The Ugly Truth: What Social Media Can And Can’t Do For Your Organization

Everyone wants a simple solution to complex problems. It’s the dream peddled by nutrition scam artists who claim one pill will make you lose weight and feel amazing and science fiction literature that conjures up a single vaccine that will cure all the world’s ailments.

In reality, living healthy involves exercising, eating right and a myriad of other daily necessities while preventing and treating disease and illness falls into the same multi-faceted category.

Social media often falls prey to this idealistic thinking. Many organization, whether its an association craving more members or a small business that needs to get the word out, think social media is the answer to all their woes and the one bright light that will lead them into a rose-coloured future.

We’re here to say, get real!

We love social media and both the numbers and anecdotal evidence has shown us that a solid social media strategy can have a hugely beneficial effect on brands. However, your organization will never get the most out of its social media efforts if it has unachievable goals and poor practices fuelled by unrealistic expectations. That’s why we’ve put together three things people often believe social media can do for them and their organizations and dismantled these myths.

Social Media Can’t…

Boost Your Bottom Line Significantly

If you are creating social media content with an ultimate goal of generating a significant amount of revenue for your organization, you’re always going to fail. Your association is never going to increase its membership by 10% or its event attendance by 20% because it’s on Twitter or Facebook. Your small business isn’t going to get a bunch of customers into the store just because it has a great-looking Instagram account. Sure, a few people might decide to go to an event or buy a product because they saw it on social media and there are rare times when a company’s promotion goes viral. However, having this as your main goal is like adopting a cat because your band needs a keyboardist and you saw a piano-playing cat on YouTube once. It happens, but you wouldn’t bank your future prospects on it.

Single-Handedly Make You Popular With Millennials (Or Any Generation)

Segmenting your audience into generations is all the rage in marketing, especially association marketing these days, and that’s great. You need to know your target demographics, their needs, wants, preferences and so on. Millennials have been the most coveted, and some say the most elusive, generation to marketers in recent years and many people have claimed that a presence on social will be enough to elevate an organization in the eyes of these young professionals. Don’t believe these people. People are complex and therefore, so are generations of people. Just because Millennials, or any audience, is online doesn’t mean for one second that simply showing up means you’ll get a second date with them.

Be Done Without Cost, Buy-in And Planning

We’ve heard countless stories from people in associations and small businesses who were given the task of social media management with little training, planning, resources or discussion from or with their colleagues and managers. They simply start a Twitter account or LinkedIn group because of a snap decision by an executive, board or themselves and are left frustrated and disappointed when their results aren’t what they thought. The ease and low-cost of starting social media accounts makes it seem like making a good social media strategy is easy, quick and cheap, but it’s not. Just like with any part of an operation, social media needs to be well thought out, have precise goals, defined resources and support and feedback from all levels.

Social Media Can…

Be Part Of A Revenue Generating Strategy

Social media is both an intensely immediate medium and a lesson in the long game. While content can be created, shared and engaged with in seconds, the cumulative impact of your social media strategy is what can be integrated into an organization’s marketing and revenue generating plan. Social media can drive traffic to a website, so a great, user-friendly website is a must. Social media can keep your organization’s products and services in front of potential buyers until the time they are ready to purchase said product or service and think of your organization. Social media can be a powerful tool for presenting data to sponsors or investors and can get your organization some key funding. These are just a few of the ways social media is an integral part of a complete revenue generating strategy.

Be Part Of A Multi-Pronged Value Proposition Plan

Your organization’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account is like a stage; without a good backdrop, actors and an engaging plot, an audience won’t find much value in it. Before starting a social media account with hopes of engaging a specific demographic, you must first determine what is valuable to that demographic. Once you have decided which products they like, what kind of media they respond to, what values they hold closest, what problems they have and how they look for solutions, you will never be able to market your organization to its target demographic. Remember, social media is simply a tool to convey value and rarely the foundation of value in and of itself.

