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“What impact did social media have on our audience’s view of us this year?”

This question is probably on the lips of many digital marketers as we hurtle towards the end of 2022. We know answering this is tough, but many businesses make things even trickier by posting about far too many topics.

The danger of ‘limitless’ social media 

Businesses can obviously, technically, publish as much (paid and organic) content as they like on social media. However, this perceived ‘limitlessness’ can open the floodgates to requests from all corners to feature their product/ service/ message on the social media schedule.

The resulting content calendar might look nice and busy, but when we consider how people consume content in social media (see below), the impact on brand measures can be limited – or even detrimental.

Social media micro-interactions

I define ‘micro-interactions’ as any type of engagement someone makes with your social media content – be that viewing a couple of seconds of video, liking a post, leaving a comment or any other form of interaction.

Now, layer on the fact that people typically only see a small proportion of a business’ overall content plan. We might like to think our audience sees and absorbs everything we publish, but we know the reality is quite different.

Image showing difference between what people think is seen and actually seen in social media

So, the audience has fleeting glimpses of just some of our content. This may sound like doom and gloom, but not so!

Consider these micro-interactions layering on top of each other. Slowly but surely the individual’s mental availability of us grows. But, and this is crucial, only if the messaging is consistent.

As a crude example… let’s say I sell the warmest, sustainably-produced wellington boots… 🥾 (no wellie emoji – whaat!?)

  • Scenario 1: every piece of content I publish references – in one way or another – warmth and/or sustainability
  • Scenario 2: I post about a whole range of interesting things about wellies

In scenario 1, I’m hopeful that someone who – even just occasionally – stumbles across my content will get what I stand for. In scenario 2 the audience will do well to retain anything amongst the noise of social media.

Simple metrics, simple measures

Ultimately, this comes down to keeping things simple when using a fragmented, changing channel such as social media.

It requires you to commit to a clear role for social media and supporting content strategy. But, if you do commit, it makes the measurement part a whole load easier.

“Was our audience more aware of the fact we sell warm and sustainably produced wellies than this time last year?” That’s really what you set out to achieve, not hitting a certain cost per impression, or number of Instagram followers.

Whenever I think about super simple metrics, I always fall back to Beijing’s ‘Blue Sky Days’ measure – a very straightforward, public, way to assess their efforts to reduce pollution.

blue sky

To conclude

When reviewing your social media approach for 2023, can you simplify the role it will play and the messaging it will focus on?

Just because you can talk about as many topics as you like, doesn’t mean you should. In fact, you almost definitely shouldn’t.

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