How to Test Social Media Engagement in Your Market

We don’t take generally-excepted best practices as the answer so we test a lot at SCUBE. There are few reasons of why we do this:

  1. Every industry is different
  2. Every client is different
  3. Every client is at a different stage in their marketing game
  4. Every social platform is different

More than that, the biggest underlying reason is that in order to improve our clients’ businesses while taking into account all variables, we need to be on top of our game. We always ask ourselves the question: Is this working?

We approach social media in two phases:

  1. Develop a social media strategy
  2. Implement the strategy and revise for optimal performance

In this article, I will cover how to use this medium and the different ways that you can test your social media engagement.

Develop a Social Media Strategy

We start with a strategy. This will be based on several elements such as market research, competitive intelligence, best practices and a set of assumptions.

The strategy results in an editorial calendar, which is scheduled for a month ahead.  The editorial calendar has specific content categories, which we then test. Examples of content include industry specific news, humorous posts, inspirational quotes, questions to the audience, etc.

Implement the Strategy and Revise for Optimal Performance

Once development of the strategy is complete, we implement it and start monitoring the results. We start by reviewing the metrics of content categories and individual posts. We usually look at the number of people reached and their engagement. This gives us validation on our assumptions and allows us to see exactly what’s working and what needs to be changed.

How to Test Content Categories

I’ll give an example of how we tested specific content assumptions for a client in the healthcare education industry. This client’s goal was to build a social media community and generate sales through social media channels.

We developed a strategy with initial content categories that we wanted to test:

  1. Funny/Inspirational Quotes
  2. Testing Practice Questions
  3. Healthcare Content Sharing
  4. Questions
  5. Stories

Upon reviewing the results of the first three months of this client’s social media posts, we found that:

  • Fans were most engaged with funny posts, inspirational quotes, and practice questions.
  • Fan engagement was lower with posts requesting their stories, and shared healthcare content.

This test allowed us to understand the content that engages this audience and we therefore changed our course of action to focus on content that was more likely to elicit social participation and sharing.

How to Determine how Content Is Shared

Another angle to take when testing your social media strategy is to test the ways that the content is shared.

To explain this concept, I will use as an example the same client mentioned above.

One of the assumptions we had was that fans do not like reading long posts and are mostly skim the social channels.  The shorter the captions, the quicker the intended audience can read it, engage upon it and move forward. Here are the test results:

Example 1:

On Facebook, a funny post with the caption of "Stay strong!"

  • Reached 1,000 viewers
  • Had 14 clicks
  • Received a total of 115 likes, comments & shares.

A funny post with the caption "Very true.  If you don't have a sense of humor...you will never survive this line of work!"

  • Reached 254 viewers
  • Had 7 clicks
  • Received a total of 17 likes, comments & shares.

Example 2:

An inspirational quote with the caption "Nurses deserve respect :-)"

  • Reached 249 viewers
  • Had 3 clicks
  • Received a total of 29 likes, comments & shares

An inspiration quote with the caption "We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives." - John F. Kennedy"

  • Reached 90 viewers
  • Had 3 clicks
  • Received a total of 3 likes, comments & shares

Looking at the results from multiple posts, we concluded that shorter image captions reach more viewers and engagement.

The Take-Away

What have we learned from reviewing this client’s Facebook engagement results?

  • Never assume that the information or best practices you find on the Internet are going to work for you. You have to test the practice in your own market, with your own particular audience.
  • Never assume that your strategy is good until you have tested it. Your audience may not be as receptive as you think.
  • Always be open to change and be willing to adjust your approach based on the results of your tests.