Data and workflow: The (boring) secret to great social content

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That’s how most of your social followers respond to most of your social posts. According to Forrester, 68 percent of US online adults don’t think brands share interesting content on social media. That explains why fewer than 1 percent of companies’ Instagram followers engage with each of their posts. On Facebook, that engagement rate falls to 0.1 percent — meaning just one fan out of every thousand hits the like button or comments or shares.

Uninspiring content can cost you more than just engagement. When your followers don’t interact with your posts, your organic reach suffers: Right now, most companies say only about 5 percent of their fans see each Facebook post.

Fortunately, savvy brands have discovered a strategy to keep their social followers interested, increase their post engagement rate, and drive up their organic reach — all while saving them time and effort.

The surprise? That strategy will probably make you yawn instead of your followers.

It turns out the secret to great social content is not hiring the most creative people or dedicating the most time to content creation. The secret to making great social content is building a great workflow.

Step 1: Analyze what already works for your brand

Your intuition and experience are invaluable tools. (They are probably why you got your job!) But when it comes to making great content, they can only take you so far.

Rather than relying on your gut, use hard data to improve your content’s reach and impact. Review your past six months of social posts to learn:

By connecting Adobe Analytics to a social media management tool like Hootsuite, you can really dig deep — and even learn which variables work best on which social platforms. According to Emily Wenzler, head of Premier Tech Partner Sales, “Understanding what images, text, and scheduling work best for your brand and your audience will give your social content an instant lift. There’s no better way to improve social performance.”

Step 2: Don’t reinvent the wheel every day

If you (or your social media managers) spend hours each day browsing social platforms and dreaming up content ideas, you are not alone.

Not only do most top companies use most social platforms — they maintain profiles for different brands, products, and geographies. The result: As many as 178 social media accounts per company. Some brands publish more than 10,000 social posts per year. Little wonder so many social media managers are struggling with burnout.

But you don’t need to create thousands of original social posts every year. In fact, successful social marketers make a point of not starting from scratch each morning. You can repost content that’s performed well in the past. You can repurpose copy and images from successful marketing emails. And best of all, you can tap into your company’s library of branded assets.

Connecting your brand’s social accounts to your digital asset management tool gives you access to a treasure trove of great pre-approved content. Need an image of happy customers? Copy that explains your brand values? A video that demonstrates your product’s benefits? Adobe Experience Manager Assets probably has what you need — and can import those assets right into your Hootsuite dashboard.

Step 3: Make sure your posts include visual assets

The media industry’s famous “pivot to video” may not have worked for publishers — but it certainly does work for brands. As Twitter says, “Today’s audiences are hungry for a visual experience.” That’s why people are three times more likely to engage with social posts that contain visual content like videos, images, and animated GIFs.

Once again, turn to your company’s digital assets manager to find pre-approved branded visuals. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, Hootsuite can help you find the right image or graphic from Adobe Stock’s millions of assets.

And when you post a video to social media, make sure video captions are part of your workflow. Not only do captions make videos accessible to people with disabilities — but because the overwhelming majority of users browse social media with their sound off, captions also drastically improve performance. In fact, research has shown that captions increase Facebook video view time by 12 percent and clickthrough's by 35 percent.

Step 4: Keep testing and learning

The best social marketers never stop learning. So don’t just look back at your past social posts: Keep reviewing your changes and improvements to look for incremental gains.

This is where your intuition and experience come back to the fore. Think you know how to improve performance with subtle changes to your language? Have an idea for a graphic you think will generate better results than what you’ve posted before? Run the test — and let Adobe Analytics tell you if your hunch was right.

In the end, workflow wins

If you can hire creative geniuses, or teams with thousands of hours for researching and developing social posts, you don’t need help creating great content. But if you are like most brands, a good workflow is the answer.

Companies that analyze what has worked in the past, avoid reinventing the wheel every day, include visual assets in their posts, and keep testing and learning are the ones that keep their audiences engaged — and the ones that succeed in social marketing.