an ego-maniac, it should feel a little bit “off” intentionally pushing yourself onto everyone’s radar. This being said, sometimes we need to step outside of our comfort zone and remember that we’re publishing material that we believe to be beneficial to our audience and clients. We should never be apologetic for providing value in this manner.
Start strategically manipulating the social media platforms you’re active on today using the tips outlined above and you just may find that more people find value in your material than you ever expected.