In this episode, Katie and Chris discuss the state of social media, and what to think about as you plan your 2022 social media strategy. Listen in as we discuss our own 2022 social media strategies, approaches for things like Tiktok, attribution modeling, and changing the fundamentals of how we use social media itself. Tune in to find out more!
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What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for listening to the episode.
Christopher Penn 0:02
This is In-Ear Insights, the Trust Insights podcast.
The turkeys are gone, the holiday decorations are up.
And it is closing in on the last 18 days of work for the 2021.
And as we roll into December here, one of the big questions that is on a lot of marketers minds, particularly those folks who are searching for stuff like this on YouTube, is about social media management and social media marketing strategies.
So Katie, as you look at our performance for this year, and all the changes that are happening in the social media landscape, the dominance of Tiktok, the rise of decentralized social, the craziness around all that, and obviously the big stuff with big tech, what’s your perspective on social media marketing strategies for 2022?
Katie Robbert 0:59
If we’re talking about us Trust Insights, specifically, you know, social is a really good place for us to make people aware of us, it’s really good for our top of the funnel.
And I think we need to keep thinking about it in that way.
So for example, we have what we call ads, but they’re just organic posts, promoting our company, I’ve rewritten a lot of the messaging to be more introductory versus a hard sell.
Because that’s just not where people are going to go to find out.
How can I hire Trust Insights, they need more information.
And so social is a really great place for us to share our case studies.
And hey, did you know that we have a newsletter Did you know we have a live stream, you know, to sort of make people aware of what it is that we’re doing and the kinds of work that we do.
So in terms of social in our social strategy, in our overall marketing strategy, social squarely sits at the top of the funnel for now, that could change we waited, we start publishing more content on LinkedIn, for example, I know that they allow for newsletters, you know, so it’s not to say that’s exactly how it’s gonna stay.
But moving into next year, social sits right at the top of the funnel, and one of the things that we’re looking at is diversifying our social channels a little bit more from the usual suspects.
And so we’ve made a strong move away from Facebook, which was never really our channel.
Anyway, we have more of a focus on Twitter and LinkedIn, which are more B2B.
But we’ve also started talking about other opportunities on channels like tick tock, just because you know, to the conversation we were having on our last podcast, that’s where the people are.
And so we’re in the process of analyzing the hashtags on tick tock to find out what kinds of videos if we were to publish them? Should we be publishing? Is it an awareness channel? Or is it a retention channel? And so that’s sort of where I’m at with our with Trust Insights, strategy for social moving into next year? What are your thoughts on social Chris? I think
Christopher Penn 3:18
your perspective that social is very much top of the funnel is one of the things we have to unpack a little bit because I think it’s also very much bottom of the funnel on customer retention and things.
If we count stuff like Slack, being a social channel as well, which I would argue it is because it’s without people, there’s really no value to a Slack channel.
And therefore, that makes it inherently social.
So I think there is that that top of the funnel awareness, and then there’s that bottom of the funnel, keep the people that you’ve earned the attention, keep them engaged, keep them keep share of mind with them.
And those two things are things that, you know, as we talked about, I think I was like three episodes ago.
Those have very different measures.
The one thing that I think is a gap for us, and a big question mark for the industry.
Yeah, for the marketing industry overall is how much should you be paying for social media? Right, how much should you be running social ads? Currently our budget zero, right, because we don’t.
And we have dabbled in here and there.
But I think there is there’s obviously something there because companies would not continue to spend billions of dollars on social media advertising if it was completely ineffective.
But at the same time, to your point, where is the there that we should be investing a relatively scarce dollars? And I don’t know that we have an answer for that right now.
When we look at the data for our various customers and clients that we can see.
It’s still very much sort of a big tech landscape.
You know, Google ads, Facebook ads seem to be like the the two Automatic go to is that people seem to just default to Google ads.
Because obviously Google’s machine learning capabilities, really sidestep, I guess a lot of the privacy issues, and Facebook as again, billions of people there.