Be Done Well With All The Considerations Other Initiatives Receive

Think about it this way; you would never plan an event for your organization without carefully considering everything from a budget to a theme to the best suppliers and every other detail on down to how a room will be set up. Why then would you not plan this carefully for social media, which is a long-term marketing initiative you have high hopes for? A social media strategy has a much lower likelihood of being successful if you do not treat it like any other project your organization undertakes. That includes getting a knowledgeable person to head it up, establishing a budget and resources, discussing goals and ways to measure progress and consulting various stakeholders, such as staff.

4 Ways To Measure The Success Of Your Organization’s YouTube Channel

It’s become fairly common knowledge that video has ascended to the top of the heap when it comes to the most effective and engaging online marketing content. Video gets the most views, the most shares, the most comments, the most traffic and is a stellar media to convey just about any message your association, small business, non-profit or other organizations wants to get out there.

The rise of video to the top of the content marketing food chain means that many organizations (maybe even yours!) have created and populated YouTube channels. This is great, but any story of social media success involves tracking a platform’s results through key performance indicators. While you might be tempted to stick with the simpler, raw numbers, like views, comments and likes, when analyzing your videos and channel as a whole, these numbers don’t tell anywhere near the whole story. This is why we’ve come up with four other stats that will tell you way more about the impact of your videos and will allow you to delve deeper into the success of your YouTube strategy.

Subscribers Per Hundred Views

As we said in the introduction, views hardly ever tell the whole story behind a YouTube video’s success, especially when you are planning a sustained, long-term presence on YouTube and not just a one-hit wonder. Instead, your organization should focus on how many viewers your videos convert to subscribers.

The value of subscribers lie in their increased exposure to the brand, points of connection, opportunities to share and likelihood to provide traffic to links. A higher conversion rate means that your content is providing enough value to viewers that they want to be a part of your strategy for the foreseeable future. This number signals to you the quality of the views achieved, not only the quantity. Lastly, the ratio gives you an idea of what videos are most valued by your target audience, which comes in handy when increasing efficiency when creating new content for your YouTube channel.

Percentage of Views and Subscribers From Target Demographic

Speaking of your target audience, this KPI directly quantifies your channel’s success in reaching them, making a long-lasting impact on them and converting them loyal consumers of your brand.

Looking at the raw number of views any given video receives will not tell you if you are reaching the people who matter most to your association, small business or other organization. Your video could have 100,000 views, but if only 5% of those views are coming from people in your target demographic, it is not as successful as a video that has 50,000 views, but a target demographic viewership of 15%. Furthermore, breaking your subscribers down into demographics and analyzing how many are from your target audience group can also tell you if you are making gains or not and if you need to fine-tune your video strategy.

Quarterly Viewer Growth Or Decline

While the total number of views on your YouTube videos are a lesser stat when determining the success of your organization’s performance the platform, analyzing overarching trends over substantial time periods can give you an indication of what is working and what is not.

Calculating the rate of growth or decline from one quarter to the next isn’t a significant stat in and of itself, but can lead you ask and answer questions that are crucial to the continual improvement of your YouTube channel. For example, if the number of total views rose by 7% from Q1 to Q2, you can ask yourself if the content of the videos was different, if the style was different, if the way you shared the content on other platforms was different or if there was simply an outlier that can either be exploited or dismissed when planning for the future. Conversely, if the total views dropped, was there a reason or several reasons for that. Perhaps the content wasn’t relevant to your subscribers or the average length of your videos increased and became too long for multiple views and shares.

Top Influencer Shares

With any social media platform, shares (or retweets or the like) are one of the main ways to attract viewers to your content and expand your audience past your own network and YouTube is no different. Shares on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms bring people your video and increase everything from views to subscribers to comment. However, not all shares are created equal.

