An interview with Shauna Gleason, director of social media at Forbes.
Content people have long viewed social platforms as link-bearing pivots that swung users toward content hubs. But that’s over, as social has matured into something that demands their primary attention. Here are five things content marketers can do to master social in 2018, courtesy of Forbes’ Gleason.
1. Embrace Influencer Marketing.
If you don’t have your finger on the pulse of social platform changes, you’ll quickly get left behind.
Forbes can testify to the benefits of influencers. Recent takeovers of Forbes’ Instagram account by coding evangelist/model Karlie Kloss and musician The Weeknd to support Forbes’ yearly 30 Under 30 and Celebrity 100 lists, respectively, dramatically boosted the account’s numbers. “Influencers like that put Forbes before a youthful audience interested in business, tech and entertainment.” Gleason said. “That’s a desirable audience for us.”
Of course, Forbes has access to the movers and shakers who appear on its cover. Your organization needs to create its own network of influencers. If you need help doing that, Gleason says, call your local social media agency—and fast.
2. Draft a Strategy.
“Always ask why you’re doing something in social,” Gleason said. “You need well-defined goals, a plan and resources to achieve them.”
If something doesn’t fit the plan, you should be asking if it’s really worth executing. What’s the ROI? Does your organization have redundant social accounts, blunting your messaging? If so, reevaluate.
“A department that wants to launch a Twitter account should have to justify it from a business perspective,” Gleason said. “What’s the goal? What will the messaging be? If the applicants can’t answer those questions, it’s not worth the time and resources.”
That goes for any social initiative, of course, not just a new Twitter account.
3. Dig Deep Into Data.
Gleason’s team cranks out both weekly and monthly performance reports for each social platform.
“Reacting to what the data tells you is one way to build engagement,” she said. Gleason’s team has translated data into new video formats and even the acquisition of a Forbes contributing writer specializing in Korean pop, a genre that produced startlingly good numbers on Forbes Twitter.
If you don’t have staffers daily parsing the data your social streams crank out, then get them. Not only will it boost your numbers, but your own time will be better spent on creating the content that matters and statistically performs best.
4. Watch the Platforms Like a Hawk.
In December, to combat “fake news,” Facebook announced a policy change. Users could no longer modify the headlines and descriptions of posts to which they linked. Basic methods of audience development become obsolete in the course of a morning.
Gleason’s team made fast technical changes in reaction to the Facebook move. Can your organization move nimbly in the ever-shifting social landscape?
It’s not only policy changes, either. The stream of new products flowing from the platforms bears attention, too.
“If you don’t have your finger on the pulse of social platform changes, you’ll quickly get left behind,” Gleason said.
5. Consider Social Platforms as Destinations in Themselves, Not Distribution Channels.
Link-outs from social posts are useful. But these days the point is to keep user eyeballs on the platform itself, since that’s where your readers are spending time.
“Users are used to being inundated with click-bait, especially on Facebook,” Gleason said. “Our goal is to post content that users expect to see on Forbes’ Facebook, Instagram, etc. Our feeds are curated thoughtfully.”
Implicit in all of the above is that content marketers need to become fluent in social, or at least make sure they’re working closely with their shops’ social teams. Silos have to break down.
“When social was new, marketing or comms teams could easily execute it,” Gleason said. “It hasn’t been that way for years. Investing in an experienced, dedicated social team is crucial for brand awareness, growth and audience development.”
Originally published January 11, 2018 on Forbes.com