Katie Robbert 5:18
Facebook’s an interesting one, because it’s also, you know, I think it’s a, it’s a comfort thing, it’s what people have been doing for so long, that branching out into new ad platforms can be a little scary, especially when there’s money involved.
And that’s where you start to get into more of the testing.
You know, maybe you start with a promoted post on Twitter.
You know, platforms like LinkedIn, unfortunately, are still super expensive.
I was talking with someone last week, who was paying $13, a click on LinkedIn, and it just, it’s but they knew what they were signing up for.
And they were willing to invest the money, because they’re seeing such good performance when someone does engage and click on their ads in LinkedIn.
So for them, it made sense because their return on adspend was going to be much better because they were able to convert these people into customers.
For us, we’ve done so little with paid social, that we just don’t know what’s going to work.
We’ve tried a little bit of Facebook, but honestly, not enough that I think we can, you know, with confidence, say, you know, here’s the results.
And here’s what our recommendation is the same thing with Google ads we did so little, that I can’t with confidence, say it works, or it doesn’t.
So I think moving into next year, that’s definitely something that we would want to experiment with a little more, you know, again, maybe boosting a post on Twitter, just to see what happens to see if maybe more people sign up for our newsletter, for example.
Christopher Penn 6:52
Yeah, I think I would agree with that.
When I look at our year to date attribution model, which is something you mentioned at the very beginning, we do see that there is some social stuff into this shared social content on our various social channels is slack is in there, channel wise, there’s LinkedIn, there’s Twitter.
So social is not a zero in terms of conversions delivers, obviously, between organic search and email, those still remain by far the dominant channels for us.
But there is there’s enough there that I think it justifies possibly, like you said, maybe some stuff, sponsor stuff on Twitter and LinkedIn, just to see if we can get newsletter subscribers out of it, get people, I guess, mining social networks for, for people and and trying to vacuum them away from big tech companies?
Katie Robbert 7:40
Well, you know, it’s interesting.
You know, when I see people on, you know, Twitter, for example, you know, there’s a lot of pushback on companies that are doing the hard sell.
And people are very protective of the social platform, because they’re like, No, it’s community, it’s where we connect with each other and learn from each other.
And so it’s, you know, you want to be respectful of that, because those are the people who in some ways can make or break your reputation on a social platform, if they decide you’re doing it wrong.
And so, you know, I think, you know, many, many episodes ago, we definitely talked about places like Reddit, where you have to have some general understanding of the culture of that particular social platform in order to even sort of enter the room and say, Hey, guys, I’m here, you know, even just sort of like, signing up for an account and asking general questions, apparently has to be done in such a way that the culture of that social platform doesn’t immediately ridicule you off, you know, which is a whole other thing, by the way.
Because I feel like these platforms should be a little bit more welcoming, but apparently, they’re not.
If you don’t know what the rules are.
But you know, so it’s, I feel like we need to do a couple of things.
One, we need to start to think about, okay, outside of like, the known platforms that everybody knows the names of, you know, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, you know, Tiktok, are there other more niche platforms that would be more appropriate for us to start learning more about, you know, getting into it organically and then seeing what paid would look like?
Christopher Penn 9:31
I think there’s that and the other thing that, you know, as you’re talking about platforms, one of the things we probably need to have a discussion about is the actual social media strategy itself.
Our general strategy is very much a publishing model, like, here’s some stuff, here’s other people’s stuff.
Here’s some stuff.
It is not in any way a community or conversational model where we have Somebody’s spending a couple hours a day, just reading tweets and replying to things, right? It is obviously a much more labor and time intensive way to approach social media button, it would generate much higher levels of engagement.
Because the person that you’re obviously replying to people one at a time just going out and answering as many questions as you can on a given date, and as a strategy that tends to work very well, if you can afford it, which is the bottleneck is that requires an enormous investment of time to do that well, and to be present in such a way that the community around the topic expects you to be there.
Like when somebody asks a question about something they know, you’re going to pitch in.
