It’s easy enough to read article after article on general best practices for Social Media. We’ve even posted some of those general best practices here, because they are great guidelines for businesses looking to get started or to enhance their Social Media efforts.
While these general best practices are named so for a reason (they do indeed fare well on Social), there are, of course, exceptions to every rule. Adhering blindly to any practice without monitoring and testing to ensure its best for your audience can often mean plummeting results in engagement or followers.
Businesses and brands who use best practices as initial guidelines only, and move forward to develop their own unique formula for Social usually fare well in the mercurial world of selfies and viral Kickstarter campaigns. Here are some ways I’ve been seeing how non-general-best-practices have been working for clients lately.
1. “Normal” Tweets
Twitter upgraded its platform to be much more visual. In fact, a Twitter feed is now virtually identical to a Facebook feed, with links, photos and videos blended seamlessly together in a single stream.
While this visual experience can make for a richer interaction with your brand, some of our clients are actually seeing better results with “normal” Tweets, or Tweets that are simply statements or questions, with no photos, videos or links attached.
The important thing with normal Tweets is that they contain compelling, shareable or engaging content to help them stand out from photos or videos. Often, they come in the form of a question, a fact, or even just a witty take on a service or brand promise.
2. Tagged Posts and Mentions
Facebook, of course, swings heavily visual, especially with recent updates including more video in feeds. If you’re running a Page on Facebook, however, you’ve probably noticed that even visually compelling posts have taken a nosedive in organic reach.
You’re not alone. Recent algorithm changes have hit Pages hard, meaning that less and less of your content will be seen organically by your fans (the platform is gradually moving toward a world where brands will likely need to pay for, oh, just about any exposure in individual user’s feeds).
However, we have seen some better than average engagement with posts that not only feature a photo, but also tag or mention other businesses or brands in the photo caption or status update. Not only does this tactic seem to push the post a little further into the feed, it can be a great help to fledgling pages that need as much exposure as possible.
Do be careful here, though, to use this tactic in a natural and friendly way, since it can very easily morph into spam.
When sharing photos, especially on Instagram, it’s tempting to overuse enhanced controls and filter options. Sometimes these filters can be used to great effect…and sometimes, well, less is more.
For some of our clients (and even TKG!), we’ve seen higher engagement with photos with no filters, or with filters that only subtly enhance or alter the photo.
While I’m currently monitoring from month to month to check numbers against each other (it’s possible that certain hashtags are coinciding with no filter posts, or that we simply haven’t stumbled upon the “right” filter for our audience yet), it is interesting to note what is working in the present. In a sea of harsh burnouts and overly wide frames, it does appear that simple, well-lit photos are outshining layer after layer of poorly used tilt shift.
Again, best practices are named so for a reason, and they’re always a great place to start for your brand or business. But as the competition to be heard continues to increase on Social Media, it’s more important than ever to closely monitor analytics and insights and adjust general best practices to your best practices.