We already talked about the importance of tracking the impact your videos have on your organization’s target demographics. The same concept should be applied to your channel’s subscribers; those who are part of your target demographic matter more as they are more likely to have a mutual beneficial relationship with you through the content on YouTube. The members of your target demographic who are well connected with other in your target demographic can be considered top influencers, as they have sway over the viewing behaviours of the people you want watching your videos. Determining how many of your total shares are from top influencers will tell you how well your video is doing in pulling in members of your target demographic and how well the video is doing at convincing top influencers that the content is valuable to them and their network.

The Power Of The Guest Post And It’s Importance To Social Media Success

Having guests guide content for a short period of time is nothing new. From guest appearances on sitcoms to the popularity of the rotating Saturday Night Live hosts to celebrity editors for big time magazines or newspapers, traditional media and entertainment has been employing this tactic to engage audiences for decades.

Guest input can have the same effect on social media. Having a special guest contribute to your organization’s social media efforts can add some much-needed flair and unique insight to your content and drive engagement, traffic and, potentially, revenue.

Here are four reasons why guest posts are a great way to enhance your social media strategy and how to create a framework in these special contributions can flourish.

A New Voice And A New View

Let’s face it, your organization’s social media content will inevitably get tired. As much as you try to switch things up and get creative yourself, you are still speaking with your own voice and from your own perspective and when it all becomes commonplace, people have the tendency to tune you out for a while.

Having a guest come in and contribute their voice and views to the content can rejuvenate your social media posts by providing some variety. You can try having a debate style blog post about an issue that’s relevant to your audience with someone who has a different opinion than you. It doesn’t need to be a serious topic if that’s too risqué, but having someone to act as your foil, introducing a new way of talking or shedding light on a subject from another point of view is a great way to get your audience back to maximum engagement.

Added Credibility and More Relatable

Most of the time, you and your organization are posting something on social media because you get something out of it. You hype up an event on Twitter because you want attendee revenue, you highlight a special product on Instagram because you need it out of your stock room to make way for new products or you write a blog post because you want more traffic to your website. While this makes you business savvy and engaging, at the end of day, some people will see it all as a ploy to get at their time, finances or other resources.

Guest posts can introduce your audience to someone who seemingly has less to gain from promoting your organization, which makes them, and your content by default, more credible and relatable. For example, have a member or customer simply talk about the value they find in your products or services through a video or podcast interview or set and moderate a live Twitter chat or Facebook feed with one of these loyal clients/customers/members.

A Larger Audience

Expanding your organization’s network and audience is a critical way of drawing more engagement, more clicks, more traffic and a higher likelihood that all these elements will lead to a new sale, a new customer, a new advocate or a new member. Expanding your reach is always an ongoing task and often, you need help from others to achieve success.

Word of mouth is still the most popular way for someone to find out about an organization and using guest generated content is the digital equivalent of spreading the word. Influencers in your field or industry are connected to a large segment of your target audience that probably don’t know or don’t care about your organization, which makes their recognition of your organization’s value so significant. Having these industry influencers write blog posts for your website, provide quotes and a pictures for a Facebook post is a great start. To up the ante, provide an influencer exclusive access or an exclusive experience and have them live-tweet or create an Instagram story of the experience.

More Opportunities For Your Target Audience

Generating engagement is one of the primary goals of a social media strategy for any organization, whether you’re a small business, a national association or a mid-size non-profit. Sure, your audience can engage with your organization’s content by the traditional means, but if you really want to combine the powers of personalization, interactivity and a bigger spotlight to drive long-term loyalty, make it possible for your audience to put their fingerprints on your content.

Having your audience contribute content for your organization’s social media efforts creates an experience for them that not only gives them a voice, but also gives them a chance to gain exposure for themselves. This next-level engagement tactic gives your target audience a sense that your organization is all about providing value, opportunity, creativity and a chance to elevate their thoughts, feelings, ideas and talents to a new level. For example, you can give control of your association’s social media feeds to a board member for a day so they can chart their experience with an event or their everyday lives. You can also crowd source ideas for new logos, slogans, jingles or anything else and set it up as a contest to promote local artists on your social media accounts. Whatever you do, creating an increased number of touch-points between your organization and your target audience through these guest posts on social media will only benefit you in the long-term.

