It’s no secret by now that study after study says that content gets shared on the weekends and in the evenings. You’ll get more likes and retweets by working the social media world when people aren’t at the office, because they have more time to log in and click around. So, if you want to generate lots of tweets and shares, this is the way to do it. There’s only one problem: all this action may not be worth anything.
When you engage in “share engineering” of this sort – i.e., pushing content at peak share times – you may be sacrificing action. How many retweets or likes equal a click-through? Or a conversion? The answer to that question will be a much higher number if your goal is to push up the social media metrics at the expense of business performance.
The goal of every tweet, share and so on you publish, ostensibly, is to contribute to revenue for your company. Sure, some of it may be for brand recognition, but that’s really just an investment in future revenue through a later form of interaction (i.e., by making your company more recognizable when a sale is more likely). In the end, though, it all comes down to putting cash in the till. When you share out a link, your goal is to get some to click it – and then to engage in some form of financial transaction with your company.
Promoting your content aggressively through social media could lead to further promotion by your followers, which should put you in front of a larger audience, ultimately increasing the likelihood of a click and then a transaction. When you target this outcome, though, you may actually be sacrificing action.
It’s time for a bit of self-examination.
Have you ever retweeted a link without looking at it first? Or, have you ever clicked through to a site while on your smartphone and realized that you want to engage in a transaction … which you’ll do later when you get home? Of course, you wind up forgetting or not caring. In the end, the sharing that occurs is vapid: it really has little value to the company engaged in social media marketing.
The clearest example of this is when you watch the retweet (or “like”) count on a story you’ve published on your blog, only to see the share count rise faster than pageviews. Sometimes the latter will catch up, but it doesn’t always happen. The net result: you become a victim of vapid sharing.
How can you avoid this problem, and get more value from your social media marketing activity? Here are a few ideas:
1. Don’t make the share count your goal: focus on the metrics that matter most to your business, particularly those involving revenue. Never forget that it’s the money you make that matters most. Even brand marketing is expected to contribute to this at some point.
2. Focus on the right times: when does your target market take action? Don’t think about the times of day when people are most likely to tweet and share. Rather, put out your content when their more inclined to click and buy.
3. Compare your tactics: the beauty of social media marketing is that you have plenty of metrics at your disposal. Use them! Take a look at when your tweets are more likely to lead to click-throughs, and when click-throughs are more likely to lead to conversions. Challenge your own assumptions, and never stop monitoring your environment.
It’s pretty easy to follow the conventional wisdom, and we all know it’s a lot harder to generate profitable revenue. But, do you really think you’re going to get a bonus for generating heroic retweet stats? Spend your time doing what really makes a difference.