Visually Blog How Failing Fast is the Way to an Effective Social Media Strategy

When you learn to ride a bike, you’re bound to encounter the cold, hard reality of gravity. But after hitting the pavement, chances are you’ll get back up and try again. And again. And again.

The same principle applies to social media content, only instead of riding on the pavement you’re riding on the virtual equivalent of an escalator where the environment is constantly changing.  As a social media marketer, how do you manage this constant change? It’s time to get our ducks in a row.

Ducks In A Row_Visually Guide (1)

The best way to pin down your content marketing goals on social is to be flexible. Iron out your objectives, build a strategy and be prepared to change at the drop of a dime to respond to your customers’ needs. Some people refer to this strategy as the need to “fail fast.”

In this post, we’ll explore fail fast best practices, including a look at services such as Persado and Unbounce that can help you expedite the process of trial and error. We’ll even dive into a counter-argument that suggests an alternative to failing fast. So dust off and let’s go!

Get a plan in place

Social Media Checklist To Get Started_Visually Guide

Keep it flexible

You should enter your social media marketing campaign with a hypothesis about what content will work well on which social channel (while keeping in mind that it can be hard to predict what will resonate on social media). Pay close attention to how different assets perform, and be prepared to change things up on the fly.

For example, Whole Foods discovered that posting content about beautiful handmade soaps on Facebook often fizzles, says Natanya Anderson, Global Director of CRM, a social media and customer service. Yet the same content on Instagram is a totally different story.

“I see a lot of content being produced these days about ‘this is the way you must do visuals’,” she says. “I think it continues to be important to have channel-specific strategies and really understand what the visuals can do for you in one channel that they can’t do in another.”

Partner with cutting-edge technology

Although A/B testing and intuition can lead you to success with social media content, you can effectively fail fast if you adopt one key technology. This is the argument adopted by Persado, a software platform that uses semantic algorithms to map emotions and generate language for marketing communications like emails, landing pages, mobile messages, push notifications, and social media.

Persado Wheel

You can also look into the landing-page creation platform, Unbounce. Their platform allows you to not only build a compelling landing page, but also perform A/B testing and evaluate a variety of metrics to improve the odds of meeting your objectives.

Document successes and missed opportunities

When possible, your social media content execution should build upon past successes and missed opportunities. When you’re kicking off your next campaign, take a look at your top performing content and identify pieces that might give you a leg up in your field or industry. Fail fast is all about optimizing and making gains with each iteration. Don’t forget to consider which social channels are best suited for each piece of content, and the preferences of your followers on each channel.

Keep on failing

Not everyone thinks you should fail fast. In fact, some argue that the real objective of social media content is to focus on the peaks your content team hits after they’ve been through the valley.

As C-Suite Network Chairman Jeffrey Hayzlett recently told Jay Baer: “You have to have that attitude that it’s not about the failure, it’s about the win.” You might even want to have a little extra time set aside with your creative team to create new assets that reflect your learnings from the first days of any given campaign. Definitely take the time to document what worked and what didn’t when your campaign is over.

The bottom line is you have to be committed to keep trying again and again. More than anything, being attentive and persistent will lead to successful social campaigns.


Nate Birt is a multimedia journalist, social media enthusiast and copy editor with experience at a variety of print and digital publications, and a Contributing Editor to the Visually Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @natebirt.


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