The Ultimate Showdown: Finding The Best Way To Tell A Story On Social Media

Social media is the ultimate storytelling medium. Organizations have a plethora of storytelling tools at their disposal when using an online platform. There are so many, it can be overwhelming at times, which is why we put together this fun little competition to see which tool was best at the job of storytelling. These aren’t all the ways an organization, association or business can tell an engaging story to their audience, but it’s a list of the very accessible, very successful methods and while the effectiveness of each tool depends on the goal of the story, there’s one that reigns supreme almost every time. Let the games begin!

Quarterfinals

Video vs. Meme/GIF

Our first matchup pits the power of video against the small, but powerful content that is the meme or GIF.

Memes and GIFS can be a great way to make an impact and tell a story is a very immediate way. For example, tweeting a meme with picture of your association’s president talking to a member with a quote about what the association means to the president over top the photo is one way to capture a story of passion, value and leadership in one very succinct way to tell a tale. GIFs are like shorter videos that pack a lot of emotion and content in a few seconds.

However, video is just too versatile to lose this matchup. Videos can be long or short, serious or playful, can present a lot of context and background or get straight to the point, can include lots of interaction and creativity and, most important of all, can be used with similar effectiveness on most social media platforms. It’s no contest; video runs away with this one.

Testimonial vs. Roundup/Recap

The next competition in the first round sees the relatable testimonial square off against the information superstar that is a roundup or recap.

Roundups or recaps are two ways to tell a story about a recent event or initiative and focus primarily on facts, figures and a straightforward retelling of what happened. It’s strength is the substantial amount of information it provides to an audience. Roundups and recaps often offer links to a few different sources or the insight of a variety of people to capture as many viewpoints as possible and tell a well-rounded story.

Where testimonials have roundups and recaps licked is their engaging, relatable and passionate nature. Yes, a testimonial of an event, service, product or experience is only one person’s viewpoint, likely offers no behind-the-scenes exclusivity and lacks the thoroughness of a roundup or recap, but that within that one voice is a crystallized explanation that gets to the heart of what makes the element their talking about so special. It stirs in people that same feeling and moves them to act, share, engage and take part in that story as it moves forward. The winner here is the testimonial.

Photo Essay vs. News Article

The penultimate match of the quarterfinals has the eye-catching photo essay duke it out with the classic news article.

News articles are classic for a reason; they work. Articles can come in many shapes and forms, such as interviews, editorials, lists, tip sheets, survey analysis or long-form profiles, but the foundation of each one is their ability to spin a story using the written word and maybe a few pictures along the way. Articles are main storytelling vehicle in association magazine, blogs and even on longer-form social media platforms, such as Facebook. They are in-depth, informative and, if done right, can move people to act with the visuals they conjure up, the emotions they convey and information they carefully construct.

While news articles are a worthy competitor and could edge out their nemesis on some days, photo essays claim victory on most occasions. Photo essays are similar to news articles in that they tell a story of an issue or a person. However, whereas the ratio of written words to photos is 90/10 in articles, that ratio is reversed for photo essays. It’s telling a story through photos with some text to provide context and background. Photos provide a more visceral tale of what is happening and helps the audience connect with the subject matter. Furthermore, this method of storytelling is versatile and can be done with greater effect on more social media platforms, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, a blog and even on YouTube. The clear winner is the photo essay.

Infograph vs. Audio Story

The final clash of the opening round pits the savviness of the infograph against the allure of the audio story.

An audio story is more commonly referred to as a podcast or a radio show. This medium seeks to tell a story through the use of sound and talking. It can be as short as a couple minutes or as long as over an hour and can include interviews, narration, music, sound effects, editorials, speeches or the like. Audio stories have the unique ability to take you out of the environment you are in and bring you to the setting of the story. They are personal, informative and engaging and easy to put online (on a blog, Facebook or Twitter) and bring anywhere on a smart phone.

