Day One Keynote: The Science of Social Media Marketing

By Angelika Lipkin posted Oct 02, 2014 05:45 PM


Dan is a self-proclaimed “social media scientist” and ascribes to a scientific methodology when approaching best practices for inbound marketing, particularly when it comes to social media. It’s difficult to sift through advice that he deems “filled with unicorns and rainbows” and assertions to “be awesome.” He’s on the hunt to myth-bust the unicorns and help people stop acting on assumptions.

There’s been a paradigm shift in the marketing and communications world—we no longer need to interrupt our customers. You can’t cold call a cell phone, and commercials are tricky with the onset and popularity of DVR and recording TV. The new way to communicate is through inbound marketing. Rather than interrupt your audience while they consume, you and your brand become the content or media they already want. This draws them in and fosters brand loyalty.

Here’s the scientific method to drawing in your audience: always be testing. Dan asserts that tests will yield a metric to help you improve. If you research potential change and apply a change, it will either work or it won’t. This use it or lose it attitude complements constant testing.

The following are a handful of focuses that Dan highlights as key to better applying and understanding the scientific method of social media:

1. Timing: Pay attention to which hours of the day are claiming your highest number of re-tweets, Facebook likes and best email open rates. Dan’s research has found that late afternoon, around 4pm, is best for re-tweeting. Along those lines for all three categories, Saturdays and Sundays yielded the best results.

The Takeaway: experiment with contra-competitive timing. You’re marketing to a busy audience, so don’t try to shout over the noise and see when your channels are least active. Those are the opportune times.

2. Conversation: Chatting it up isn’t necessarily getting your audience’s attention. Using a correlation coefficient, Dan found that the more links you have, the more followers you also have. Another example, through Pinterest, found that re-pins were more common for likes than comments.

The Takeaway: Think about content and links that will elicit reactions such as “Yes,” “I agree,” and “I like that,” because those posts and emails will be forwarded most often.

3. Social CTAs: What do you think the outcome would be if you included the words “like,” “comment,” “share,” and “re-tweet” in more of your social content? It turns out that being more explicit can help more than it can harm. For instance, the phrase “please re-tweet” received between 4-5 times more re-tweets than without the CTA.

The Takeaway: Ask for the actions that you want!

4. Visual Content: The current and near-future stories will be dominated by visuals. The popularity of apps such as Instagram and SnapChat are growing. People re-tweet images more, and 83% of Tumblr posts are images.

The Takeaway: Focus on the visual component of your content, always. Remember that images with faces receive more likes. Keep in mind concepts such as saturation, luminance (the brightness of the image) and including cooler colors.

5. Relevance: The content that resonates best includes the sharing motivation of relevance. When surveyed, the most common response to why someone shared content was because it reminded them of other individuals and friends. Even better, try to find niche audiences that have specific interests or hobbies, and offer a combination of content. Dan discovered a surprising combo when he created a fake prototype of an USB absinthe spoon.

The Takeaway: Use combined relevance. Dual interests are often not discovered or tapped into. Find out what else your audience likes, and offer them more.