So they will maybe even ask you directly.
I think that that’s a question for us to figure out.
And if you know, as you’re listening to this episode, asking yourself, what kind of social media engagement strategy you’re working with? Are you working on a broadcast model? Or are you working with participatory model?
Katie Robbert 11:06
Well, and you know, that’s definitely a point, you know, as you were showing our attribution model that I wanted to make in terms of what we’re seeing is the result of the level of effort that we’re putting into each individual channel.
And so you know, we’ve talked about this.
You know, in terms of our own marketing strategy, we put the priority on email.
So therefore, email is the channel that performs the best for us, because that’s where we put most of our effort.
It’s the, it’s the space that we have the most control over, you know, after that, we create content, and we try to optimize that content.
And so organic search naturally comes up second, and then after that, are all the other digital marketing channels.
And so when I look at our attribution model, I feel like yes, it tells us what’s working.
But it’s also a direct reflection of the amount of effort we put into each of those individual channels.
And so that doesn’t surprise me that social shows up.
But it’s not a huge player, because to your point, Chris, we don’t put a ton of effort into social media for ourselves for Trust Insights, purely because we don’t have the resources to do so we do it in a more automated fashion, which tends to be more cold and less conversational, less community less connecting.
And so that you’re absolutely right, if we had the resources and the time to commit to that one on one that actual community and networking, we could probably see much, much better results.
And we just were not structured that way at this time.
Christopher Penn 12:44
So I was gonna say, at what point then, do we make that a strategic priority? At what point do we say, Okay, we’re going to give this a go and change up our strategy, maybe not on every channel, but maybe on one channel to be more participatory? If we know, for example, that LinkedIn is the thing? Do we spend more time on LinkedIn?
Katie Robbert 13:05
You know, I think it’s one of those things that we, as a company would just need to say, okay, none of us really enjoy social media.
None of us are really great at it.
So can we invest the dollars to have someone else do it for us on our behalf? And I think that that would be, at least for us, that would be the solution.
You know, what I’ve seen in other jobs and other agencies is that social, is theoretically super easy.
So you just give it to anyone to do.
So they’re like, hey, you know, intern, or hey, VP, it doesn’t matter the level, but like, somebody needs to handle social.
So go ahead and handle social.
And it actually is, Chris, to your point, it’s time consuming, you have to read through these things, you have to make sure that you’re responding in an appropriate way on behalf of the brand.
Because social, what happens in social media happens so quickly, and if you missed up, everybody will sort of, you know, descend upon that missed up, and it will be very hard to recover from.
So you could do everything right, for 18 months, one little misstep for 30 seconds, and your brand reputation could be completely destroyed on social media.
So it’s not something you can just passively, you know, respond to, you know, try to fit in it actually has to be dedicated time.
And I think when we talk about social media strategy moving into next year, that’s the thing that I think a lot of companies get wrong is that social media becomes an afterthought.
But it can be such a powerful channel.
Christopher Penn 14:45
Right? So when we look at our data, like when I look at my own data, Twitter is still one of the larger drivers of traffic for my personal website.
Okay, so do we make it a priority?
Katie Robbert 15:03
I mean, all it depends, I can’t I can’t give you the straight answer right here right now on this podcast because I need the financials.
But I do think, you know, we have a couple of things that we want to make a priority moving into next year.
So we know that emails working, so we don’t want to change anything.
So if we at least leave email, as is, we know that it’s still going to do well, it’s going to sort of keep that same baseline, we know that we want to do more with organic social.
And from a technology standpoint, we’ve started to make those steps.
And that was something that you started to do this morning, and over the weekend, in terms of the certain types of plugins that we have for our website.
So that’s a step in that direction, we have talked about creating more original content and what that cadence and those topics look like.
So then, next step, falls social media.
So we have talked about more of a concentrated effort on sharing, specific, you know, original content on social media, from our process.