While audio stories are very trendy right now with the popularity of podcasts such as Serial and This American Life, we have to give the slightest of edges to the infograph. An infograph combines stats and data with engaging images to build a cascading story about the state of a particular issue and its relevance to the audience. Numbers put the abstract into perspective for an audience and pairing this with some textual background and a lot of visuals paints a picture that can be powerful, engaging and shareable. They are easy to make, easy to upload to just about any social media platform and are very accessible for every type of organization, no matter the target audience. This broad appeal makes it the winner in this very tough matchup.

Semifinals

Video vs. Testimonial

Our first of the final four matchups has video vs. testimonial

This is a case where fire is fighting fire and, in our minds, video burns brighter. A simple testimonial can be passionate, powerful, concise, engaging and relatable. However, video can not only incorporate testimonials into its structure, it can do so in a much more visual way than a written or text-based testimonial that appears through a tweet, a Facebook post or an Instagram post. A video can also combine several aspects of a testimonial and make it part of a larger piece of content that overwhelms what testimonials offer, such as adding inspirational music and capturing the perspectives and exclusive looks in a much more interactive way. Because of its versatility and large skill-set, video cruises to victory here.

Photo Essay vs. Infograph

This competition pits two visual-based methods of storytelling against each other in a tight race for a spot in the final.

These two pieces of content are very similar. They both use images as their foundation and main tool to engage. They can both be shared on multiple platforms. And they can both be used to focus on a bigger picture issue or a smaller, niche subject. While it may seem like a coin toss, the photo essay squeaks out the win here because of its ability to tell a story every time as opposed to the infograph, which has the potential to become a rundown of boring, self-serving numbers if done incorrectly. Photo essays appeal to the human side of both the organization creating it and the target audience. While infographs can be fun and engaging and informative, photo essays can use stats and data in much the same way while also having the ability to use quotes, personal views and brief storytelling techniques, which all adds up to victory.

Finals

Video vs. Photo Essay

In the winner-take-all match, video faces off against photo essay to determine which storytelling method is best on social media.

These are two great methods of storytelling, especially when it comes to telling a story on social media. However, video wins this competition eight or nine times out of 10. The reasons are numerous; video combines images, sound, people, action, stats and text, whereas photo essays are, for the most part, static. The length of videos is easily manipulated to fit the organization’s goals and the type of platform it is shared on, whereas photo essays usually have to include multiple photos to tell a story. Video can be shared easier on the same or more platforms than photo essays. We can go on and on, from a more measurable ROI to the availability of resources and the number of content sources, video gets the better of photo essays every time. It was a valiant effort, but the winner is…

Winner

Video!

Video is a powerful, engaging and effective way to tell a story while benefiting the short and long term goals of the organization. While video is the best way to tell a story in many situations, it doesn’t mean that it always is. It’s important to look at what your resources are, what the story is you’re trying to tell, what social media platform you are using and what your goals are when developing a storytelling strategy. All these method are a great way and combining two, three or four of them together to tell a story can result in a more powerful and engaging result.

Three Ways To Get Quality Images To Use On Social Media

The cliche ‘A picture says 1,000 words’ needs some updating for the digital age. We’re thinking something along the lines of, ‘A picture gets 1,000 views.’ That’s because in today’s age of social media marketing, images sell and they sell big. Pictures and video dominate timelines and capture many times more engagement than plain, old text.

Knowing the power of images is one thing, but obtaining these images is another thing all together. Associations, non-profits and small businesses can often be left wondering how to get high quality images to use across multiple platforms, whether that be for an Instagram post, a Facebook profile picture or a Twitter update.

There are a variety of ways to get top-notch images to use on social media and chose three of the easiest, effective and accessible ways to do so below.

