There are two equally important aspects to Social Media success: Creating great content and reaching your audience so they can consume it. As Marketers and Publishers we are only able to truly control one of these items: content. The other, reaching your audience, is more difficult because of all of the possible variables that impact when your audience is active and online.
Unlike other more traditional channels, such as email, Social messages do not sit in an inbox waiting to be seen and acted upon. If Social messages are not seen in nearly real-time they are most likely not going to be seen. The constant flow of content in and out of people’s feeds is both the challenge and the opportunity. As more marketers take to Social as a primary channel to connect with prospects and consumers, a new approach to publishing and distribution needs to be embraced in order to effectively compete.
Many organizations are still relying on first generation Social management platforms that utilize traditional methods, like scheduling, that simply do not provide an impactful ROI. An agile distribution process that relies on real-time information is the only way to be able to react, in real-time, in order to reach people at the right time with the right content.
To fully understand the value of this new approach, first take a look at why the traditional method of publishing, scheduling, is now ineffective.
The peaks and valleys of your Audience
Imagine you have scheduled five posts throughout the day. Without knowing when your audience will be active and engaged you are simply hoping for the best. Post 1 and Post 3 would have good reach and might drive decent engagement but Posts 2, 4 and especially 5 would miss the mark.
The end result would be you and your peers discussing why the content did not perform well. You might question the topic, call to action, headline, and relevance all while completely missing the true culprit…bad timing.
Not all peaks are equal
If we look at the same graph but also take into account that not all of the peaks and valleys in audience engagement are the same you will begin to see how differently these posts would perform. Dramatic shifts in activity are caused by outside factors that publishers and marketers have very minimal control over.
You need a way to monitor real-time changes in audiences and use that information to automatically publish when the time is right. Without a data-driven approach opportunities to engage your audience are being missed.
Things are changing every day
Historical data, while important, cannot accurately predict the best time to publish content in the future. This graph, from the SocialFlow UI, demonstrates how audience levels fluctuate from day to day. This additional layer of complexity supports the rational to move towards a technology driven approach that relies on algorithms and keyword analysis to find those peaks in audience engagement that drive reach and engagement.
Just as important as what to publish is when to publish. With tons of content, and the amount of time in the day to digest it remaining relatively constant, a change in how Social is distributed is required to succeed.
Without question, the key to increased engagement is increased reach, so hitting your audience when they are active is critical. A data-driven approach is an effective way to combat the decline in organic reach in Social Media and achieve your business objectives. Without real-time data to inform your publishing strategy you are merely guessing.