Social Media Advice from a Semi-Professional Race Car Driver: Part 1

Mar 27, 2014


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BEST PRACTICES SERIES

There are not many cinematic scenes I like more than the scene from the Oscar-worthy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby where Ricky's dad -- Reese Bobby (played by Bill Lumbergh himself, Gary Cole) -- tells Ricky's unsuspecting middle-school class he is a "Semi-Professional race car driver and an amatuer tattoo artist."

I dedicate this column to Reese Bobby and his everlasting wisdom. I am, of course, not a semi-professional race car driver (sorry for the disappointment, but the tattoo thing is true), but I am a semi-professional social media expert. So, I am here today to give the neophytes a little lesson in how and where to share your content on social media.

In this month's edition we will be covering two social media platforms with four more to follow next month.

First, lets start with MySpace. Just kidding.

1. Facebook

Ah, the mother of all social networks. So popular they made a movie about the business called "The Social Network." Facebook continues to grow, and with its ever changing ecosystem, advertising, and news feed, it's keeping us marketers on our toes.

Your content should go here first. Don't be fooled. There are those out there who preach that Twitter is the social network for content. Don't believe them.

Facebook is the big game. Your content, if viable, can fly along the jet stream known as the "Share" button. Twitter has the RT (retweet) sure, but nothing can gather more engagement with your audience than the share button on Facebook.

We recently posted a video which we hoped would garner decent likes and shares for our brand. Well, it exceeded our expectations. To this day, it is still climbing in likes, shares, and video watches, to the tune of over half a million impressions and more importantly over 116,000 post clicks to our destination URL. All because the initial group liked it and shared it. That, my friends, is a powerful medium for your content. It is worth sharing that our normal amount of impressions per post hovers around 20,000. To get over 500,000 and still climbing is an exciting occurence.

Tricks of the trade:

  • Make your posts short. Think of it like a subject line on an email. Make an impression.
  • Always include a link back to your site (a trackable link at that, with services like bit.ly). You never know how viral something might become (maybe even consider a trackable phone number).
  • Don't post more than 2-3 times per day. Do not overwhelm your audience. Be picky about what goes out over Facebook.
  • ALWAYS include a striking image if you can. Our studies show that people like amazing images 35% more than anything else (video, article images etc.)

2. Twitter

Twitter is, and may be for some time, the most conversational of the social media sites and can be a powerful social media tool. But do not confuse it for a powerful content sharing tool.

Posts move too fast. Tweets have the life span of maybe three hours but truly move in and out of the limelight within seconds or minutes unless you have devoted followers.

Should you use Twitter as a complementary content sharing tool, and can you get into great conversations with people that can turn into deep connections? Yes! But with its rapidly moving matrix of tweets, it will never be a powerful tool for content sharing.

Tricks of the trade:

  • Post as often as you like but you better make it valuable, otherwise you will watch your followers go down the drain.
  • Make your posts retweetable. Meaning, make them valuable, but make your post a length that when people RT, they don't have to delete anything. For instance, my Twitter handle is @DrewBedard. That is 11 characters. So, for me to have a higher possibility of retweets, I need to make my posts 140 minus 11. Then, people don't have to delete anything. Boom.
  • Similar to Facebook, add an image. A study by SHIFT saw user engagement spike by as much as 5x when an image was attached to a tweet. Use an image when possible.

Each of these social media platforms can help (operative word being help) accomplish your content delivery and engagement goals, but only if you understand advantages and disadvantages.

Next month we will tackle YouTube, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

Until then, "If you ain't first, you're last." - Reese Bobby