Convert mistakes into success on social media

There is no one size fits all approach to social media or content marketing.

There is no single person, or piece of software, that can tabulate the odds of success doing things one-way versus another.

Sure, there are ‘best practices’ and patterns for what tends to work and what doesn’t, but reality is that every business and brand is different, every audience is different, and everyone’s goals and objectives are likely to vary. Because of all of this, there is a huge amount of on the fly optimization that needs to happen to achieve meaningful results.

One of the most exciting things to me about social media marketing is the number of times I get to say, ‘sure, let’s try it’.

Unlike traditional media, ‘trying something’ on social media often doesn’t require a commitment of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

‘Trying something’ on social media can happen quickly, dynamically, and in many cases, cost effectively.

So, next time you come up with a hair-brained idea, or feel inspired to shake things up a bit, I encourage you to act on those urges.

Even if your idea turns out to be a mistake, learn from it and convert that mistake to future success.

LISTEN

It should be part of your social media marketing activity anyway, but when you try something new, be sure to keep your ear to the ground to hear your audiences’ feedback.

Set up streams of search terms in HootSuite to aggregate comments from Twitter, scour industry forums and blogs for any reactions, monitor review sites to see if perceptions have changed, pay attention to social activity on your business’ platforms, collect data from insights and analytic tools, and more. Gather as much information as possible.

The more places you’re monitoring, the better sense you’ll have of what your audiences’ response was to what you tried.

LEARN

Consolidate your findings and try to draw connections, identify patterns, and generally decode the noise to get to the core of what your audiences’ response was, and why it was that way.

Take your time to think things through from a number of different angles, and ask yourself lots of questions about why reactions and responses might have been the way they were.

Even if reactions are positive, there is tremendous value in understanding what the drivers were for that positivity.

OPTIMIZE

When you get to the bottom of what drove the performance of what you did, be sure to apply that knowledge to future interactions, content creation, and activity.

If you tried something that flopped, feel free to try it again if you think it can be optimized for better performance.

If you tried something that worked well, try applying the virtues of what you did to other social media activity or content in hopes of replicating that success in a new way.

REPEAT

The key thing to remember is that nothing is ever perfect. There are always going to be opportunities for optimization.

Continuing to monitor your audiences’ reaction to your social media activity, analyzing and learning from it, and optimizing future activity will position your business nicely to achieve increasingly positive results from your social media and content marketing activity.

_

Whether we are talking about social media, or business more generally, the only way to progress is to try new things and take calculated risks.

In today’s rapidly changing competitive landscape, remaining stagnant and relying on repeating historical success is a surefire way to allow your competition to make inroads on your market share.

On social media, the same holds true. More and more, consumers are looking to social media when formulating opinions about businesses, identifying with brands, and seeking social validation for the purchase decisions they make.

Given that your social media activity is in many ways a reflection of your business and brand, if either remains unchanged for too long, your consumers will look elsewhere for a more enticing value proposition.

Because of this, I implore you to adopt a mentality that you’ll try new things from time to time. Who knows, maybe you’ll strike gold, and even if you don’t, there will undoubtedly be lots to be learned from your mistakes that can be applied to better ensure future success.

How do you ensure that your social media and content marketing activity continues to improve? What tools to you use for social media listening?