This is where the idea of growth hacking comes into play. It is a way of using certain tools or data sets in new ways to experience bigger benefits or streamline efforts.
The following 10 hacks will help you determine what is working and what is not, engage with the right people at the right time, and more effectively listen to better engage.
Build a Solid Foundation
First and foremost, in creating a social media strategy, it is key to remember that it starts with business goals. Social media efforts should always support business goals and strategy. Have solid business strategies in place before moving on to a social media strategy.
For instance, if impeccable customer service is a priority in the business, every engagement is an opportunity to display that – including interactions on social media. As such, the plan should address how social media interactions will support this priority.
From there, the skin care professional can develop their brand guidelines for posting and interacting on social media, especially if they have more than one person overseeing the accounts.
Next, create an editorial calendar. This will serve as a guideline for the next six to 12 months on what to post and when. Start by mapping out when events will be hosted, when new products and services will be introduced, or when special promotions will be released. Plug in timely events and themes, such as major holidays or seasons. This will allow the professional to see, for example, that in July, they need to start posting about back-to-school or in late September about pumpkin specials. Creating an editorial calendar will ensure that there is a clear idea of what to post, rather than struggling to find relevant topics to discuss.
Be Everywhere – at Least Initially
The premise behind growth hacking is experimenting with new tactics, measuring the performance of those efforts, and adjusting along the way. With this in mind, when trying to figure out which social network will perform best for the business, utilize several channels.
Facebook may be yielding great results, but are there some customers being left out by not interacting on Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn? Experimenting and testing is the only way to know.
Analyze and Measure
To better manage something, it should be able to be measured. Luckily, most social networks make this easy. Be sure to set up a process for regularly analyzing social efforts by using Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, or other social media analytics tools (like Talkwalker or Mention) to compare engagement and the reach of campaigns. The latter two also provide valuable insights on what the competition is doing.
Checking this data will give clear insights into what is working and what is not. Professionals will be able to pinpoint topics that gain the most engagement, headlines that perform best, optimal times of day to post, and which social networks are delivering the best results.
Professionals may discover that the social network they assumed was driving traffic to their website is actually not performing as well as another. Reviewing Google Analytics and setting up goals within the tool will help to pinpoint what is bringing in the most leads.
Optimize Open Graph Tags
Although this sounds technical and complicated, it is not; it is something that drastically helps to improve traffic from social networks. Open Graph essentially enables websites to integrate with social networks to share information, like blog posts, from that website to the social network. For instance, when reading an interesting blog post on Facebook, without having to leave the website on which it was found, it can easily be shared. That is the handy work of Open Graph.
When Open Graph is not being optimized, pictures on a share may be missing or unrelated. Websites can be specifically set up to avoid this from happening when readers share content on social media.
It is important to note that there are several components that determine a post’s click-worthiness. This includes who posted it, post description, post image, post headline, the URL, and how many others have liked, shared, or commented on it. The post should address those components when readers share blog content to Facebook. The good news is that the professional can control all, except how many shares or likes a post has received.
To do this, have the website developer add Open Graph meta tags to the code on the website or use a simple plugin like WordPress SEO by Yoast or the Facebook Plugin. These are free and allow for the crafting of the title, description, and image for various social networks.
Test, Test, and Repeat
The headline or subject line is one of the most important deciding factors as to whether or not a post is shared or liked. This is often the most challenging part of writing a blog or social post. To help write more engaging headlines, try writing at least 10 to 20 per post. Many of them will end up being discarded, but once it has been narrowed to the top two to three, test them on Twitter. Spread these out over the course of the day or a couple of days. Then, analyze the engagement data in the Twitter Analytics dashboard. Whichever headline received the most clicks should become the new blog post title. This also helps grow search traffic over the long term and ensures that headlines are more eye catching to consumers.
Promote the Top Content
This step goes a level deeper than simply boosting a post on Facebook. It is about analyzing the data on Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Google Analytics, or a tool like Talkwalker to see which post received the most engagement. Once the cream of the crop has been determined, promote those posts to targeted audiences.
