The Social Experiment

We did an experiment over at Boomtown Internet Group.  We took a domain and did nothing at all to it except we actively worked on our social networking for the site.  We spent around 15 minutes per day doing this work.  It was just a test, and the results were pretty compelling.

Social Media Experiment Results

Social Media 15 Minutes a Day Experiment

This is a snap shot of a comparison to the month before we started being engaged socially, and you can see that sessions via social referral is up over 62% and total sessions and conversions were also up, as these visitors were more apt to engage with the site.  We divided our time between making the posts and sharing them on social media sites. We used Hootsuite to schedule posts, but we logged into each site daily to interact there as well.
Social Networking is a fun. People are on most social sites to have a good time, so you don’t have to worry about using those 5 paragraph essay skills from high school.  Be nice, be natural, and drop the formality. Nobody wants to read boring posts.
If you have even more time, it is even better to share different posts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+, but if you don’t have time you can make the same posts on all your social profiles. If you are going to do it this way, limit your posts to 140 characters (including the URL). As an aside during the experiment we noticed that shorter posts did a bit better, and we found that posts of 80 characters or less are the most engaging.
During our test we updated Hootsuite bi-weekly with our posts to try to keep them topical, timely and relevant. If you decide to try this experiment for a few weeks, write your posts for immediate action and engagement right now.

Ideas We Tried:

  • We’ve been using hashtags for trending keywords on some of the posts. You can find trends here . Sometimes it’s easier to research what is trending now, then tailor your posts around current topics because people are already engaged on these topics.
  • Posts with images and videos are the most engaging, especially on Facebook, G+ and LinkedIn.  We also found that having a mix of posts that share other’s content and some that share your own content seems to more natural (although we want to further test this).
  • Emotions sell and encourage readers to share, but this can be hard to accomplish with business topics. We did try to invite people to discuss our posts or at least react in some way. If you can get others to share your post, they really help with your social engagement. So if you think about writing each post for it’s “share” factor, you actually need to write really unique ideas and have excellent content.  Putting these posts together each week or so really helped us hone in the content we were creating too.
  • Questions are a great way to get comments. But only ask questions that are easy to answer. It will help to increase engagement too.
  • Inspirational quotes work very well across social media. Try to post quotes within images because that really extends what you can say in the limited amount of space you have to work with.
  • Try to Use full URLs when posting a link to your website. Shortened URLs get as much as 3 times less engagement than full-length URLs.

Our Take Away from the Experiment

The most important lesson was to speak conversationally. Your fans hopefully love your brand, and they expect you to write in your usual tone of voice and make them feel like you are talking to them directly, not as a corporation.
We found that low-quality posts can be harmful.  People get up in arms if you are just regurgitating information. If you really have nothing to say, just wait for inspiration tomorrow.
Always think about what your customers want to see.  For instance, you know they want to hear about deals and specials, so don’t be shy about including those posts in your mix.
Check back next week to hear about how we shared the content, and see updated results from the test.

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