Create Them Yourself

This one is fairly obvious, but many people don’t believe they have the skill or expertise to take quality images to use on social media. We’re here to tell you that’s a lie; you can and should be taking pictures all the time to add to your online accounts. You don’t need to be a professional photographer or an artsy individual to take some great photos. Make sure you have a decent camera (even a new phone camera will work perfectly) and go to work snapping some photos. Set aside a day or 15 minutes every day to take photos and stockpile them for use in content, a new profile picture or for an online promotion. If you really are not confident in your picture taking abilities, don’t try to be fancy. Take pictures of real situations that you and others can relate to, such as pictures of your colleagues, volunteers at work or someone interacting with particular product that you are really proud of.

Crowdsource Them

One of the most important lessons you should know about any aspect of social media and content marketing is that you’re not in it alone. There are hundreds and probably thousands of people who care about the same issues, products, services and opinions you are sharing on social media. If you have trouble creating images yourself, put out the call to your loyal following to help you out. For example, if you are an association that wants to have photos of its members at work, but it is too time-consuming and/or expensive to visit members on the job, put out a call on your various social media accounts for members to send in a photo of themselves at the office. You can even give them some incentive in the way of a photo contest. However you go about achieving this, just know that crowdsourcing images a great way to get quality pictures from a variety of different perspectives for future content creation while engaging your target audience.

Hit Up Unsplash

If you’re hankering for a truly stupendous photo to illustrate a point, such as a stunning panorama of nature or the perfect shot of a bustling city, don’t just Google it; visit Unsplash.com. First of all, taking pictures from Google images often infringes on copyrights and the photos taken from Google are often low quality anyway. Instead, Unsplash offers visitors a place to search and use open-source photos from photographers from around the world. You can almost always find a stunning photo that captures the mood or vision you want to convey on Unsplash with none of the photo-stealing guilt. All the photos are high-resolution and ready to drop into any social media material you have in mind.

3 Easy Ways To Give Your Social Media Account A Refresh

There’s a reason people become addicted to cleaning and organizing their homes and home makeover shows on television; it’s refreshing. Housework can give a cluttered space a new look and make everyone want to bask in the glow of a room that’s been changed for the better.

We applied this same thinking to social media accounts and came up with three easy ways any organization can give their platforms a refresh to attract eyes and win over the hearts of their audience.

Add A New Profile Picture

There’s no doubt that images catch the attention of social media users more than any other element. Your organization’s profile pictures are the most constant and recognizable images associated with your operation online and can help do everything from attract profile views to likes to website traffic. Creating a fresh profile picture is one way to give your social media account a vibrant, new look and get users, both old and new, engaging with your organization again. Try using different colours, showing off a different setting or, in regards to Twitter or Facebook, complimenting your profile picture with your display picture with a creative and fun play on space like these examples.

Put More Faces Front And Centre

This piece of advice also utilizes pictures and images to give your organization’s social media account a jolt of freshness. Faces perform very well in studies linking social media posts to engagement and can serve as a way for your organization to put its members, customers, staff or volunteers front and centre. Creating content that utilizes faces will also help you think of new ways to promote your organization and its efforts by framing them in a different perspective, one that seems more relatable to your target audience. Post testimonials, interviews, event pictures and other posts that have the potential to show faces.

Ditch The Dry, Rambling Description

You know that little box you filled out when you started your organization’s social media account that asked for a description of your organization and then you immediately forgot about it? Ya, you need to redo that description. The description, which is often a dry, rambling, short version of your organization’s mission, won’t catch too many eyes when they scroll through a list of potential connections. A streamlined version that hits all the right notes is way more likely to achieve your goals and will liven up a tired social media account. Look for singular words or very short phrases that explain your organization. Check out popular hashtags and ask your most loyal and active members, customers or volunteers to describe your organization in one, short sentence and use their feedback.

We Broke The 80/20 Rule On Twitter And Here’s What Happened

A few months ago, we posted a blog about the 80/20 rule on social media. While we won’t go into depth explaining the philosophy again, here’s a little summary; the 80/20 rule of social media stipulates that 80% of the time, brands should share content from other sources in their posts and the other 20% of the time, brands should create and share original content.

