Social Media Testing: More Than Tweeting and Facebooking

This is an excerpt from “6 Social Media Strategy Tips for Market Leadership“. If you’re interested in downloading the complete e-book, make sure to click on the graphic at the end of the article.

In this post, we are going to discuss the roll out of a social media program. Some of the items that you will need to pay attention to are channels and tools to use, testing methods, and relationship building. Naturally, it will be more tactical.

Create a Communication Schedule

After you have planned what type of content you will produce, this is where you will produce your editorial calendar. You will need to consider all variables within content production and distribution. For example, if you are shooting video, document when production will start, and when the video will be posted. What social channels will the video be posted on?

Integration of Other Channels

You will need to make sure that social media is integrated into all marketing tactics.

Here is a real world example:

You have a 1 year goal of increasing qualified sales leads by 100%. At the top of the funnel you will be creating daily blog posts that will be optimized for search engines and shared on your social network profiles. You will also be guest blogging on other blogs. In the former and latter, at the end of every blog post, you will have a call to action for downloading a premium piece of content like an e-book or a video. After the content is downloaded, a sequence of e-mails will be triggered to nurture the lead through the sales funnel.

To support the process, you will be attending conferences and events where the goal is to collect e-mail addresses, so that you can send them premium content and to get them into the sales funnel. Also you will test pay per click advertising on search engines and social networks.

Test which social networks drive the most engagement, traffic, leads, and sales to your organization over a 1 year period

You will need some type of web analytics program like Google Analytics or Omniture to help you measure website traffic being driven from social media sites. You can then make monetary and time budget decisions based off of this data.

Conduct a/b and multivariate tests on your website and e-mails.

If you want to continue to increase marketing success, the best way to achieve this is by conducting a/b and multivariate testing on your landing pages. The essence of these tests is creating variations of the web page and using testing services to see if the changes result in a lift in leads or other types of performance criteria. A great testing platform is Google Website Optimizer or Visual Website Optimizer.

Testing can also be performed with your e-mail program. Make sure to test subject lines, body copy, time windows, and calls to action.

Test different types of content and timing

While you create your editorial calendar, make sure to account for testing different types of content formats when sharing to social networks. You will never know if one piece of content works better than the other if you’re not testing.

Timing is an important step in reach your audience for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that every company’s audience has different social networking habits. Second, most people do not use social networks during regular hours, so you will have to test different posting times, collect the data, and determine the appropriate time windows for future content distribution.

Test which types of offline marketing activities are best supported by social media (i.e. speaking engagements, workshops, networking events, print advertising, radio, and TV)

Most likely, many offline marketing tactics are easily complimented by social media tactics. For example, events can be live tweeted and blog posts can be written during the event. Lately, you have probably seen social networks being promoted in print, radio, and TV. This is an excellent tactic for building an audience and providing a place to create a deeper relationship with your target market.

Create relationships with a number of bloggers in your industry and narrow down the list over a 1 year period for blogs that drive the most qualified traffic to your website.

Blogger outreach is one of the best ways to establish credibility and drive business growth. The point of this tactic is to access the audience of these influential figures. Their audiences are highly influenced by their endorsements, so it could prove to be the most crucial thing you do in social media. After all, the essence of blogger outreach is being “social” and creating “real relationships”. Just be careful not to be too pushy or go for the quick sale with influential bloggers. They are bombarded with e-mails, link requests, and pitches every day. The best way to look at blogger outreach is the slow and steady route. You’ll win in the end.

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About Nick Robinson

Nick Robinson is the Director of Client Services for Social Media HQ. He has a strong background in web development, marketing, and entrepreneurship. His professional experience with the web dates back to 1997 when he coded his first Geocities website. When not burning the midnight oil, you can find him on the lacrosse field, playing or coaching. The best place to interact with him is Twitter - @socialrobinson or Google+.
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