So we pick one, you know, one blog post, one article, one thing, and then each of us in the company is responsible then for sharing it, not just clicking the Share button, but actually writing up something about it from our own voice from our own perspective, so that the people that we interact with on social media will hopefully interact back with us and say, Oh, hey, that was a really cool thing.
Or I also have, you know, some more story, you know, so I think we have some of the ideas in place of how we want to get there, we just haven’t implemented them yet.
And again, unfortunately, it comes down to time and resources and budget, and is it a priority, and it just, for us, it just hasn’t been.
And we can say this has to be in this has to be in this has to be, but then what gives what what falls off the plate, if we have to make social media priority.
Christopher Penn 17:04
Right now, I was thinking even even further up the funnel than then that stuff, not even posting stuff.
But one of the things that I tried in August and September, and to a degree in October this year was just trying to retrain LinkedIn feed, so that I could see the things I care about, and just participate with folks to see if there’s, if it made any difference, I saw about a 5x increase in the amount of traffic, I got to my personal website from LinkedIn.
And this, that’s, you know, still does work.
And that took, you know, in the beginning, it took about one to five minutes a day, and that throttle back down to about 20 minutes a day, once once things were tuned up.
I wonder if it’s worth trying a similar experiment with Twitter, say, like, you know, invest 15 or 20 minutes a day, just hunting down stuff on particular hashtags and things.
And if we have the ability to participate meaningfully in a conversation, with no promotion of any kind, just literally being there so that we show up in somebody else’s algorithm shows in data, we might see a change.
Katie Robbert 18:13
I think it’s definitely worth trying.
And I think that, you know, where we started the conversation versus where we’re at, it’s very easy for us to give the advice to other people.
But for us, I was thinking about it as the overall strategy.
And it felt very big and overwhelming and too much and I can’t prioritize it, but we are talking about is the advice that we give to other people, which is start small, start with one thing, dedicate a couple of minutes a day, and then build on that as you start to see results.
And so, you know, I’ll say I wasn’t taking my own advice.
I was the one who was getting overwhelmed by you know, this thinking about big social media and financials and resources and you’re like No 10 minutes a day you can handle 10 minutes a day.
Christopher Penn 19:02
So I think that would be a interesting thing to try.
And certainly with the three of us we each have a a Twitter channel that we can we can play with our own and then there’s the company one as well might be worth to seeing what happens you know, Twitter search for for basic topics is good enough.
Like it doesn’t require anything fancy you don’t need a good social media monitoring system.
Those certainly does not hurt.
So plug for our friends over Talkwalker But you know, Twitter, Twitter’s basic search will get you, you know, 70% of the way through and certainly for a small test.
It’s it’s exactly the right way to go.
So maybe we just design the parameters of the test.
Then, like we do for so many other things to say, let’s try this for two weeks.
And then run.
Basic Statistics say Okay, did we see any appreciable increase in any measures? Like do we get new users The website from Twitter did we get an email increase render organic search matches, because we’re not currently running any other major tests and see what happens.
Katie Robbert 20:11
That that feels much more doable.
As long as we can all commit to actually doing it, because you with any, you know, scientific test, doing it inconsistently, it’s just not gonna work.
So that’s definitely something that, you know, we as a team can talk about later in terms of what that looks like.
And so when we think about social media, marketing, social media planning, social media management moving into next year, for us, for Trust Insights, we still have to think small and think, very purposefully, ideally, other companies as they’re doing their planning would be doing the same thing.
And so, you know, if you’re a new company trying to get on social media, you know, I don’t, I personally don’t think you have to, you know, create every single social media account in existence for your company, because it doesn’t necessarily make sense, it doesn’t mean that that’s where you have to be.
You know, when I do the competitive reports, and I look at the different companies, even very large enterprise, global companies are not represented across every single social media platform.
And they’ve probably done that purposely, because it’s just a distraction.
It’s not where their audiences, it’s not where they feel they would be best represented.
It’s not a channel that would necessarily help benefit them in any way.
If anything, it’s probably just a waste of time.
