IS THERE MORE TO SOCIAL MEDIA THAN GOING VIRAL?

Often, the brief to social media managers is “make me go viral”. For businesses, it certainly does seem attractive, tweets with thousands of likes or TikTok videos hitting a million views. Going viral has its perks of course, but there is so much more to social media than this. Today, we wanted to discuss the importance of a steady social media strategy and why interactions aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Why Virality Might Not Be ‘All That’

For many, the holy grail for Twitter users is virality. Did you know the most engaged with tweet ever was in January 2019, and was by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa who tweeted offering £725,000 to 100 people who shared the tweet? It racked up 4.68 million retweets. The tweet was made to celebrate his fashion website Zozotown making 10bn yen over the Christmas and New Year period. However, for most this was simply an afterthought. The reason for engaging, for the most part, was to be in with a chance of winning that very attractive prize. Herein lies the issue with social media virality, and why it may be hollower than it seems.

Many brands want virality, but for what reason? In most cases, it can be seen as no more than a vanity metric. Competitions, for example, can be a great way of raising followers for a business, but unless your prize is focused towards your target audience, the likelihood is that most of those interactions will slowly begin to drop off. Oftentimes, the tweets that go viral aren’t strictly related to a brand and therefore are generating the wrong kind of engagement, or garner superficial interactions that actually will end up having very little impact on the brand, once you overlook the numbers.

For example, it’s become a growing trend for fashion retailers to post about memes, TV shows, even food. These posts tend to get plenty of shares, likes, tags, comments and so on. However, they often don’t relate to the brand itself and therefore the engagements are with the content itself, not the business who posted it. The numbers are great, but they tend not to be indicative of brand support, but rather how many people actually were interested in the content posted. If that content does not support your brand in any way, then is there anything to be gained from this?

For us, it’ll always be engagement with intent > interactions.

Are Interactions All They’re Cracked Up To Be?

Likes, shares, comments etc. are always reported on, but how important are they?

These interactions show that a user has not only just glanced at your content, but paused to read it, engage with it, and perhaps even share it with others.

But does the absence of them mean your social media content has not been successful? No.

Plenty of interested stakeholders can still engage with your tweet, without clicking that ‘like’ button. There is often more value in link clicks from genuinely interested parties and general exposure of your brand, than there is in getting a tweet with 100 meaningless likes. This is something we bear in mind when completing social media audits and strategies – we focus on content that appeals to the right demographic, and that helps build a better brand with an engaged audience.

To summarise, interactions are great, but there’s no need for concern should they not be there either, so long as you’re building a great social media profile and communicating to the right people.

The Importance Of Consistent Communications

With 45 million active social media users in the UK alone, having an airtight strategy is important. We believe it’s time to focus on meaningful interactions as opposed to the aim of going viral, as the latter is only likely to return short term success. There is far more value in an ongoing strategy that consistently delivers.

We recently published a case study on our work with client Combermere Abbey. Through consistent communications, even throughout the pandemic whilst the venue was closed, the business was able to reap some pretty impressive results upon reopening. This is thanks in no small part to an ongoing strategy that focused on consistent brand messaging, as opposed to chasing short-term wins.

Going ‘viral’ is certainly exciting, and we don’t complain when it happens. But we believe that consistently good performing social media content, that doesn’t focus on individual metrics, is important because:

  • It helps to build a reputable and well-known brand
  • It establishes your tone of voice and market position
  • It subtly markets to your consumers, time after time
  • It focuses on relevant content that meets your goals, be it exposure or conversions
  • It produces content that people engage with beyond a simple ‘like’
  • It puts you ahead of your competitors that are chasing viral posts without substance

We love a good social media result in any form, but we think there’s a lot of underrated beauty in an ongoing strategy that ticks over and consistently does favours for your brand and your business.

To find out more about The Source and how we utilise social media channels for our clients, please get in touch. We’re based in Cheshire but operate nationwide.