Lexi Trimpe, Integrated Communications Supervisor and Digital Team Lead at Franco, shares tips for creating an effective social media strategy that stands out on oversaturated timelines. Lexi also talks to Dante Muccigrosso from D S Simon Media and Isis Simpson-Mersha from Ragan Communications about how she tests social media campaigns to learn what’s working and what’s not.
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DANTE: Hi, Dante Muccigrosso, Client Reporting & Media Planning Manager at D S Simon Media.
ISIS: I’m Isis Simpson-Mersha, Conference Producer and Reporter at Ragan. And we’re here today with Lexi. What has been your favorite part of your career thus far?
LEXI: So, for me in particular, I always have a joke here, even with my digital team, “I’m just a big nerd”, and that’s largely been where I’ve been at the intersection for my career between journalism, communications, and digital. Everything that I do is largely challenges, right? How can we turn this challenge into an opportunity? And just naturally being a problem solver, I think that’s always been just a really critical element to me. So, now, obviously, when I started, I was over at a lifestyle magazine for the first beginning of my career in 2015. That was also at the advent that influencers were coming to fruition and really getting popular. So, at that point, obviously, we were able to take competition and leverage it and be able to promote the magazine. Always finding those sorts of challenges and turning them into an opportunity has kind of been the continuous thing about my career that no matter what it is, kind of how it evolves has always been a consistent thing I’ve really enjoyed.
DANTE: And I know there’s a lot of talk about oversaturation in the media space, whether that be digital, broadcast, or print. So, when you’re working with different clients, how do you focus on a particular strategy with regards to, you know, getting their content out there?
LEXI: Especially within the last few years. There’s definitely been an increase in the amount of content that we’re just seeing across the board, both, you know, on websites and on social media. So, for my clients trying to figure out the best way to resonate on social and on the web has really come down to focusing on quality over quantity. Now, from an SEO perspective, that benefits us, especially with some of these updates Google’s made recently, although this is stuff that we’ve been preaching for years, the quality of your content matters. What is the thing that you do really, really well, what are the things that are kind of most important to you, and where are the platforms that are most important for your business, or kind of the top three things that we always try to determine when coming up with our social or know content perspective. And then from there, it’s making sure that we’re maximizing every piece of content that we put out there. There will seldomly be a single blog, or white paper, or a single asset that goes out on social or out on the website once. Again, getting back to that quality over quantity approach, the number of times we’re able to maximize every single post via we’re creating graphics or we’re creating a video to accompany, it really allows us to let one piece go a lot farther and helps us make sure that eyes actually see it versus again, people just continually scrolling past.
ISIS: Cool, and I know that when you have any interactions or conversations with clients, of course, it’s always important because you’re gathering information. What types of questions do you ask clients during a strategy call?
LEXI: So, I have a couple of core questions that I like to fall back on, but weirdly enough, they all start with C. The first one being who is your customer/audience and what is the CTA? So, who is it that we’re trying to reach and what is it that we’re trying to get them to do? Just by answering that first question, you’re going to go ahead and knock out a couple of those social platforms that probably don’t make the most sense for you right now. From there, I like to look at what is your content and your content strategy. Now, that doesn’t always mean blogs and things. We have a really great photographer on staff or we have somebody that’s able to get short interviews and things for some of our SMEs. Looking at any available content to you, and again, even if it’s not being produced in necessarily an external method, now just seeing it as a potential option of something to use and then finally looking at what your capacity is, because that’s really going to be what brings all of these elements together. So, if we’re working with a client that potentially has a very, very small team, obviously a lot of times will become the extension of that team, but it might be trying to look at other opportunities to be able to pull in other amplifying members. You know, anybody that has a sales team, people that are out in the field actually working with customers, they’re great ones to get involved with employee advocacy campaigns being that they would take, you know, content that can be pre-written for them or at least developed for them and push it out on their social networks. When it’s coming from them, it just feels so much more personal and authentic. We just know that conversion rates typically are significantly higher. So, again, looking at that capacity, looking at opportunities to be able to expand that capacity, using a media team or the sales team. And then now how can we use that capacity to really amplify all of our content to our audience?
DANTE: I guess more on that. It’s easier to measure perhaps a consumer how they’re interacting with the content, but how do you measure, you know, internal and engagement with regards to employees, posting on social and things like that, or even just discussions?
LEXI: LinkedIn itself has its own employee advocacy features now where you can push content out to your employees and have them automatically be able to push to that and see who is engaging the most. So, from a tactical kind of tech standpoint, there’s some really great tools out there that will automate a lot of that management and measurement for you. That and good old-fashioned UTM codes, making sure you have a UTM code on any one of those employee advocacy posts that are going out, even if it’s just the campaign UTM and, you know, clarifying that that was an employee post. That goes a really long way both in tracking your efforts and then also being able to push that back to your sales team and letting them know the impact that their posts are having.
ISIS: Kind of sticking with the social media conversation, and I’m sure there are many ways that you could do this, but what or how do you test what’s not working and what is working during a social media campaign?
LEXI: Now, we’re going to get really, really nerdy on this one here. So, I like to as much as possible, really try to take a scientific approach whenever we’re testing content. And by that, I mean we’re always going to start a little bit with some of that hypothesis and trying to figure out, okay, what is it that we’re actually trying to learn here about our audience? I always say that first, because that’s really going to be key to setting up your infrastructure, making sure you have the things in place that you can actually measure against versus trying to pull all of that data at the end. So, if you know, you’re trying to increase donations or we’re trying to increase page views, anything like that, we know we’re going to need to have some sort of tracking parameter on it versus if we’re looking to maybe increase awareness, increase our overall audience things, align those perspectives, maybe we’re looking at things like engagement rates or campaign growth versus just really understanding in that hypothesis and kind of planning stage, what is it that we’re trying to understand is going to be really key to setting up any of your content into your strategy? Based off of that, setting up a really smart campaign is always going to be key. You’re going to want to have some sort of consistent variable between all these. That way you’re actually able to compare some things against each other. So, again, if we’re doing multiple posts in which we’re trying to drive donations, trying to keep some of that messaging as similar as possible and maybe changing up the imagery or the types of visuals that go with it would be a really great way of kind of seeing what potentially works better with your audience.But the biggest thing is with that is making sure that it’s repeatable data. So, doing that post more than once typically, you know, sometimes a week or a month worth of content, depending on what your content cadence is. That way you have a really good pool of content that you can actually look at that data and make sure it’s no anomalies. And then from there you’re literally just going to be looking at what works. Going back to those original questions of what is it that we’re trying to do if we’re trying to increase donations, but we see that people are clicking through on it and we know it could either be the messaging or the imagery. If we see that people are clicking through, but they’re not actually, you know, donating or converting X, Y, or Z, you know, potentially it could be something on page now that we need to adjust. So, from there, again, looking at all of your variables, it’s really important to kind of keep some of those consistent. So, that way as you tweak things, you can see now from all of your data, is it actually kind of moving the lever there?
DANTE: No, totally using like controlled variables is definitely very helpful.
LEXI: And we think about that a lot for split testing, for content and things for our emails or, you know, for our paid campaigns. But for social, again, the pure percentage of people that see all of your posts are pretty low. So, using that as a testing ground for content, again, there’s no failure in organic social media, it’s all just learning at that point. So, again, shaking it up a little bit with some of that is really helpful.
ISIS: Well, thank you, Lexi. It has been a pleasure talking with you today.
DANTE: Yeah, great talking with you. Very insightful.
LEXI: Thank you so much again for having me. This is super fun.