And so for us, I think that’s also we need to make sure we’re prioritizing the right channels.
And so you know, as we’ve mentioned, we’ve started to remove Facebook, from our roster.
And we’re going to be looking at all the other channels that we’re currently on to make sure that they still make sense that they’re doing anything for us.
And then maybe we’ll be exploring alternative social media channels that make more sense.
And so I guess, what I’m trying to say is, don’t just follow the crowd.
But go where actually makes sense for you.
Just because your competitor is on Facebook doesn’t mean that you necessarily also belong on Facebook, because that may just be a profile that they’ve set up, but nothing happens with.
Christopher Penn 22:20
Exactly the easiest way to do this, go into your Google Analytics account, choose the year to date.
So I’ve got my personal website here, year to date, go to acquisition in the left hand menu, go to social, go to Network referrals, scroll down and look at set just super simple.
This is just traffic, who even if you’re not doing anything with social media right now? Are you getting any traffic from anywhere at all? From a known social media site? And if you are, take the one at the top of the list and start designing your experiment.
So for me, for my site, it’s it’s Twitter, right? So I should say, Okay, let’s, what do I need to do 10 minutes a day, for two weeks, that would help me see a measurable change in what I get from Twitter.
And maybe for another company might be LinkedIn for another company might be YouTube.
What do you need to do 10 minutes a day to make any of those numbers move upwards, I’d say that’s the best starting point for designing your experiment, just looking your data.
Regardless of whether you’re good or bad at social media, you’re getting anything from any of the major social networks.
Again, give that your your first test.
Katie Robbert 23:40
I think that that solid advice, especially as like, right now, is a really great time to be doing those experiments.
As you’re being asked by your executives, well, what’s the plan for next year? What’s the strategy? Where are we going to be? How do you measure it? Start doing your test now.
So that you can then answer them in a couple of weeks and say, well, here’s what I learned, here’s what I think we should do.
And here’s how we can measure it.
And here’s the impact that’s going to have on our business specifically on the different pieces of our funnel.
Christopher Penn 24:14
And if you’re not sure what to look for, say on like Twitter, or whatever, this be a great time to get in touch with your SEO team and say, Please give me the top five keywords that we’re targeting.
And if if they say we don’t have that, then that’s a different conversation.
But certainly, if you look at your SEO keywords, what are the major topics that you wish you could get to rank for because you’re pretty sure people are searching for those things like social media strategy.
For example, if you were a social media marketing website, social media strategy, kind of be one of those important things to know and probably a pretty easy thing to search for on Twitter or YouTube or Pinterest or whatever the channel is.
Katie Robbert 24:53
Well, and to that point, you know, searching for that keyword will also bring up all of the different accounts.
that have that kind of information in their profile, their bio, their name.
And so those are probably the people you should also be following.
And so we haven’t even talked about growth of the channel itself.
But follow the people that you want to be following you interact with the people that you want to be interacting with.
And so it is, you know, it might only be 10 minutes a day, but it needs to be a purposeful 10 minutes a day.
And so maybe today, you find five new accounts to follow.
Maybe tomorrow, you interact with one of those accounts, maybe on Wednesday, you know, you interact with another account, and you just sort of keep moving down that list of, you know, places where you want your name to be shallow.
Christopher Penn 25:45
Sounds going to write up a social media testing plan.
Katie Robbert 25:48
I’ll add that to my list.
Christopher Penn 25:53
We can do we can assign that to John on our next live stream.
Katie Robbert 25:56
John needs more stuff to do.
Christopher Penn 26:01
Alright, so if you’ve got questions about anything we’ve talked about in today’s episode, and you want to discuss it or share your own social media testing strategies, hop on over to our free slack group go to trust insights.ai/analytics for markets where you have over 2200 other marketers are sharing and giving your best advice all day, and wherever it is that you watch or listen to this podcast.
For the most part, you can find the channel of your choice on trust insights.ai/ti podcast.
Thanks for tuning in.
We’ll talk to you soon.
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