This rule is an effective way for most organizations, from associations to small businesses, to plan their content, engage audiences, connect with key influencers, build their following and drive traffic to their accounts and website.

While this method has been proven successful many times over, it’s difficult to highlight the contrast in results between one thing and another without giving equal looks at each side of the argument. So, we did a little experiment.

Breaking The Rules

We decided to go the opposite direction of the 80/20 rule and tweet Incline Marketing content almost exclusively for two weeks. To be exact, out of 22 tweets between May 9 and May 23, 14 of them were contained content created by and branded for Incline Marketing. This resulted in a 65/35 ratio between Incline content and shared content.

We analyzed the engagement data from this period and compared it to the data from the two weeks previous to the test weeks. The previous two weeks, wherein we conformed to a slightly modified 80/20 rule, yielded 31 tweets, where 40% of tweets contained Incline created and/or branded content and 60% did not. After analyzing the data and comparing the two weeks, here is what we found.

The Results

The first statistic we examined was impressions or the total reach of our tweets. The pre-experiment tweets (hereafter referred to as the Normal Results or Normal Tweets) generated 237 impressions per tweet (7,360 in total), while the experiment tweets (hereafter referred to as the Experiment Results or Experiment Tweets) generated only 178 impressions per tweet (3,832 in total). This is a 25% drop in reach, which is fairly steep and can affect your organizations marketing efforts and bottom line. To look into why exactly this happened, the next thing we did was analyze the engagement results.

When we put the engagement results under the microscope, specifically the number of likes, retweets and mentions, we found that the Experiment Tweets outperformed the Normal Tweets by 34%. However, upon a closer review, the Normal Tweets outpaced the Experiment Tweets by 24% when it came to the number of times someone shared our tweets/content through a retweet or a link in a post.

The discrepancy in these results can be explained by the large number of favourites received by the Experiment Tweets compared to the Normal Tweets (the Experiment Tweets were liked at a rate if 128% higher than the Normal Tweets). While the Incline content provided during the experiment was valued by Twitter users, as evidenced by the likes, it was not shared and thus, its reach remained limited. Because the Incline Twitter account shared a larger quantity of other accounts’ content during the pre-experiment period, these tweets were shared by the original creators of the content. Furthermore, these original creators were more likely to share Incline content to return the favour. All this resulted in a higher reach and more quality engagement during the pre-experiment phase.

Another stark difference between the Normal Results and the Experiment Results was seen in the account’s audience acquisition statistics. During the period of Normal Tweets, the Incline account gained 8 followers. During the period of Experiment Tweets, the account actually lost 3 followers. The 11 follower swing could not only help account for the slide in account’s reach, but is also a dangerous indicator of the account’s value in the eyes of valuable demographics and key influencers. The reason for this drop; no one likes to talk to someone who only talks about themselves, which is exactly what we were doing during the Experiment period. People most likely got fed up with the constant self promotion and left.

It wasn’t all bad news for the Experiment Results. When we looked at website traffic for the Normal and Experiment period, we found that more people visited the Incline Marketing website during the Experiment period than the Normal period, both in terms of total visits (186 vs. 166 visits) and visits via Twitter (0.68 visits/tweet vs. 0.65 visits/tweet). Furthermore, the conversion rate between impression and website visits was significantly higher for the Experiment Tweets than the Normal Tweets (3.9% vs. 2.7%). The shear amount of avenues we were providing between Twitter and our website worked to increase the flow of traffic to the site and open the door for key influencers to explore what we have to offer.

Key Takeaways

  • Breaking the 80/20 rule resulted in a smaller reach, a reduction in the account’s audience and fewer high-quality engagements
  • However, breaking the 80/20 also led to more engagement in general and more traffic to the website.
  • In conclusion, if web traffic is your main goal, try living on the dangerous side and flip that 80/20 rule on its head. If you want to build an audience, have high-quality engagement while still driving some traffic to your site, stick with the 80/20 rule or some version of that method.