Build a highly-targeted audience based on their geography, interests, behaviors, and more. This helps ensure that only the most relevant people see the post and the professional does not overspend on promoting the post. The more popular the post, the less it will cost to promote it.
Use and Optimize Visuals
Social media posts with images tend to get higher engagement than those without. On average, Facebook posts with photographs receive approximately 39 percent higher interaction from users than those without. While any image is better than none, it may not be enough to simply post a static photograph.
Since social platforms began enabling video and motion in the news feed, posts with GIFs and video are now gaining higher click-through rates. Video and animated images used to be something reserved only for those with major marketing budgets or large marketing teams, but now it is accessible to all.
This can be as simple as a short, 20-second video demonstrating a skin care tip or talking about an ingredient, all shot on a smartphone. Videos can also easily be turned into GIFs, thanks to tools like giphy.com.
At the very least, be sure to create variety with the images. If videos or GIFs are not an option, create infographics related to skin care, inspirational quotes, or educational diagrams. Free tools like canva.com help with this as well. Also, be sure that every image fits within the suggested guidelines provided by each social network.
Include Calls to Action
If skin care professionals want their viewers or followers to do something, they have to ask. Simply using words like ‘share,’ ‘comment,’ ‘please retweet,’ and ‘visit’ in the post helps to increase engagement. Be sure to only include these words when it is relevant and in line with the brand.
If the goal is to build the base of followers, one way to do so is by getting influencers in the industry or market to engage with the page. These influencers are people who have amassed large followings based on their level of expertise, entertainment value, or general visibility.
One approach to doing this effectively is referred to as social media 4-1-1. Essentially, for every six pieces of content shared, four should be created by the targeted influencers. One piece should be original content and the last piece should be sales related, such as a product announcement or special promotion.
By sharing content created by target influencers on a regular basis, it helps to make them notice the person sharing their content. This is not an overnight win, but it can yield long-term benefits. Once the skin care professional is on the end user's radar, they will be more likely to share the professional’s content to their followers, provided they like what they see. To find the top influencers, turn to websites like klout.com or followerwonk.com. Followerwonk is just for Twitter, however, there are other tools out there, like Iconosquare for Instagram, or even simple Google searches.
The simplest, yet most often forgotten, growth hack is listening! Of course, social media is a great tool for sharing content and interacting with others, but it is also powerful for gaining insights on customers, the industry, and even competition.
Setting up social-listening programs can also yield a bevy of ideas for blog topics and even marketing tactics. The professional will also be able to respond more rapidly and chime in on relevant topics.
There are a number of robust tools to help automate and manage this process, but the professional can start by thinking about the types of topics and conversations about which they want to stay informed or specific individuals with whom they want to stay engaged. This helps pinpoint keywords. From there, skin care professionals might determine if they want their results limited to a specific geographic region or use certain hashtags or posts from specific people or accounts. Save the search, then set up automations to be kept in the loop anytime that search populates with a result.
They can also set up automated conversation monitoring directly through Twitter by creating a list or using tools like TweetDeck or Hootsuite to compile these conversations into nice, clean columns. Other tools include Talkwalker and Mention, as well as platforms like HubSpot.
Another free option is Google Alerts. This tool will send an e-mail notification any time something appears online about a particular topic or person. However, Google Alerts will not monitor social media. Other automations can also be set up using If This, Then That (IFTTT) or Zapier. These allow for the set up of triggers such as, “If @dermascope posts to Twitter, then e-mail me,” Or “If a photograph is posted to Instagram with #beauty, then send a notification to my phone.”
As your social media strategy for 2016 is planned, these very key hacks should not be overlooked. Taking the time to build a solid foundation, set up automations for listening and monitoring, and regularly analyzing data will help you effectively put social media to work for you, rather than the other way around.
Beth Cochran is founder of Wired PR, a PR and content marketing firm, and SuccessLabr.com, an online source for entrepreneurs to achieve greatness.