This post is the first in a three-part series with practical tips for marketers to pursue social and digital innovation.
Ever since my start in the world of digital and social media marketing, I’ve noticed that our kind is separated into two groups: those who go home after the workday and swear to lay off Facebook and the like, and those who cannot stop browsing those same platforms until their eyes shut for the night.
As someone who belongs to the latter camp, I’ve found that my personal social media activity has helped me throughout my career. Boiled down into three brief bullets below are what I believe to be easily adoptable best practices for getting the most out of your social media habits – and a way to never feel guilty about scrolling through a feed!
1. Follow competitors and industry-leading brands
This is an obvious one, but many in the field simply hit the “Like” button and never end up seeing content from these brands. You may also be tracking them in a dashboard during the workday or see them in an end-of-week report, but you may likely lose the context in which the content shined (or failed). Use a Twitter List or Facebook Interest List to aggregate brand content. Hit “Like” or take a screenshot when you see something compelling. Competitive research has never been this easy, so take advantage! Feel free to peruse my list on Facebook for ideas/reference.
2. Be the target
Studies and surveys provide us with comprehensive data on the social media consumption habits of our brands’ targets, but our learning doesn’t have to stop there. Surround yourself in the media that surrounds your target. Are you a brand speaking to teenage girls? Then follow Kendall Jenner on Keek and Nasty Gal on Instagram, take the #FollowATeen challenge to the next level. Are you an automobile brand talking to 20-something males? Then follow George Takei on Facebook and Rob Delaney on Twitter. Get used to the form factor, voice, tone, timing and frequency, and the next time you and your team are concepting, use that information as a helpful filter.
3. Experiment – now!
This is another obvious but frequently ignored practice. Know when the newest products and features are rolling out and get on those beta lists. Do you have Twitter Music downloaded to your phone? When Facebook Timeline rolled out, did you experiment with your cover photo? Play with new technology first for yourself and then set up dummy brand accounts (on platforms that permit this) to test out brand-only features. That way, you can make early, sound recommendations to brands.